Friday Photo – Nissan Bladeglider hits Rio

Remember the ZEOD RC, and the DeltaWing before it? Nissan’s fascination with narrow-track and electric power continues, but now in the form of something that could actually appear on the street. Oh, and with a drift mode.2016 Nissan BladeGlider According to Nissan, this is the future of electric cars that enthusiasts shouldn’t be scared of. That a car can be fun, despite not burning fossil fuels inside, but relying on the gentle hum of batteries instead. Whilst the name sounds like something Gillette would sell, the BladeGlider is a very serious attempt at showcasing what the near-future might hold. This is the Leaf with excitement added: the drama of dihedral doors, an open roof, and technology from Williams Advanced Engineering beneath the radical styling. The narrow front-end and wider rear is lifted straight from the DeltaWing design, maximising aerodynamic efficiency. Cameras replace the wing mirrors for the same reason.2016 Nissan BladeGlider Previously displayed as “just a concept” in 2013, Nissan is using the 2016 Olympics to showcase the real-word potential of the BladeGlider. If you happen to be in Rio de Janeiro, and be a fancy VIP, you may well find yourself being shuttled around by the BladeGlider. That’s chauffeured around at considerable pace, too. With the equivalent of 268hp available, and a thumping 521 lb-ft of torque, the BladeGlider can hit 0-62mph in less than 5 seconds and go all the way to 115mph. Whilst that isn’t quite Tesla Model S Insane Mode fast, it’s certainly punchier than your average Leaf.2016 Nissan BladeGlider With each rear wheel using an individual electric motor, the BladeGlider’s real party trick is the ability to torque vector. Just like a Nissan GT-R, or a certain Ford Focus RS. Should the car detect understeer, it’ll send torque to the outside rear wheel to turn the car back onto line. But it also allows for added fun with the drift mode option – perhaps there is some extra karma from doing lairy drifts in an electric vehicle… (more…)

Friday Video – No Fooling

As the post goes live it’s April Fools’ Day, which means the press offices and PR departments of car companies have been in overdrive trying to find the wittiest way of plugging their products.

Nissan – Alive (2016) from Alessandro Pacciani™

We’ve covered these efforts before on ESM but, instead, this year we’ve decided to take a completely different approach. The fact is, car advertising in the UK finds itself embattled with the Advertising Standards Authority, which takes a dim view of anything dangerous or exciting. Quite frankly, it’s amazing that we haven’t had car adverts banned from TV altogether, for fear of upsetting Britain’s Victorian morals. Read the industry guidance on car advertising and you’ll begin to understand the minefield marketing departments have to navigate.

Take, for instance, this BMW M4 Convertible advert – banned by the ASA in 2014 after a grand total of a single complaint. Yes, one person, or more likely a single safety-minded organisation, put the brakes on the advert which featured the car on road and race track. The ASA were concerned viewers might not be able to tell the difference, and thus be encouraged to drive dangerously on the public highway.

So that’s why, to celebrate the ridiculousness that are the rules imposed by the ASA, we’ve featured two videos from the incredibly talented director Alessandro Pacciani. We’ve no doubt his work would be banned instantly were it shown on TV, but that’s more of a reason to like it. Also, we were attracted to the absurdity of a Nismo-spec Nissan Patrol in the first video, and the obvious irony of a BMW M4 doing naughty things in the second one:

BMW M4 – Factory Trailer from Alessandro Pacciani™

Consider these your welcome break from the April Fools’ adverts you’ll have endured this morning.

Friday Photo – Infiniti Q30 rolls out in Sunderland

ESM is rejoicing at the fact the roads of the North East might now be populated with a new car – the locally built Infiniti Q30.

2015 Infiniti Q30 NMMUK 001When you live close to a Nissan plant that employs almost 7,000 people, every commute in the region involves the now subconscious spotting of Juke, Note, Leaf and Qashqai models. Be it on transporters heading to the Port of Tyne, or just frequenting the roads and car parks around the North East, there’s no getting away from the impact of having a major motor manufacturer in the local area.  (more…)

Paris 2014 – Nissan NISMO Pulsar Concept and more…

So what has EngageSportMode’s local car manufacturer been up to at the Paris Motor Show? Seemingly sticking bits of red trim to everything it can get its hands on, in order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NISMO brand.

