Why It is Time for the Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V to Come Again
Over the previous couple of years, Nissan has actually righted its course and begun producing respectable autos once more. Each time I’ve pushed a contemporary Nissan—I am speaking engineered since like 2018—I’ve come away questioning why I do not hear extra individuals speaking about them, and it appears the Z is the place individuals are lastly catching up with my view that Nissan has turned issues round. Having finished so, I believe it is now time Nissan takes one other crack on the sport compact market by bringing again a nameplate from the golden age of Japanese automobiles: The Senta SE-R Spec V.
This often-overlooked sport compact at all times form of lived within the shadow of the likes of the Honda Civic Si, partly as a result of Nissan’s entry-level efficiency automobiles by no means having the identical following as Honda’s. The SE-R wasn’t ever fairly as collectively because the Si, however it held its personal if interval evaluations are to be believed. Now, with the Subaru WRX coasting into mediocrity, Mazda giving up on efficiency automobiles, and the People out of the game compact recreation fully, there’s positively room for Nissan to provide the phase one other strive. Having pushed the present Sentra, I believe Nissan has much less to do to heat it over than chances are you’ll anticipate.
Whereas my colleague Peter Holderith and I’ll disagree over whether or not the Sentra’s a great automotive (it’s), we each agree that considered one of its strengths is the way it drives. Its steering far exceeds what you anticipate of a automotive with zero pretenses of efficiency, and due to its torque vectoring and impartial suspension, it corners handily even on all-season tires. It is already a stable chassis, one that might turn into even higher with some elementary efficiency and dynamic upgrades. Extra and higher tire, retuned suspension, some weight discount, chassis bracing, maybe a heavier steering setup, and somewhat aero would go a good distance towards making it a challenger to right this moment’s Civic Si. Heck, I might go so far as calling for a tiny gooseneck rear wing. It’d stand out, and provides homeowners the choice to put in greater, sillier wings.
That in fact leaves the drivetrain, which within the U.S.-market Sentra is certainly insufficient for a sport compact. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder, producing 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque, is sort of thrifty on fuel when paired with its repeatedly variable transmission, however it’s no powerhouse. I did not dare strive for passes uphill whereas driving by way of the Rocky Mountains. Fortunately, half the answer to this drawback can already be discovered within the Sentra bought to our northern neighbors, who get the choice of a six-speed guide. That, along with the upgrades outlined above, would go a good distance towards making a compact to problem the WRX and Civic Si.
However not all the way in which, as a result of Nissan nonetheless has to deal with the engine. Even that is not a tough piece of the equation, although, as Nissan has a number of choices for spurring the Sentra. One is to easily improve that two-liter, as between its repeatedly variable valve timing, 10.6:1 compression, and direct injection, it has the makings of a good NA engine; it simply must breathe simpler. That could possibly be organized with an consumption and exhaust, perhaps an improved cylinder head, and stronger pistons and rods if want be. Sure, I do know the latter can be pricier to develop, however they’d nonetheless go a good distance, and even 180 horsepower or so with respectable torque can be a welcome improve.
Extra nonetheless could possibly be on the desk if Nissan provides pressured induction, by changing the two.0-liter with one thing punchier from one other mannequin, as prior SE-Rs did. That opens the door for the 1.5-liter KR15DDT from the next-gen Rogue, with which the Sentra shares a platform, and which might ship a Civic Si-rivaling 201 horsepower. It’d critically out-torque the Honda, too, with 225 pound-feet, all whereas making an indignant little three-cylinder ruckus that’d sound extra like a GR Corolla than the comparatively bland Honda’s thrum.
An alternative choice could possibly be to make use of the variable-compression 2.0-liter turbo from the Altima, which makes 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet. There is no assure the six-speed might face up to its torque, although, and within the Altima, it is solely paired with a CVT, so it could be an excessive amount of engine for the platform. Then once more, Nissan might hold the CVT there to boost efficiency on the expense of noise, as Williams F1 experimented with again within the Nineteen Nineties.
In the long run, that is all simply hypothetical waffling that I believe Nissan can as soon as once more be trusted to work out a great answer to. A number of the items for a brand new Sentra SE-R Spec V are in place, it is simply as much as Nissan to provide you with the remainder to finish the puzzle. I believe there’s an fanatic’s case for the comeback of the spicy Sentra, and I can solely hope Nissan thinks there is a enterprise case to be made too. On the finish of the day, it is cash that makes multinational companies go ‘spherical, not passions.
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