The Nissan Qashqai – safe, dependable and practical. Three words you might use to describe the Nissan Qashqai. But exciting, no. But all that is set to change, with the arrival of a Nissan Qashqai Nismo, complete with a 300hp punch.
Speaking to Ponz Pandikuthira – Nissan’s general manager and chief marketing manager for crossovers and C-segment products – PetrolBlog understands the Nissan Qashqai Nismo will be all-wheel drive, with in excess of 300hp ‘”to ensure that it offers serious performance and not just a tuner ‘appearance’ package”.
Previously it had been suggested the Nissan Qashqai Nismo would offer 212hp, but Pandikuthira – who was chatting on the top floor of the Crystal Tower – Madrid’s second tallest building – has similarly lofty ambitions for the hot Qashqai.
“The gearhead in me does not think 212hp is nearly enough.”
So this rules out using the 1.6-litre turbocharged unit from the Juke Nismo RS, but it does mean we may have to wait whilst Pandikuthira makes a successful business case for a wild Qashqai. As things stand, Nissan doesn’t have “anything in the corporate parts bin that can deliver this package”.
Nissan has a history of turning wild fantasies into reality, so there’s every chance we might finally see a genuinely desirable Qashqai. Its back catalogue is filled with the likes of the Micra 350SR and bonkers Juke R, the latter of which spawned the significantly more affordable Juke Nismo and 215hp Juke Nismo RS.
According to Pandikuthira, the Nissan Qashqai Nismo would need to cost more than £35,000, but significantly less than £40,000 in order to make it viable. There’s no word on when Nissan expects to launch the performance version of the Qashqai, but with two million global sales and counting, it’s not hard to make a business case for the car.
In a stroke, such a development would turn the Nissan Qashqai from a car driven by other people into a genuinely desirable product. PetrolBlog says do it.
As Pandikuthira suggests, why shouldn’t Mr Qashqai drop his children off at school before going for a “250km/h hot lap” of the Autobahn.