This is the Nissan Patrol NISMO, the fastest and most expensive Nissan Patrol currently on sale, but that is only a small part of what makes it special. What makes it really special, is the fact that it has been built by Nissan’s Motorsports division and that it is available only and only in the Middle East region. Since we’ve managed to get our hands on one, let’s jump right in and find out if it is worth its 385,000 Dirham price tag.
Now before diving into the engine specifications and telling you what the NISMO feels like to drive, I just want to take a minute to explain the difference between the NISMO and the standard Patrol. Although the NISMO has all of the regular Patrol’s go-anywhere technology, the team has spent their time and effort trying to make this the more performance-inclined and street-friendly version of the two.
The engine is a 5.6-liter V8 just like the standard Patrol, but what is different is that it has been hand-built by the same team of Takumi engineers that hand builds the engine for the Nissan GT-R. Power stands at 428 horsepower and 560 Nm of torque, which means that when you mash your foot to the accelerator pedal the NISMO will hit 100km/h in 6.6-seconds and go on to a top speed of 200km/h.
To improve cornering and handling, the NISMO does come fitted with a Bilstein performance suspension system. The engineers have also improved the aerodynamics for zero lift and added a new set of alloy wheels that reduce weight by 4.5 kilograms. The more I drive the Patrol NISMO, the more I like it but I can’t stop asking myself, has the team done enough, or is there room to do more?
Quite frankly, I feel there is room to do a lot more, and let me justify why. The NISMO nameplate is a very special one; it’s like what AMG is for Mercedes-Benz or RS is for Audi, and that should mean something but sadly the Patrol NISMO just doesn’t feel all that different when compared to the standard car and perhaps that is because the standard Patrol is such a great car in itself.
But that simply isn’t an excuse. So, what can the team do to make driving the NISMO even more exciting? I suggest adding a valve to the exhaust system. I also suggest removing the last row of seats (making the NISMO a 5-seater) and reducing the fuel tank size from the huge 140-liter tank that it is to a 100-liter tank for massive weight savings. And lastly, with the help of some electronic gizmos, I also suggest adding things like a Sports mode and launch control.
All of these additions are relatively easy to execute and are just a glimpse of what the true potential for a Patrol NISMO is. At the end of the day, this is an SUV that is built for enthusiasts by enthusiasts and so I really do hope that Nissan is able to push the bar and truly differentiate the NISMO from the standard Patrol, because believe me when I say there is no shortage of performance SUV buyers in the Middle East.
When it comes to interior design and quality, the team has definitely surpassed expectations. There’s carbon fiber on the steering wheel, dashboard, door panels, and center console. There’s red and black leather with contrast stitching running across the cabin. And having taken customer feedback into account, the NISMO now comes with wider seats that are covered in a combination of leather and Alcantara. On the whole, it looks really good and it feels really good.
Space in the second row is just as great as it is in the standard Patrol and those in the back get separate controls for the AC system from those in the front, two entertainment screens, headphone jacks, and two USB charging outlets as well.
On the feature front, the big addition is the dual-screen layout which now comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. There are also seat heaters and coolers, a 13-speaker Bose audio system that sounds absolutely magnificent, and a small sunroof.
On the safety side of things, there are 360-degree cameras, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert, but by far my favorite feature is the smart rearview mirror that uses a camera mounted at the back of the car and projects the image onto the mirror. This is great if you are carrying a full load of cargo or occupants and can’t see out the back, now with a simple flick of a switch and you have unobstructed views of everything going on behind you.
When it comes to styling, the Patrol NISMO is undoubtedly the best looking of all Patrols. It gets a new grille, a new bumper with functioning vents, and signature red accents along with the bumpers, side skirts, and mirrors. All the chrome along the bodywork has been converted to dark chrome for a sportier look and this new model now rocks a stunning set of 22-inch alloys with the NISMO emblem.
At the back, it gets a new spoiler, a new bumper, and an F1-inspired LED fog light. For those of you wondering, the dual exhaust finishing is just for aesthetic purposes as it still gets a single-exit exhaust and as for color options, there are four you can choose from White, Silver, Grey like we have here, or Black.
At the start of this review, I set out to answer if the NISMO is worth its 385,000 Dirham price tag. While I can confidently say that is a great SUV for those who want something a little different, I sincerely do hope that Nissan is able to push the boundaries and give enthusiasts a true performance SUV, because with a few tweaks and additions the Patrol NISMO can certainly go from being a good SUV to a great SUV.
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