A supercharger to boost efficiency and emissions in a small car isn’t a very common solution, but Nissan has chosen this path for its March (Micra in some markets) supermini. The word ‘supercharger’ itself hints at performance, but the headline figure here is emissions of just 95 g/km, among the lowest in the world. Cars producing less tan 100 g/km incur no road tax and are exempt from London’s daily congestion charge.

Known as the DIG-S (Direct Injection Gasoline-Supercharger), this 1,198 cc three-cylinder engine is said to provide power expected from a conventional 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine plus diesel beating economy and exceptionally low cost of ownership. DIG-S uses the Miller cycle and direct petrol injection to raise the compression ratio to 13 to 1 for greater combustion efficiency. Start/Stop and energy regeneration are also recruited.

The results are great for such a small engine: 98 PS and 142 Nm, CO2 emissions of 95 g/km for the manual and 115 g/km for the CVT. Maximum speed is 180 km/h for the stick shift while combined cycle fuel economy is 24.4 km/l. Very impressive!

“Ultra low emissions with no compromise when it comes to drivability means the Micra DIG-S sets new standards for the current generation of city cars. No other petrol-powered compact hatchback can beat its overall efficiency and it is more than a match for an equivalent diesel,” said Pierre Loing, VP of Product Strategy and Planning, Nissan International SA.

“We have been able to achieve this ultra low CO2 figure in a cost effective package and without the complication of particulate filters needed to clean up diesel engine emissions and which are not entirely compatible with a car that spends much of its life in the city,” Loing added.

The March/Micra DIG-S will be shown at the Geneva show with sales starting over the summer. We hear that this cute car will be arriving on our shores from Thailand this year; stay tuned. Gallery after the jump.

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