Does Nissan need to get back into the hot-hatch play ground? The Nismo Pulsar, unveiled last thirty days during the Paris show, suggests it is preparing to simply take a bite through the Golf GTI. Perhaps even the Golf R. Or that future 360bhp Audi RS3 (see p48). Though we have seen no shortage of quick Nissans in modern times, through the GT-R and 370Z to the oddball Nissan Nismo Juke, Nissan hasn’t had a straight-up hot hatch since the not-greatly-memorable Almera GTI, having changed its C-segment hatch aided by the Qashqai. Nevertheless now, in the vanilla model of the Pulsar, it has actually a base from where to tackle the hot-hatch elite. And though the cooking versions of Nissan’s strait-laced five-door are just now hitting the street, already tuning arm Nissan Nismo has been doing its more-fast-more-power-more-wing point to produce this design study.
Nissan Nismo has fallen the Pulsar within microns of the tarmac, and addressed it to a brand new carbon body kit and twin-exit central exhaust. Lightweight 19in alloy wheels are slathered in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, while regarding the inside there’s a thinner, Alcantara-lined recreations wheel and proper Recaro buckets. All very good news. But the huge question, of course, is strictly how much power this old-school hot hatch is filling to its front tires. As well as the answer is… well, Nissan has actuallyn’t quite decided yet. This notion employs a 1.6-litre turbo four – the engine already found in the Nissan Nismo Juke in 197bhp state of tune – making something within the 250–275bhp area, but Nissan admitted it continues to be finding out in which to pitch a production hot Pulsar. That could, Pulsar product boss Andrew Limbert informs TG, range anywhere from warm-hatch Kia Pro_cee’d GT territory – therefore 200bhp approximately – through the 250bhp of the Megane RS and Focus ST crowd, and perhaps also towards the Golf R’s 300bhp output or beyond. Limbert claims feedback from automobile enthusiasts – yep, that’s every one of us lot – will help to contour the answer.