Nissan Pulsar Nismo Looks Ready to Fight a Golf GTI

Even though we consider them a Japanese brand, Nissan is very much a European car company. Models like the Qashqai are specifically honed to cope with your average French, British or German roads and come with peppy small engines for better economy. But if there's one thing Europeans like more than a family crossovers, it's a family hatchback… that goes really fast.
Nissan Pulsar Nismo 1 photo
Photo: X-Tomi Design
So now that Nissan has its own compact hatch in the Pulsar, should they have a Nismo version as well? The answer is obvious to any petrolhead: a resound and sonorous "yes", said to the sound of turbo four-bangers.

Nissan hasn't even started production of the Pulsar, let alone a hot hatch version. But if they did, it would look a little bit like this. It's a rendering whipped up by our friend X-Tomi, who added all the go-fast Nismo bits and red accent pieces he could find.

The Nismo brand is definitely a strong one, with its 600 horsepower flagship GT-R standing atop like Godzilla after a hard day of smashing up Tokyo buildings. Question is, will that translate into a hot hatch to fight the Golf GTI? Maybe…

A 190 horsepower version of the Pulsar has already been announced for 2015. It's going to have the same 1.6-liter turbo engine that
you get with the Juke. As you all know, that crossover comes with two smoking hot versions with up to 220 horsepower. Coincidently, that's the exact output of a base model Golf GTI.

So does that mean making a GTI killer out of the Pulsar is easy? No, not in the least bit. Nissan likes to put CVTs on everything and as we all know, they are not that fun to drive. Only Subaru has managed to make continuously variable fun happen with the 2015 WRX.

Korean car companies have also tried to use 1.6-liter turbo engines on C-segment hot hatches with somewhat limited success. The Kia pro_cee'd GT looks good on paper and has cool styling, but dynamically, it only amounts to a mildly hot hatch. The consensus around the office seems to be that 2-liter turbos are the sweet spot for any true performance numbers. Even the MINI Cooper S has dropped its 1.6 for a big 2-liter which is not only more powerful, but also somehow economical.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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