Paris 2014 NISMO Group 001

Chiefly known to anyone who has played Gran Turismo in the last 15 years as the tuner of Skyline GT-Rs, NISMO was formed thirty years ago by Nissan, to lead on the development of race cars and performance parts. Up until relatively recently, Nissan had seemingly been content to keep the NISMO name tag reserved for Japanese-market only products. However, the company now seems determined to use the Nissan Motorsport badge on pretty much the entire model range, with four models on display at the Paris Motor Show.

SONY DSCWe’ve seen some of that quartet already, but the Pulsar NISMO is a new twist on the only recently released c-segment hatchback. It’s Nissan’s first real attempt at a hot-hatch since the Almera GTI; yes, the one with the advert, but is sadly only a styling concept for the time being. It certainly adds some much-needed visual clout to the standard Pulsar which, if we’re being completely honest, looks a little ordinary.


Friday Photo – Nissan ZEOD RC

This weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours race is already building up quite nicely into a three-way battle between Toyota, Porsche and Audi for top honours. But, at the same time, Nissan is hoping for success with its innovative electric racer.

2014 Nissan ZEOD RC Le Mans 01

In fact the ZEOD (zero emissions on demand) RC prototype hit an impressive benchmark in last night’s qualifying session – reaching over 300 km/h (186 mph) purely on electric power alone. Running down the Mulsanne Straight, Japanese driver Satoshi Motoyama reached the impressive figure with the car’s petrol internal combustion engine making no revs at all. Impressive enough for the crazy concept vehicle to qualify 27th overall.

Rear view radar camera visible atop the ZEOD RC.

Rear view radar camera visible atop the ZEOD RC.

The ZEOD RC’s 1.5 litre three-cylinder 400 hp turbocharged engine and twin 110 kw electric motors aren’t the only technologic development the car is demonstrating at Le Mans. Nissan is also making use of the systems found in its road cars such as the Qashqai, with a development of the Nissan Safety Shield and Nissan Smart Mirror. The result is the first completely mirrorless race car. Instead of normal mirrors, the ZEOD RC uses a rear-facing camera that displays video images to the driver, but also incorporates a radar to warn of fast approaching cars. More impressive is the way the system changes dependent on the closing speed and position of nearby cars, taking some of the stress out of the Le Mans traffic.

Here’s hoping the camera system helps the ZEOD stay out of trouble throughout the race and make it to the finish.

Geneva 2014 – Nissan Juke Nismo RS – Photos and details

If you didn’t already know we’re fans of the existing Nissan Juke Nismo, giving it an award at the end of 2013. At the Geneva Motor Show today, Nissan has showed off the new RS version with extra power and styling modifications taken from the  updated Juke.

Nissan Juke Nismo RS 001

  • Power increases to 215 bhp (218 PS),
  • Torque up to 207 lb-ft (280 NM),
  • Mechanical Limited Slip Differential for 2WD versions,
  • Six-speed manual or eight-speed CVT automatic transmission.

We didn’t see the Juke Nismo RS coming, given that the attention at Geneva was all meant to be about the subtle facelift for the whole Juke range. But regardless, Nissan decided to endow its Crossover / hot-hatch creation with extra horsepower and some additional performance weaponry.

Nissan Juke Nismo RS 003

The 1.6 litre turbo engine’s additional 18 bhp (more…)

New 2014 Nissan Qashqai Enters Production

Being based in the North East, it’s fairly impossible for to ignore the influence of our friendly neighbourhood car manufacturer; Nissan. The proliferation of Juke, Qashqai, Note and even Leaf models on the roads in these parts are testament to just how big a deal the Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK plant in Sunderland is. So when the latest model goes into production, it matters.

2014 Nissan Qashqai Production 001

Nissan will tell you that the all new Qashqai entered full production today, so ESM will just quietly gloss over the car-transporter full of them that it passed on the A19 yesterday. But regardless of the specifics, the 7,000 strong workforce at the Sunderland plant will be churning out a new Qashqai off the production line every minute. Well, 61 seconds if you’re being utterly precise.

2014 Nissan Qashqai Production 002

Virtually everyone in this region knows someone who works directly for NMUK, such as ESM’s mate Dave, or the gigantic supply chain feeding the Wearside factory. In total 40,000 jobs are dependent on Nissan UK production, so it’s not surprising that so many know a friend or relative involved with car building here. It matters a lot to the North East economy, and seeing another new model constructed here is a proud moment for an area that has struggled in generations past. The half billion pound investment by the company to keep producing new models such as the Qashqai and forthcoming Infiniti Q30, affirms the importance of the plant to both the local and national economy, but also to Nissan’s global strategy. 

