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Auto Show : 2013 La Auto Show

Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept: LA Auto Show

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author photo by Doug DeMuro

What Is It?

The Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept isn't a concept car in the traditional sense. There's no unusual name, strange styling or cutting-edge technology that's years away from seeing production. Instead, it's simply a high-performance concept version of Nissan's compact Sentra sedan. 

The formula for the Sentra NISMO Concept is simple. Nissan took the standard Sentra sedan and its 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine and added a turbocharger for more power. The result is 240 horsepower, which is over 100 hp more than the base-level Sentra. There's also a 6-speed manual transmission, a limited-slip differential and sport suspension to improve handling, and Brembo brakes from the sporty 370Z. 

On the outside, the Sentra NISMO Concept offers several exciting upgrades. The most obvious is black-painted 19-inch wheels, which give the sedan a high-performance look. But there's also a trunk spoiler, a rear diffuser, chromed exhaust tips, larger fender flares and side skirts, and a more aggressive front bumper. Inside, there's a "race-inspired" steering wheel and sport seats finished in leather and Alcantara.

Will They Ever Sell It?

It's hard to say. Nissan went to a lot of trouble to create the NISMO Sentra Concept -- and, frankly, it looks a lot more like a production car than a concept car. The brand also appears to be getting in touch with its sporty side, as proven by the Juke NISMO RS, which also debuted in LA. That said, Nissan says for now that the NISMO Sentra Concept is, unfortunately, just that. 

Why It's Important

The Nissan Sentra was once a popular economy car with a wild side. In the early 1990s, Nissan sold a sporty Sentra SE-R that's still revered by sport compact-car enthusiasts. With the Sentra NISMO Concept, Nissan seems to be showing us that the forces that created the Sentra SE-R are still alive and well -- and the automaker can unleash something similar if the public reaction is strong enough. 

The Sentra NISMO Concept also proves Nissan is emphasizing performance these days. The brand has debuted several NISMO models lately, including a 370Z and a Juke, and seems to be focused on increasing its presence among car enthusiasts.

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Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept: LA Auto Show