SEMA 2019

Nissan goes all-in on power and performance with 4 tricked out SEMA vehicles

The Nissan Frontier Desert Runner is one of four custom vehicles the automaker is showing off at SEMA.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

With the prevalence of the Altima, Sentra, Versa, and Murano in the marketplace, it might take a second thought to see the Nissan community as a powerful presence in the aftermarket modifications world. Nissan's SEMA builds were created to put performance front and center in a way that involves none of the automaker's usual fuel economy talking points.

Here are the Nissan builds that can be found at the annual convention.

Nissan Global Time Attack TT 370Z

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Z1 Motorsports of Carrollton, Georgia built this 750-horsepower 370Z in conjunction with the Nissan Motorsports team.

Every aspect of the vehicle is designed to be functional and durable, as well as low weight. The team stripped and acid-dripped the 370Z unibody to start then added a full roll cage. The exterior got a custom carbon fiber aerodynamic package that includes a 3D front splitter, rear diffuser, and sideboards.

Its stock 3.7-liter V6 engine was prepped for competition adding Garrett GTX 3076 turbochargers, a new fuel management and electronics system, and a Z1 Motorsports race exhaust system. The engine is paired with a six-speed sequential transmission with a Tilton custom clutch and NISMO GT-R Pro 1.5 way differential to help direct power to the wheels.

The car's suspension and steering where completely custom-built for the competition using NISMO components. Then a custom Brembo brake system, NISMO radiatior, and oil, transmission, and differential cooling systems were added.

It rides on RAYS Volk ZE40 Diamond Dark Gunmetal 18 x 11-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and Yokohama Advan A052 315/30R18 high performance tires.

The driver sits on a OMP HRC-R Carbon Air FIA race seat.

This car will compete in the 2020 Time Attack racing season after its time on the SEMA show floor.

Nissan Frontier Desert Runner

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

This Frontier Desert Runner took a turn at the edge of the dunes and never looked back. This model was crafted by the team at MA Motorsports in Glen Arm, Maryland working in conjunction with the Nissan Motorsports team. It is a Frontier in name only, with a body, powertrain, and equipment designed specifically for off road racing.

The truck's original 4.0-liter V6 engine has been replaced with a 5.6-liter V8 from a Nissan Titan. It isn't your standard Titan engine, however. This one has gotten a race-spec rebuild that added a Garrett GTX3584RS turbocharger, custom intercooler, Jim Wolf Technology camshafts, pistons and valves, and MA Motorsports custom turbo header and exhaust system. It now achieves over 600 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission with Jim Wolf Technology clutch and lightweight flywheel.

Its suspension now includes a BTF Fabrication long travel front suspension kit, King Racing Triple Bypass front shocks and coil-overs, rear King Racing Triple Bypass shocks and Giant Motorsports Link Killer rear leaf springs.

The truck runs on Fifteen52 TurboMac HD wheels and 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A tires. Its shock hoops, engine cage and bed cage were fabricated by MA Motorsports.

On its body, the truck wears Fiberworx Pre Running fenders and fabricated new front and rear bumpers along with a custom spare tire carrier. There is off road lighting by Ridgid Industries and a Speed Designs body wrap.

The model's no-frills cockpit includes a MA Motorsports custom harness bar and Sparco harnesses. There are also Sparco racing seats and a steering wheel with quick release steering wheel adapter.

Nissan Kicks Street Sport

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan has kicked the Kicks up a notch with this build, giving the model life with Kicks Color Studio touches and custom features by 360 Composites including an oversize front air dam, rear roof spoiler and side skirts.

MA Motorsports had their hands on this model too, adding fabricated wide fender flares that cover Volk Racing TE37V 17x8.5 +30 offset wheels mounted with Falken Azenis RT615K +245/45R17 tires.

A custom Kicks suspension was constructed using a combination of NISMO/Ohlins coil-over shock absorbers.

The powertrain in the Kicks found on dealer lots isn't known for its peppiness so MA Motorsports worked to give the Kicks some zest adding a custom turbocharger kit to the 1.6-liter four-cylinder power plant. It has a custom fabricated NISMO exhaust.

The Kicks' interior now has Sparco SPX carbon bucket seats and custom upholstery.

Speed Design added exterior graphics to the model.

2020 Nissan TITAN with Genuine Nissan Accessories

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Performance isn't always about power. The 2020 Nissan Titan is being shown off at SEMA following its debut at the State Fair of Texas in September. The version on the show floor is much different than the version at the premier, though with a wide range of Genuine Nissan Accessories, including:

  • All Season Floor Mats
  • Rear Bumper Step Assist
  • Sliding Bed Extender
  • Tie-Down Cleats
  • Assist handle (tailgate access)
  • Mud flaps – front and rear (PRO-4X)
  • Front and rear mud flaps (PRO-4X)
  • Sport bar with off-road lights and light covers
  • Illuminated kick plates
  • Door scuff protector
  • Rugged Step Boards
  • Marker lights for fenders and grille
  • 4-inch drop hitch ball mount, Class III
  • Hitch Ball Class III (2-inch coupler)

All the parts were custom fit to the vehicle and are available to be ordered when the truck arrives on dealer lots later this year.