2014 Nissan Qashqai Production 003

EngageSportMode hopes to see many new Qashqai models on the road around here in the very near future. Not just because it’s a rather handsome looking crossover, but for the fact it means North East England remains a major manufacturing player. It might not be normal ESM car, but sometimes things are bigger than just power and performance.

New – 2014 Nissan Qashqai

Admittedly crossover vehicles like the Qashqai would not be usual EngageSportMode content. But, we feel somewhat of an attachment to it, being based just a few miles down the road from Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK in Sunderland. It’s also impossible to ignore the impact the first-generation model has had, with more than 2 million examples being sold since 2007. So, just what does the all new Qashqai have in store?

2014 Nissan Qashqai 001

Longer, wider and more upmarket probably sums up the new generation in a clamshell – just like the one its bonnet shape is based on. Compared to the Juke, the new Qashqai does appear a little restrained; we’re not seeing dramatic styling and crazy detailing here. However, this is a relatively conservative mass-market segment, so you can’t fault Nissan for playing it safe. That’s not to say the new QQ isn’t handsome; the racey grille gives some aggression to the front end, whilst rakish lines and pronounced wheelarches certainly give it presence. There’s almost something Infiniti-esque about the rear end with its narrower taillights and distinctive spoiler. Conventional? Yes. Attractive? Certainly.

2014 Nissan Qashqai 004

As ever, improved efficiency and economy and the lynchpin of any new model. The second-generation Qashqai doesn’t disappoint, with weight savings of up to 40 kgs on certain models despite added kit and size. Active aerodynamics also feature on diesel manual models, closing the front grille at speeds over 30 kph unless the engine needs cooling. A flat floor design also contributes to the 0.32 drag co-efficient, improving over the first generation model, and bringing reduced C02 emissions and more mpg. (more…)

The Nissan ZEOD RC – Is it all new?

As a break from discussing Formula 1 tyres, instead EngageSportMode examines Nissan’s new electric Le Mans challenger, and the craziest car you’ve never heard of.

Is the Nissan ZEOD RC really from the 1970s?

A couple of weeks ago, Nissan unveiled its new electric racing car – the ZEOD RC. Following on from 2012’s DeltaWing program which showed so much promise at Le Mans, until being cruelly punted off track, the ZEOD RC uses a development of the DeltaWing’s unique body shape. As you can see it the photo below, with an exceptionally narrow track at the front,  tapering to a wide rear, the ZEOD RC will look like little else on the race track.

Nissan ZEOD RC (courtesy of

Nissan ZEOD RC (courtesy of

But just how unique is the ZEOD RC’s design? Flicking through an old Autosport magazine, EngageSportMode came across an advert buried away in the classifieds section. The advert in question? This:

June2013-ESM 001


Friday Photo From the Archives #3

Continuing the Japanese theme for this week, here is another photo fresh from the archives. If by fresh you mean taken about two days ago:

This Nissan 350Z belongs to ESM’s Mate Dave who, whilst finding himself bored with a week off work, traded in his diesel Seat Leon FR for the tree-fiddy-zed.

Going from a frugal derv-powered hatchback, to a coupe powered by a naturally aspirated V6, has hit Dave hardest in his wallet. 287bhp doesn’t come without a corresponding thirst for unleaded! Although it has to be said, the 3.5 litre motor is a great sounding way to shred your hard earned cash.

This was the first time I’d been in a Zed, but it’s safe to say it felt easily as quick as the claimed 0-60mph time of 5.8 seconds. I was also impressed by the ride; despite wearing the GT pack Rays alloy wheels, it didn’t particularly thump or judder over Newcastle’s shoddy roads.

The interior has aged well since the 350Z’s introduction in 2003. However, the period BOSE stereo proved amusing by making me question the last time I saw a car with a cassette player:


We did discover that it’s also the perfect place to store an iPhone 4, should you so wish.

Overall, the 350Z is more modern muscle car than out and out sports car. But this isn’t to the big Zed’s discredit; it’s a wholesome, honest coupe with sonorous engine under the bonnet. And a tape deck.