Nismo Tuning Offers Tuning, Performance Options for Nissan LEAF

By · June 27, 2013

LEAF Nismo

You can enhance your LEAF's looks and performance with a NISMO pack—but it's expensive.

Adding aftermarket performance and tuning parts to a car in order to improve its performance and street cred is big business, covering everything from a total engine rebuild to lightened body panels, custom exhausts and lowered suspension.

Traditionally, custom tuning has focused on powerful muscle cars, sports models, and Japanese four-cylinder imports, but now Nissan’s performance and motorsport devision is offering its services to owners of the all-electric Nissan LEAF.

For just ¥136,500 (approximately $1400) Nismo—short for Nissan Motorsport International Limited—will tweak your LEAF’s acceleration profile to give it a more sporty feel.

Unlike traditional hotrodding—where stock parts are replaced with more powerful, uprated components to affect performance—this particular upgrade doesn’t require any new parts to be added to the customer’s LEAF. Instead, the car’s existing vehicle control module (VCM) is reprogrammed—or "chipped"—to give it a sportier throttle response.

In addition, the reprogramming also alters throttle response when in ECO mode, resulting in a car which not only has better acceleration and sportier feel but an even lower-energy ECO mode for long-distance driving.

As any car fan will tell you however, improved acceleration is nothing without an uprated suspension package. Luckily, NISMO offers one, available for ¥105,000 ($1076).

For those who want to make their LEAF look sporty too, there’s a full body kit, including NISMO-styled front and rear bumpers, side skirts, and spoilers. It also includes new lightweight aluminum black diamond-cut wheels.

The result is a LEAF which looks as it it would be at home in any Need for Speed game. But looks are expensive: purchasing the whole body kid in "wet carbon" specification will set you back a cool ¥ 753,900 .

And that’s the big problem with the NISMO LEAF tuning kit. While the idea of a performance-oriented LEAF is appealing, purchasing the body kit, reprogrammed VCM and suspension mods—not to mention the added optional extras like hydrophilic wing mirrors and various carbon-effect trim panels—would leave you with very little change from $10,000.

In addition, with the parts only currently available to Japanese customers, you’d have to pay for shipping and import duty on top. Add everything together, and you’d find yourself spending almost half as much on upgrading your LEAF as you would to buy a brand new one.

Would you spend that much money on your LEAF for a few styling changes and a sportier feel behind the wheel? I can't think of many people who would.

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