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The Nissan Ariya has wind glide over it in the testing tunnel.

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

Nissan is targeting a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.297 for the Ariya all-electric crossover. If it can make that number, it will be the company's most aerodynamic crossover to date. What does that mean? Let's take a closer look.

What is drag?

Simply put, drag is an aerodynamic force. It's mechanical in nature, so it is the result of the interaction of a solid body and a liquid. In the case of a car, this liquid is air. (Yes, air is a liquid.) It only occurs when one part of the equation (the solid body or the liquid) is in motion. If there is no motion, there is no drag.

Drag only occurs in the opposite direction of the object's movement. Think of a car cutting through the air as it drives down a north-south road. As the car heads north, the air it passes through is pushed south. The car is in motion; there is drag.

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

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What is coefficient of drag?

The coefficient of drag, also called a drag coefficient, is a number that aerodynamics professions (aerodynamicists) use to determine the shape, inclination, and flow conditions on a vehicle's drag. The shape of an object (bullet vs. square vs prism, etc.) has a large impact on the amount of drag created by airflow surrounding a vehicle. Objects with narrower front ends tend to have a lower coefficient.

Scientists and vehicle designers want to keep air moving around the car for maximum efficiency. The inclination of the airflow to either move in a smooth, connected pattern, or to be broken up with air sitting, stalling in one particular part of the vehicle, lessening airflow and making the vehicle less aerodynamic.

A vehicle's Cd is determined by plugging various measurements into an equation. Cd is equal to drag (D) divided by the quantity of density (r) multiplied by half the velocity (V) squared multiple by the reference area (A). As an equation, it looks like this: Cd = D / (A * .5 * r * V^2).

The smaller the Cd, the more aerodynamic a vehicle is.

2022 Nissan Ariya

The Nissan Ariya employs aerodynamic wheel design, made to help it cut though the air with greater ease.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

What is the coefficient of drag of the Nissan Ariya?

"With the growing shift towards electric mobility, aerodynamic testing is becoming increasingly important. The aerodynamics of electric vehicles are directly linked to how efficiently the vehicle moves – less drag and better stability allows the customer to drive longer distances before having to recharge," said Sarwar Ahmed, Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Engineer at Nissan Technical Centre Europe.

Nissan is targeting a 0.297 coefficient of drag for the Ariya. How will it achieve that number? By utilizing precisely shaped body lines and strategically placed air ducts, among other components. There's a bonus to better aerodynamics when it comes to EVs.

"Following official homologation of the Nissan Ariya later this year, we anticipate the range to improve compared to the 310 mile figure shared in 2020 during the World Premiere. This will give drivers more efficiency and confidence to go even further on a single charge," said Marco Fioravanti, VP Product Planning, Nissan Europe.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to other Nissans?

The newest Nissans, the Kicks, Pathfinder, and Frontier, don't have their Cd publicly available yet, but other models have their results. The targeted 0.297 Cd in the Ariya is less than that in the 2021 Armada, Murano, and Rogue. But, it's higher than the Nissan Leaf.

The fact that it's higher than the Leaf is not surprising. Shorter cars tend to be more aerodynamic because they sit lower to the ground and have a smaller profile. That also explains why Nissan's largest and boxiest SUV, the Armada, has the highest number on the list.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to numbers from other EVs?

The Nissan Ariya's coefficient of drag is higher than that of most other electric cars, crossovers, and SUVs sold in the U.S. Here's where the others measure up:

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This '68 Mercury Cougar is a sweet-sounding take on a classic coupe.

Photo courtesy of Ringbrothers

Meet the latest restomod to come from the Ringbrothers garage: a 1968 Mercury Cougar. The frame-off restoration included a host of show-quality change-outs and a beefy new powertrain. It was the first Cougar that the company has tackled.

The restoration included new floor pans and transmission tunnel. There's a new performance suspension by DSE, brakes, and HRE Series C1 C103 Forged 3-Piece wheels. The car is shoed with Michelin tires.

The bodywork of the car has been finished using 3M products and BASF paint. There's a new bumper, grille, hardware, and badging giving the car it's shine.

1968 Mercury Cougar by Ringbrothers

Photo courtesy of Ringbrothers

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Under the hood of the car is a 460-horsepower Ford Coyote 5.0-liter V8 engine. The powertrain is completely by a 10-speed automatic transmission that originated in the Ford F-150. Paddle shifters give the driver more control over the drive.

Ringbrothers has added Lotus synthetic engine to keep everything working smoothly. A custom Flowmaster exhaust leaves a growl that lets neighbors know that you're on your way to work.

"We put our heart into each car we build, and this Cougar is no exception," said Ringbrothers co-owner Jim Ring. "The finished product is mild and classy, yet any enthusiast instantly knows it's not stock. I imagine this is what Mercury designers would have come up with if they were building the Cougar today."

"While we couldn't bring the car to the SEMA Show, we hope it can be shown to the public soon," continued Mike Ring, co-owner of Ringbrothers. "We had never done a Cougar before, so this was a fun build. I love working with new shapes and coming up with new ideas."

Like this Cougar? Ringbrothers offer several billet aluminum parts for fans to build a custom Cougar of their own on their website.

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