Nis­san heats up

A Pul­sar SSS hot hatch ri­val to the Golf GTI is on the cards

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

soon as six months later. It is likely to be based on the hatch­back if his­tory is any guide.

Nis­san Australia sold a Pul­sar SSS hatch from 1991 to 2001 with sports sus­pen­sion and bodykit, and a 2.0-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine good for the then­im­pres­sive out­put of 110kw.

Nis­san sales chief Ian Mor­eil­lon says the Pul­sar SSS is def­i­nitely on Nis­san Australia’s wish list.

‘‘ There’s a lot of her­itage for the [Pul­sar] SSS in Australia. If we can find a way to do that, we will. We recog­nise that the ap­peal of the Pul­sar is not just as a base model,’’ he says.

‘‘ If we can do some­thing (spe­cial) with it, that would be good. Cer­tainly, if we can at­tract the SSS buy­ers of the N15 and N16 days (the 1990s) back into our brand then that would be good.’’

To have the street cred for a per­for­mance hot hatch to ri­val the GTI, a re­born Pul­sar SSS would need a tur­bocharged en­gine pro­duc­ing some­where be­tween 160kw and 190kw, sports tuned sus­pen­sion and a bodykit to match its abil­i­ties.

‘‘ All of those ways of mak­ing a car per­form are good,’’ Mor­eil­lon says. ‘‘ There’s ca­pac­ity, there’s tur­bocharg­ing, su­per­charg­ing— those things could give a car the pres­ence in the mar­ket to re­place what the SSS 2.0-litre rep­re­sented.’’

Nis­san Australia has other plans be­yond a hot Pul­sar.

A 200kw V6 is also in the works for the Al­tima— the medium sedan ri­val to the Toy­ota Camry and Mazda6— re­vealed at the New York auto show this week. ‘‘ Look, we men­tioned that we’d like to have a sport­ing edge to our brand go­ing for­ward that matches what we are do­ing with V8 Su­per­cars,’’ Mor­eil­lon says.

‘‘ We’re con­sid­er­ing that for all ap­pro­pri­ate Nis­san mod­els and if Pul­sar can lever­age off that, fan­tas­tic.’’

Mor­eil­lon draws the line only at tip­ping all-wheel drive to take on the Subaru Im­preza WRX.

Wish list: The new­pul­sar (above) and a 1998 Pul­sar SSS five-door

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