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Why it's a good idea for Nissan to bring back the Pulsar Nismo now more than ever

2020-08-28 07:30

Robin Classen

nissan pulsar nismo

Image: Nissan

If there's one chink in the armour Nissan has, its the fact that they have no performance representatives to go up against their rivals.

Before anyone screams blue murder and says 'what about the GT-R', 'Godzilla' isn't exactly in everyone's price range and it's low Naamsa sales numbers suggest people prefer other better-priced options.

Bring baby Godzilla back

While the problem does not lie with the GT-R being so expensive, it is the fact that the Japanese brand has no other performance options for anyone to consider. One could throw the 370Z into the hat as one of the options but judging by their lack of presence on the road; it has a severely limited fanbase.

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Rewind the clock to the turn of the millennium when Nissan had just launched the R34 GT-R globally. Still in Mzansi, petrolheads had to make do with 105kW Sentra's and Sabre's which, astonishingly, is still very popular to this day.

Would you like to see the Pulsar Nismo make its way to South Africa eventually? Please email us and share your thoughts.

That was the last time Nissan released their version of a hot hatch, and there hasn't been an adequate replacement since. Since then, Datsun has become a standalone brand.

The recent Carlos Ghosn corruption scandal has crippled the inner core at Nissan not only financially but has left the brand's reputation in tatters.

                                                                       Image: SpeedHunters.com

While that saga is an entirely different kettle of fish and a story for another day, there is a way Nissan can appease petrolheads around the world with something that was born in the '90s - the golden age of Japanese automation.

Nissan had a plethora of performance options on the table through the '90s - everything from the 300ZX to the Silvia sisters and Skyline GT-R was a fearsome trio. But there was one, nicknamed 'baby Godzilla', that had the potential to become a force to be reckoned with.

Left in the dust

The N14 Pulsar GTI-R was born in the early '90s too, boasting 169kW and 280Nm from its famed SR20DET engine and the power was spread to all four wheels via an ATTESA all-wheel drive system, the very same used in the Skyline GT-R.

Even though the Tiida was built on the same platform as the Pulsar, that was the closest thing SA got to the hatchback. The Tiida wasn't a particularly nice car to look at, but if it's fast, people overlook the faults immediately.

Toyota has the supercharged GR Yaris, Mazda's 3 now sports turbocharged goodness, and Hyundai is ruffling feathers with the I30 N. For a brand as prominent and as respected as Nissan, not having a glorified hot hatch is bizarre.

It was at the 2014 Paris Auto Show where Nissan teased the public with its Pulsar Nismo hatch to much excitement to fans of the brand. Everyone knows if any Nissan has a Nismo badge slapped on its arse, it is by no means ordinary.

nissan pulsar nismo

                                                                         Image: Nissan

Official images show a mean machine with aggressive front and rear sections coupled with a dual-exiting exhaust layout. It has also sports beefy 19-inch alloys sitting pretty on lowered suspension.

As far as power figures go, a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine will be used as a base, and it will kick out more than 180kW. According to Nissan, there will be an even faster RS version - although nothing is set in stone as it still remains a concept model.

It would be really cool for an age-old beast to make its return and add another competitor to the strong hot hatch segment. All everyone can do is wait for something concrete to surface.

With the recent influx of once import-only Japanese performance cars, like the Skyline and Supra, now freely available to purchase, it will be a hit locally. It will cost a pretty penny, somewhere along the VW Golf GTI and R price range, only now it represents the chance to drive something more than 20 years in the making.

Nissan might currently be putting in all of its time and effort in producing electric vehicles for the future, but fans of the brand have been starved too long of something fast, that is not a GT-R.

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