The Nissan Sentra faces a long-time curse: being deemed as too bland, both in terms of style and performance. But Nissan has introduced today a version of the car that could put these critics to rest in what relates to driving it: the SR Turbo. The 140 kW 1.6 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with direct injection (hence the name DIG, or Direct Injection Gasoline) is an excellent choice for this sedan. So much so that it should be standard.
The 140 kW appear at 5,600 rpm and the maximum torque, of 240 Nm, has a wide presence. It is there from 1,600 rpm up to 5,200 rpm. The transmission options are the same, even if they have been tuned specifically for the 1.6 DIG engine: a 6-speed manual gearbox or the XTronic CVT. That tuning is related to a special selection of gears, in the manual option, and the adoption of a wide gear ratio range of 7.3:1 through the use of a sub-planetary gear and smaller pulleys, when it comes to the CVT.
Nissan has also made changes to brakes and suspension. The front spring stiffness has had a 10% increase, with specific front (23% increase in damping) and rear (50% increase) shock absorbers. The front cowl thickness has also been increased and there is a new steering gear mounting, with a bigger steering motor and revised electronic mapping, for enhanced feedback.
The 279 mm ventilated front disc brakes have been replaced by larger 297 mm discs. Even the rear solid discs are larger than the older front ones: 292 mm. Nissan has also recalibrated the Active Understeer Control system.
All these improvements could be taken to the regular Sentra. Its 1.8 MRA8DE engine (97 kW and 174 Nm) makes its price be the biggest appeal of the car. Even in Brazil, traditionally a less demanding market than the USA, the Sentra has a stronger engine, the 2.0 MR20DE (103 kW and 196 Nm). The turbocharged engine in regular versions would turn it into a completely different option, especially if it managed to keep prices attractive. Nissan could ditch the LED low beam projectors, the infotainment system with SiriusXM sattelite radio and the 17-inch special wheels that the SR Turbo offers. We hope the new engine to have a production scale that could make this true. As well as a more daring strategy from Nissan.