All performance cars are silly, but no new one is as silly as a nearly 6,000-pound SUV advertising its front downforce figures. This is the Nissan Patrol Nismo and I adore it.
The Patrol Nismo is a MENA-market vehicle only, meaning that this thing is sure to be bough exclusively by Gulf State oil barons and the people who orbit around them. This makes sense. Dubai is the home of the old Juke R that had GT-R guts and the UAE in general is home to the most aggressive desert racing on the planet. Old Patrols with turbos bigger than your head are famous for exploding up (and exploding on) the Moreeb Dune near the border of Saudi Arabia.
There are also plenty of pleasure drivers who want big, fast, comfortable Patrols and Land Cruisers for driving out into the desert for fun out there. I visited one of the shops that preps these cars, Mebar Auto, and even got a ride in one of its high-flying tuned Patrols.
What’s funny is that those Patrols all feature cut bumpers for ground clearance, tall suspension and bigger tires. That’s not what this Patrol Nismo offers. There isn’t even a turbo of any kind, let alone one as big as a watermelon.
The Patrol Nismo is like a street truck of the ’90s. Like a Chevy 454 SS or a Ford Lightning. All right, not that extreme. There’s no engine swap, just a tune like the last Patrol Nismo, as Nissan declares in its press release:
The 2021 Patrol NISMO’s design is driven by function – to provide drivers with motorsports inspired aerodynamics and styling, enhanced handling capabilities and unmatched agility. Each vehicle is tuned to flawlessness by Nissan’s legendary Takumi craftsmen team, a team of four master engine builders allowed to hand-build the Nissan GT-R engines at Nissan’s Yokohama engine plant. Their skill in tuning the Patrol’s V8 engine results in a concentrated 428hp and a torque of 560NM.
A key design upgrade to the 2021 Nissan Patrol NISMO is the addition of a side duct to the front bumper to achieve zero lift force – maintaining its breakthrough achievement within the SUV segment. The intensification in aerodynamic force is boosted by the cumulative wheel weight reduction of 4.5 kgs, and is reigned in with a new roof spoiler to ensure smooth air flow over the rear. The adoption of a large thermal capacity has resulted in an improved braking performance, while the body structure enforcement allows for better handling at high speeds.
The Nissan Patrol weighs around 5,900 pounds. What good is a 10-pound weight reduction in the wheels? Only a more finely-tuned driver than I could tell. Perhaps only a more finely-tuned automotive gourmand could tell the increased luxuriousness of this Patrol, as Nissan advertises:
The 2021 Nissan Patrol NISMO also features improvement in cabin quietness as a result of a reduction of the frame vibration, while AC upgrades for the second row help provide a more comfortable ride.
I love this vibe. Yes, I want a truck with new Bilstein shocks, but I also want it more comfortable. Yes, I do want alcantara and leather seats, but I also want carbon fiber trim on my three-ton luxobarge. The Patrol Nismo makes a comedy out of wanting no compromise, and prices it at AED 385,000 ($105,000) with VAT.