In the world of cars, special editions tend to be a mixed bag quality-wise. It has been known for some companies to, say, stick go-faster stripes down the sides of a vehicle, daub it in a gaudy colour and add something slick to the name, such as, maybe, a lower-case letter … and, hey presto, it’s a special edition.
Thankfully, those days are largely behind us. Now, when an apparently beefed-up charabanc is described in this way, it does tend to be a recognisably upgraded version of the original model.
And that, Nissan Patrol fans, is exactly what we have with the 2021 Nismo version. A properly souped-up car that is fierce looking and comes fitted with innumerable fancy elements that make for a significant improvement on an already fine vehicle.
Never has a Patrol looked so assertive. Nissan says the new Nismo is a race-inspired version of the standard vehicle. And, just looking at it from the outside, that box is certainly ticked. This impression is aided by the dark-chrome grille and commanding reshaped roof spoiler.
Remember what we said about gaudy colours? Nothing of the sort here. The Nismo comes in four exterior hues (white pearl, silver metallic, grey metallic and black solid), with a single choice of red and black on the inside.
In fact, you might say there is something of the night about the car, which is far from being a criticism. If Batman needed a new ride, he wouldn’t need to look any further, and he’s not a character who suffers from a lack of cool in the superhero stakes.
All suitably impressive so far, but things really get moving when it comes to the powertrain – the Nismo still has the standard Patrol’s 5.6-litre V8 engine, but it has been tuned up. The people who have done this are the “takumi”, a group of four people in Japan who work as Nissan’s master craftsmen, so it’s safe to say the company didn’t skimp on the labour they got in to do the job.
This power upgrade is obvious when you finally get out on the road, after spending some minutes having a good look at the outside. The Nismo feels very, very fast, and you will need to pay care and attention as you barrel around the streets, sand or wherever the 22-inch, two-tone alloy wheels are taking you. The car is certainly fun, whatever terrain you care to tackle, but that enjoyment goes up the rougher it gets.
The suspension has also been modified, so the ride comfort is further enhanced. Batman certainly wouldn’t need to worry about hitting his ears on the ceiling if he went over a speed bump.
The inside, of course, is pleasantness personified. Nissan says the seats, which are dual-tone Alcantara, are the most comfortable it has ever made, and you’d be hard pushed to argue with that. The effect is finished off with red carbon-fibre touches. A suite of driver-assist technology comes as standard, while there are screens aplenty around the cabin.
No one who has ever driven on Gulf roads will need telling about the reputation the Nissan Patrol has built up. It is the UAE’s most popular car, and that shows no signs of changing – for example, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain distributor Al Masaood Automobiles reports surges in overall sales of the vehicle over the past two years, indicating demand is certainly not on the wane.
So if you fancy a Patrol but want something a little more exclusive, Nissan’s worthy special edition should do the job. Admittedly, it may not be quite as exclusive as whatever mobile Batman may be driving, but it’s a cert he’d have a better chance of catching up with The Joker if he’d invested in a Nismo.
Engine: 5.6-litre V8
Power: 428 horsepower
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Top speed: 210kph