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 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept shows of the possible future of a V8 under the hood of a Jeep.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept model shows that the production model of a V8-powered Wrangler (and possibly Gladiator) is likely on the way - and that's straight from the people in the know at FCA.

Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts have been asking us for a Wrangler -8 and our new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept proves that we have the ability to make that happen," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. "From the recently introduced 29-mpg Wrangler EcoDiesel to our award-winning Jeep Gladiator, and the upcoming Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, Jeep is clearly listening to its customers. We are anxious to gauge their reaction to this new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, a vehicle that delivers an incredible and unmatched level of fun-to-drive performance and capability, on- and off-road."

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept The model is pretty standard for a modern Wrangler Rubicon - on the outside.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It's been a hot minute since there was a V8 under the hood of a Jeep. The last model to wear its power proudly was the 1981 Jeep CJ, which had a 5.0-liter V8 that delivered 125 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is powered by a 6.4-liter (392-cubic-inch) HEMI V8 that delivers 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. That power gives the concept a zero to 60 mph time of less than five seconds.

Its engine is paired with a more robust version of the traditional eight-speed automatic, something that the HEMI in the Charger Scat Pack gets as well.

The parts roster includes Rubicon rock rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch, and a steel belly pan. It also comes with Dana 44 axles, Selec-Track full-time two-speed transfer case (3.73 gear ratio), and Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle locking differentials. The SUV rides on custom 17-inch deadlock wheels that are wrapped in 37-inch mud-terrain tires.

The suspension of the typical Wrangler JL has been upgraded to include new aluminum, monotube Fox shocks, and two-mode exhaust, which is adjustable at the touch of a button.

The company has installed a factory Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit from Mopar.

All that equipment gives the model some impressive numbers. It has a water fording capability of 34 inches, 13.25 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 51.6 degrees, a breaker angle of 29.5 degrees, and a departure angle of 40.1 degrees. It's Trail Rated.

Jeep has given the concept a Granite Crystal paint job, bronze-colored tow hooks, badging, springs, shocks, and wheels. There's a heavy-duty raised hood, custom half doors, and Wrangler's Sky One-touch powertop.

The concepts interior features a Red Rock-colored leather bolstered seats with gold stitching, along with a performance steering wheel.

When will you see the production version of the V8? These things take time, but remember, the auto show circuit looks to pick up in earnest early next year, and we have the Wrangler 4xe to see first.

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The Rivian R1T is undergoing final testing in Arizona.

Photo courtesy of Rivian

Four new performance testing videos featuring the Rivian R1T all-electric pickup truck have dropped on YouTube. Three of the videos show a specific area of performance while the last wraps it all up showcasing a trail ride. Whether you're an electric vehicle enthusiast, truck fan, or someone who enjoys the road less traveled (or a combination thereof), there's something for everyone.

The first video hones in on the launch performance of the truck. The R1T, like other electric vehicles, has power at all four wheels, giving it instant torque when the driver presses on the accelerator. The wildly wrapped R1T rapidly gains speed as it heads down a dirt path. Watch the video below.

The second video features the R1T drifting around a series of corners at a controlled facility in the Arizona desert. With the dust kicked up, the effect is dramatic. Late last year, Rivian showcased its model's ability to complete a tank turn. The company has already trademarked the phrases "Tank Steer" and "Tank Turn". You can see the drifting video below.

The third video Rivian posted features an off-roading adventure with the R1T speeding down a desert trail. The drive is a test for the dynamics of the vehicle which will have to compete with the suspension and handling capabilities of traditional trucks like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra, and GMC Sierra when it comes to market. Watch the video below.

Rivian says, "Last weekend, we grabbed our cameras and chased a few engineers around the desert as they put the R1T through its paces." The video shows off trail riding, rock climbing, and some on-track driving. Let's be honest, this one is the most exciting - especially the rick climbing bit. You can watch the full video below.

Rivian is looking to start deliveries of the vehicle in 2021. Production was delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

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