2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO sets LA on fire with racey goodness

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One of four color options for the 2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO is Gun Metallic, as seen here(Credit: Nissan)

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Nissan has unveiled a new NISMO-tuned model, this time with the popular Sentra compact sedan as its core. With 58 more horsepower, a more aggressive outward appearance, and a completely retuned chassis, the Sentra NISMO brings the in-house tuning brand to the mainstream.

Nissan has had its in-house race tuning team at NISMO badge several vehicles over the past few years, including Godzilla (GT-R) and the odd little Juke crossover. Now it's the Sentra's turn. The car saw a styling refresh last year and the introduction of a new RS Turbo model with a lot of muscle added under the hood. That Sentra RS Turbo has been further enhanced to become a Sentra NISMO for the 2017 model year.

Unveiled at the LA Auto Show on November 15, the Sentra NISMO should be immediately recognizable to Nissan fans as a NISMO-branded vehicle thanks to the added bodywork, blackened grille, and lowered stance – not to mention the red stripe accents around the car.

Under the hood, the 1.6-liter turbocharged, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder from the RS Turbo model is found, outputting 188 horsepower (140 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 177 pound-feet (240 Nm) of torque at 1,600-5,200 rpm. For comparison, the standard Nissan Sentra's 1.6L engine outputs 130 hp (97 kW) and 128 lb-ft (174 Nm).

The Sentra NISMO's engine is a dual overhead cam (DOHC) configuration with a 79.7-mm bore and 81.1-mm stroke in a 10.5:1 compression ratio. Maximum engine rotations are 6,400 rpm. A turbocharger with an intercooler give the engine its boost.

A specially-tuned six-speed manual transmission is offered with the Sentra NISMO and an optional performance-tuned continuously variable transmission (Xtronic CVT) is offered as an option. Front-wheel drive is standard.

Chassis changes include NISMO-tuned independent struts and torsion beam suspension, including monotube rear dampers. Separate oil and gas chambers in the monotube shocks include a high-pressure gas charge to provide a quicker response to stroke and velocity changes. Tuning of the springs and struts was made to further enhance body control in high-demand cornering.

Going with those changes are steering upgrades meant to give more feedback to the driver while maintaining the electric-assist system of the Sentra models. The steering ratio is set at 16.3:1 with a turning diameter of 34.8 feet (10.6 m). This steering system is paired to a wheel and tire combination unique to the Sentra NISMO. The 18-inch alloy wheels are NISMO designs exclusive to the Sentra NISMO and are mounted with newly-developed 215/45ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires. Nissan dealers will be able to substitute those with 215/45WR18 Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R summer tires.

For bodywork changes, the 2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO sees several practical aerodynamic upgrades, including the "layered double wing" that is NISMO's signature. Coefficient of drag is 0.29. These aero treatments reduce rear lift on the car by 30 percent. Four exterior colors will be offered for the Sentra NISMO: Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Super Black, and Aspen White.

For the curious, the 2017 Sentra NISMO's curb weight is 3,037 lb (1,378 kg) with the manual transmission, and 3,105 (1,408 kg) with the CVT. Weight is distributed front:rear at 61:39 percent or 62:38 percent with manual or CVT respectively. This makes the power:weight ratio of the Sentra NISMO 1:16 horsepower to pounds for the manual transmission option.

In the interior, NISMO-designed front seating with enhanced side and thigh bolsters are included. Red stitching and accents are found throughout the interior of the Sentra NISMO per the racing tuner's brand. The instrument cluster features NISMO red labeling and tachometer output. Charcoal with red accents is the only interior combination offered for the 2017 Sentra NISMO.

The Nissan Sentra NISMO will enter showrooms in the United States in early 2017. Pricing, performance, and fuel economy numbers are forthcoming.

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