Nissan may claim its Sentra SR is aimed at drivers looking to get some sportiness out of their daily driver, but as we found out earlier this year when we drove it, the model is all show and no go. The Japanese automaker hopes to change that with the 2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo that has, you guessed it, a new turbocharged engine.
The Sentra SR Turbo shares the majority of the same components with the regular SR variant, but features a new 1.6-liter direct injection gasoline turbocharged inline-four motor. The engine raises power to 188 horses and 177 pound-feet of torque (up from 130 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque from models with the regular 1.8-liter inline-four and Xtronic gearbox). The engine can be matched to a six-speed manual transmission, which was previously only offered on the base S model, or the Xtronic unit.
The six-speed manual transmission, which should be the clear choice among enthusiasts, has been tuned to maximize the motor's powerband and torque curve. The Xtronic transmission is a bespoke unit for the Sentra SR Turbo that has also been tuned to bring out the best in the new engine with a wider gear ratio, smaller pulleys, and a sub-planetary gear.
In addition to the new engine and revised transmissions, the Sentra SR Turbo benefits from upgraded suspension including unique front and rear dampers, as well as enhancements to the independent strut front/rear torsion beam suspension. Nissan has also altered the compact car's electric power steering system to reduce the amount of steering effort at low speeds, while providing more feedback on "winding roads." Do Sentra owners take their cars on winding roads? We're not sure.
To ensure that drivers don't get too carried away with the Sentra SR Turbo's power, Nissan packed the sedan with larger brakes and calipers at the front and back. Understeer has also been tamed, with Nissan optimizing the car's active understeer control system.
The interior of the Sentra SR Turbo goes unchanged over the regular SR model. The refreshed Sentra debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show with an exterior design that echoes the latest Altima and Maxim's V-shaped front end. The change to a turbocharged engine is most likely in response to Honda's move to put the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine into the Civic.