Nissan considers cut-price Pulsar SSS

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The reborn Nissan Pulsar SSS hot-hatch to be unveiled at the Sydney motor show this Thursday could be pitched under $30,000 when it goes on sale in mid-2013.

While no Nissan execs were willing to confirm that sort of razor-sharp pricing on the record at its pre-reveal today, it is known that the SSS’s pricing is under heavy debate within the company.

If it does arrive at, say, $29,990, it would undercut even Hyundai’s Veloster SR Turbo, which is priced from $31,990.

A sharp price for the SSS would make sense considering the base model ST sedan version will be launched next February with a $19,990 starting model.

Already on sale in China as the Tiida GTS, the SSS will go on sale in Australia almost exactly 13 years after the nameplate was discontinued along with the N15 Pulsar in 2000.

It will be powered by a 140kW/240Nm 1.6-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol MR166DT engine. Transmission choices will be a six-speed manual or Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), with six pre-programmed ‘gears’ selected via the gearshift.

For China, claimed 0-100km/h acceleration performance is 8.2 seconds, fuel consumption is 7.8L/100km and top speed is 220km/h. The CVT model has a 0-100km/h time of 8.3 seconds, uses the same 7.8L/100km and is limited to a top speed of 205km/h.

A compelling price and warm performance won’t be the only selling points for the SSS, which will also get local chassis tuning.

Nissan Australia product expert Phil Galway confirmed the Pulsar would have a unique suspension and steering tune, and the SSS its own derivation of that. He said the work would be carried out by Nissan Japan, although it would include local testing.

“We will get unique suspension tuning in Australia that will be different to China,” he explained. “Ride and handling and on-centre steering feel are targets. The SSS will have different tuning to the rest of the Pulsar range.”

The SSS rides on Nissa's B0 platform, with front suspension by MacPherson struts, the rear by torsion beam and steering via electrically assisted rack-and-pinion.

The SSS is not the warmed-up hatch that Nissan global product boss Andy Palmer foreshadowed last month in an interview with motoring.com.au.

That vehicle is yet to break cover and will be fettled by Nismo, Nissan’s motorsport division, setting up the prospect of a true VW Golf GTI rival from Nissan.

The five-door Pulsar SSS is being presented at the show as it will be sold, with a mild bodykit, Bridgestone Potenza RE040 205/50 R17 rubber, 17-inch five double-spoke alloy wheels and leather-clad sports seats.

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