Nissan on Tuesday unveiled a performance-tuned hybrid hatchback for the Japanese market. While it won't be coming to the United States, the Nissan Aura Note Nismo shows the tuning potential of the automaker's e-Power series hybrid system, which is expected to appear in future U.S.-market Nissan models.
Short for "Nissan Motorsports," Nismo is the automaker's performance sub-brand, tasked with creating sportier versions of the Nissan's existing models. In the case of the Note Aura, the Nismo treatment includes model-specific suspension tuning and a sportier Nismo drive mode, to go with the standard Normal and Eco modes.
The Aura Note Nismo also gets 17-inch wheels and a body kit that provides genuine aerodynamic benefits, Nissan claims.
However, Nissan didn't mention an increase in power. The standard Note Aura is rated at 134 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque—not exactly performance-car stuff.
Nissan Aura Note Nismo
Still, there are some notable engineering achievements behind e-Power which, unlike the parallel hybrid systems used by most automakers, uses the internal-combustion engine purely as a generator. Nissan has boasted of 50% thermal efficiency for an engine designed for e-Power—because of its ability to run the engine at a fixed rpm and load.
Nismo-style tuning could signal the segue to the U.S. market, as Nissan's said that e-Power will arrive here tuned for performance.
Nissan has meanwhile gone all-hybrid for its home market of Japan (outside of EVs). It's also shifting its future vehicles to a shared platform with sibling brands Infiniti, Mitsubishi, and Renault.
Recently, Infiniti announced that it had canceled plans to focus its future lineup around its own branded version of e-Power. With that, we're not sure where it leaves Nissan's e-Power plans.