It’s Toyko Auto Salon time. Akin to the U.S.’s SEMA show, the Tokyo Auto Salon acts as a great space for aftermarket and traditional OEMs to show off their hotted-up projects that are more racy than the standard fare. This year, Nissan has shown off a spicy Ariya—and it looks like it goes way beyond the standard fare of only visual enhancements.
Get Fully Charged
The Nissan Ariya Nismo Has 430 Horsepower
The Nissan Ariya Nismo is the most powerful Ariya on tap and includes a bevy of performance upgrades to make it sharper to drive. It won’t be sold outside of Japan, though.
To create the Ariya Nismo, Nissan started with a standard dual-motor AWD Ariya e-4ORCE, then threw a gaggle of visual and mechanical enhancements to make the car more engaging. The 20-inch aluminum wheels are “highly rigid”, and wrapped in special tires specific to this car. Nissan says that coupled with the unspecified chassis enhancements, turn-in on the Ariya NISMO is greatly improved. The Ariya Nismo’s aggressive styling is also useful, too – the ground effects kit and rear spoiler contribute to reduced drag, but more downforce at higher speeds, something Nissan says also improves the Ariya’s cornering performance.
The Ariya Nismo’s credentials go beyond racy styling or handling upgrades. Nissan also reworked the car’s EV powertrain so it now its peak output is 10% higher. For Japan, the Ariya Nismo will come in two NISMO B6 e-4ORCE, and the NISMO B9 e-4ORCE. The B6 model comes with the smaller 66 kWh battery good 362 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. The B9 model gets the larger 91 kWh battery, and its two motors produce 430 hp and 443 pound-feet of torque. No official performance numbers have been released, but we’d expect the B9 to out-accelerate the roughly 5-second 0-60 time of the standard top-of-the-line Ariya. At the very least, it should be more entertaining to drive, Nissan has added a special NISMO mode that sharpens throttle response, while providing a formula-E-inspired engine soundtrack to make the car feel even more dynamic.
These all sound like great changes to make a not-very-interesting crossover, exciting. There’s one big problem though: Nissan has no plans to market it outside of Japan. Our sister site Motor 1 received a statement from Nissan: “This is a very exciting time in Nissan’s electrification journey in our region and we are constantly looking ahead to ensure we bring our customers the best products and experiences. For the time being, the car will only be available in the Japanese market. We have no further announcements at this stage regarding introduction of this car to other markets.”
That’s truly a bummer. The Ariya is an okay EV, but when it comes to driving excitement, it definitely does not deliver anything at all. That’s upsetting, considering that this Ariya could have the chops to go against legitimately sporty EV crossovers – last year a lowered Ariya prototype was spied driving around the Nürburgring. If that Nürburgring energy was successfully imparted to the Ariya NISMO, it could be a credible threat to EVs like the Tesla Model Y Performance, Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, Kia EV6 GT, or the forthcoming Hyundai Ioniq 5 N. Truly a shame that Nissan won’t sell it outside of Japan.