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The Nissan Ariya adds an SUV to the marque’s lineup of electric vehicles (EVs). However, the Japanese automaker didn’t stop there; the Ariya is getting a performance-oriented trim. That’s right, the Nissan Ariya NISMO is a thing, and it’s a corner-crushing cut above the standard EV SUV. But, is it necessary?

The Nissan Ariya gets the NISMO treatment with a 40-horsepower bump

The Nissan Ariya NISMO takes the existing e-4ORCE platform and adds a second electric motor. As a result, the NISMO model rides on grippy all-wheel drive (AWD). Better yet, the Japan-only EV SUV develops more power than the e-4ORCE model. 

Specifically, the entry-level B6 model produces 362 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Of course, the NISMO faithful will be more excited about the  B9 model and its 429 horsepower. Further, with 443 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a larger 91-kWh battery pack, the B9 is sure to be a thrust-happy affair. 

A Nissan Ariya NISMO shows off its rear-end styling.
Nissan Ariya NISMO | Nissan

However, the NISMO isn’t just an experiment in the needless application of more power; Nissan re-tuned the Ariya’s chassis for performance. We expect the Ariya will be a bit more adept at hiking up its pants and getting around corners. Still, looking at other NISMO models on the Nissan Z and GT-R platforms, we have to ponder the necessity of an Ariya NISMO. 

We love a NISMO, but the performance-oriented Ariya might be unnecessary

An electric SUV is, well, a lump. Even the explosive straight-line performance of the Tesla Model X Plaid can’t replace the fact that it weighs over 5,000 lbs. Woof. The same issue resides in the 2023 Nissan Ariya. The EV crossover SUV weighs over 4,300 lbs. It’s not exactly what you’d call spry.

Even with a corner-focused approach to its latest EV, we can’t imagine you’ll have anywhere near as much fun feeding the Ariya NISMO into corners as you would with a Nissan Z or Toyota GR86

Still, the NISMO’s re-tuned chassis will undoubtedly liven up its handling and driving experience. That, and with a welcome bump in power, surprising passengers with stoplight-to-stoplight thrust will become a common task. Car and Driver managed to coax a 5.0-second sprint to 60 mph out of the Ariya e-4ORCE Platinum+ (I know, it’s quite the name). It stands to reason that the NISMO model will shave tenths off of that time. 

Adding to the possible futility of North American Nissan fans pining after an Ariya NISMO, Nissan introduced it to the Japanese market. It’s unclear whether the marque will bring it to American shores.

Source: Nissan Media, Car and Driver