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Nismo is slowly being assimilated into parent company Nissan as a bone fide in-house tuner, and as such is on a mission to soup up every Nissan model on sale. So naturally, there now exists a counterpoint to the 600 hp GT-R Nismo – the Nissan Note Nismo, a warmed-over version of the second-generation mini-MPV.

The transformation starts on the outside, where you’ll find Nismo’s signature embellishments. There’s a new mesh grille, aggressive front and rear bumpers, deeper side skirts, a sportier exhaust system, gunmetal 16-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE080 rubber and a larger tailgate spoiler.

Inside, there’s a Nismo three-spoke Alcantara steering wheel with red centre marking, Tricot fabric upholstery on the regular seats (Nismo sports seats are available as an optional extra) and doors, as well as darker metallic interior trim. Copious flashes of red both inside and out complete the makeover.

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Now, we’ve seen all this before, but what we didn’t know was the engine hiding under the bonnet. As standard, the Note Nismo comes with the same 1.2 litre supercharged direct-injected three-pot and Xtronic CVT found elsewhere in the Japanese range, but benefits from a tweaked ECU and the aforementioned exhaust. Outputs, however, remain the same as before – 98 PS at 5,600 rpm and 142 Nm at 4,400 rpm.

If that’s not enough, there’s an S model that features Nissan’s familiar 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated MPI four-cylinder engine, but with higher compression to boost power to 140 PS at 6,400 rpm and torque to 163 Nm at 4,800 rpm. This mill comes with a five-speed manual transmission only.

Both variants feature Nismo suspension and structural reinforcements amounting to front and rear tunnel stays, but only the S gets additional front and rear suspension member stays, rear cross bar and rear underfloor V-bar. Rear disc brakes too, as opposed to the drums on the regular Nismo.

That’s not all – the S is also the only one with 17-inch wheels shod in wider Bridgestone Potenza S007 tyres, a Nismo-branded instrument cluster (with a speedometer that reaches all the way to 260 km/h), aluminium pedals and those sports seats as standard. You can also specify a pair of delicious red leather Nismo-branded Recaro bucket seats as optional extras.

The Nismo models are now on sale in Japan – the standard model is priced at 1.95 million yen (RM59,400), while the higher-performing S variant comes in at 2.2 million yen (RM68,300). Four colour options are available – Brilliant White Pearl, Dark Metallic Grey, Super Black and Brilliant Silver.

These performance models have been announced alongside a minor facelift for the Note range as a whole, which includes new LED headlights, a revised grille, a new steering wheel design and the addition of a new V Selection + Safety trim level that brings automated emergency braking and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) as standard.


2015 Nissan Note