Here’s how we’d do it
There’s no current engine in the Nissan family capable of hot hatch performance, however, thankfully Nissan’s sister company Renault has the perfect option sitting under the bonnet of its forthcoming Megane RS. Whether it’ll be a 1.6 or 2.0-litre turbo four is currently unclear, but around 200kW/350Nm should be plenty for our needs.
’BOX, ’BOX, ’BOX
As the new Megane RS will come in both manual and dual-clutch guises, so will our hot Pulsar, as the only other self-shifting alternative is to use a tweaked version of Nissan’s CVT – no thanks.
WANT IT ALL
Anyone who’s driven the current Pulsar SSS will be aware of how much work would be ahead of Nissan to turn the GTI-R into a benchmark hot hatch. A rear-biased Twinster-style all-wheel drive system would be a good start, but injecting some feel and accuracy into the dynamics should be priority number one. We want the grip of a WRX, the adjustability of a Megane RS and the ease of use of a Golf GTI – not asking too much, is it?
PRICE IS RIGHT
Lobbing the GTI-R in at a low-$40K price point should throw the cat amongst the pigeons, offering 0-100km/h in 5.6sec and 240km/h flat out to give a performance uppercut to established players like the WRX and Focus ST and go toeto-toe with the new Hyundai i30 N.
LET’S GO RACING
A return to the WRC would be great, but Nissan would be better off following the money, eyeballs and its competitors (Subaru, Honda, VW) into the Global Rallycross Championship with a factorybacked effort from NISMO. It would also provide Nissan with the perfect opportunity to launch an off-road version of its GT Academy.