December 7, 2022

This isn’t a traditional hatch, it’s a mathematical equation – Nissan Micra + 350Z engine + RWD = utter insanity!

Generally, simply generally, producers have a way of humour. Take this for instance. We all know it’s a Micra, nevertheless it’s probably not a Micra, is it? OK, the shell is Micra-ish, though it’s wider, bulkier, with extra vents and spoilers. Delve somewhat deeper and also you’ll discover extra modifications; so what’s this all about?

Nicely, Within the early 2000s, Nissan unveiled its all-new Micra 160SR, the warmest model of the little hatch. To indicate off how good the physique was, Nissan, together with RML (Ray Mallock Ltd), constructed one thing that may fairly actually be described as a race automotive with quantity plates. Let’s run by proceedings…

NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

The automotive was initially equipped with RML’s personal Nissan BTCC engine, 2.0-litres in displacement, turbocharged, 265bhp and mated to a Hewland sequential gearbox; all fitted the place the rear seats was. As you’ll be able to think about, not solely may drivers not hear themselves suppose, however the warmth was an excessive amount of and the sequential field couldn’t be used on the highway. It additionally wasn’t all-too dependable. Nissan had a rethink and offered RML with a Murano 3.5-litre V6 block. The blokes then fitted 350Z heads, whereas Nismo engineers had been flown in to put in particular high-lift cams and a customized ECU. The six-speed gearbox from an Altima SE-R (solely bought in North America) was then mated to the V6 and the drivetrain was swapped from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive. Nismo additionally offered a brand new manifold and exhaust, which is basically a tiny piece of steel the place hopes and goals find yourself erupting right into a sound that, normally, can solely be created by some type of legendary beast.

NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

The chassis is the place the magic actually occurs, although. A roll-cage/space-frame combo was welded collectively earlier than a customized Micra widebody was dropped excessive. The suspension comes from Proflex, who specialises primarily in motorsport-spec damping, the brakes had been customized constructed by Brembo, 350mm in diameter and the entrance, 330mm on the rear, with an AP racing brake bias adjuster below the bonnet. Physique rigidity is up 30%, whereas damping is so stiff that cornering is totally flat, with zero physique roll.

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NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

Contained in the race automotive therapy continued, all the things was eliminated bar the electrical home windows and followers. The remainder is gone, together with the stereo, common instrument panels and carpet. Rather than the carpets are aluminium sheets, the seats come within the type of Sabelt buckets with 5-point harnesses. The airbags are gone, the common steering wheel is booted, as a substitute, a Sabelt quick-release steering wheel is in place. The passenger foot nicely has a hearth extinguisher, and a separate extinguisher with connecting hoses is positioned behind the seats. Within the occasion of a fireplace, or sparking up a Lambert and Butler, the cockpit and engine bay can be flooded with foam. Funnily sufficient, the indicator stalk and window wiper are nonetheless from a Micra, together with the electronically adjustable wing mirrors… it’s mainly sensible, proper?

NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

A grasp change within the centre controls all the things, together with the digital followers that may be simply be mistaken for the engine cut-off. The MoTeC digital show offers the motive force all the knowledge she or he may probably need, from oil temperatures/pressures, to rev counter, engine temperature, water temperature and numerous different gizmos. The gas tank is relocated from the place it needs to be, below the rear seats (the place the engine now resides), to the place the engine needs to be, below the bonnet. Gas station fill ups have by no means been so comical as folks look throughout in horror pondering you’re chucking super-unleaded instantly into the engine!

NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

Nissan was eager to maintain the automotive as drivable as potential and to even be capable of use the automotive on a regular basis. Chief Designer Stephane Schwartz stated: “It’s equal to a bodybuilder. The Micra is similar man as them. He’s simply been down the gymnasium now!” That looks as if the understatement of the yr to me – it’s extra like this tuned Nissan has been injecting anabolic steroids!

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HOW IS IT TO DRIVE?
Name me batshit loopy however I used this automotive as a each day for per week. First issues first, don’t do this. Whereas it’s totally potential, you simply wouldn’t need to. It’s like saying you possibly can hearken to the identical track on a regular basis, it’ll be annoying. Driving the Micra is an occasion, and one you higher be ready for earlier than you get in. It’s as uncooked as a automotive will be, it’s as loud as a Harrier and the clutch is insufferable. I’ve pushed traditional 911s, infamous for being tough to drive with the heavy clutches, this automotive places these into the same class as a contemporary automotive. I don’t know who signed this off, however there isn’t any want for it to be so stiff.

NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

Therein lies my subsequent level; site visitors. Not solely is the clutch unattainable to barter, however the automotive overheats spectacularly when sat nonetheless. The MoTeC digital dashboard flashes with warnings of overheating the second you cease; fortunately an additional set of followers provoke at a sure temperature and regulate issues. The drone is the subsequent level; the automotive is so loud that, in any gear at any level, your ears are ringing. The seats do their greatest at conserving you cozy however there’s no denying that any five-point harnesses is all the time amusing. Not solely does it take you 5 minutes to get them on, however each passenger must be taught tips on how to use them, after which they whine about reaching ahead.

NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

Proper, now the moaning bit is out of the best way I can present some extra helpful info. This automotive is classy when pushing on. The noise; I moaned in regards to the drone, however whenever you open it up and pin the throttle to a smidgen over 7000rpm this automotive sings with probably the most great V6 scream. It by some means sounds barely

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NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

completely different to the 350Z, extra in tune with the R35 GT-R the truth is. It pulls ridiculously nicely, too, from as little as 2k rpm because of the torquey block. Gear modifications are superbly quick and slot in completely. In terms of stopping, the Brembos are very good, however you do have to recollect to heat them up, you’ll really feel nothing when chilly. Additionally, the ABS is eliminated, so modulating braking till they’ve warmed up is crucial.

NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

This automotive was constructed totally for its cornering talents. The steering is so darty and exact, comparable the truth is to a Lotus Exige. It offers fixed suggestions, however not all the time in a optimistic method. It reacts negatively to tramlining, snatching the wheel at instances, which will be unnerving. The physique itself is immensely stiff, however the damping is nearly cozy. In comparison with arduous race coilovers, that leap and skip throughout bumps due to stiffness, this rides them nicely. The rear is twitchy, however that’s to be anticipated from the size of the automotive. It’s nonetheless a comparatively quick wheelbase regardless of being wider than common, and the Micra dimensions being quick, stubby and excessive additionally signifies that the rear struggles for traction and somewhat stability at velocity. Fast gearchanges could cause the rear to snake… which is amusing.

NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned

On the entire, this automotive is as near a go kart as is feasible for a highway automotive. Quick, loud, agile however above all else, ridiculously enjoyable. Whereas each drive was an occasion, it was a contented occasion, one which leaves you smiling at simply how ludicrous it’s. Wish to hear one thing else loopy? This automotive is rumoured to have value Nissan north of £250,000…

NISSAN MICRA 350S REVIEW K12 Modified Tuned