The Forgotten Hot Hatch

Well in this case, this particular car isn’t a hot hatch so to speak, but a mega/super hatch, because the performance this car produces is quite simply in a different league from the hot hatches of its era.

The car in question is the Nissan Pulsar GTi-R. Making its debut in 1990 and produced from 1990-1994. The Pulsar GTi-R was intended by Nissan to homologate the car for participation in FIA Group A rally. So, it came with all the attributes of a competition-inspired all terrain eater; A short wheelbase (good for those tight and twisty slippery roads), standard all wheel drive system and a turbocharged four pot engine.

The SR20DET motor found in this pocket rocket was good for 227hp(169kw) and 210lbs-ft(285nm) of torque. A five speed manual gearbox was fitted to each Pulsar GTi-R, as well as front, center and rear locking differentials (you can clearly tell it’s a baby GTR).

Thanks to its brilliant ATTESA AWD and a curb weight of 2 400lbs(1090kg), the Nissan Pulsar was able to sprint to 60mph(97km/h), from a standing start in a mind blowing five seconds, truly impressive regarding that, that figure was similar to the German Porsche 911 and American Chevrolet Corvette of that era. It completely destroyed most of its competition on the market at the time, of which most had less than 200hp (e.g. Volkswagen MK3 Golf GTi/VR6, Peugeot GTIs etc).

Unfortunately for Nissan, the Pulsar wasn’t really competitive in the Group A class, even though they had legendary drivers Tommi Makkinen and Stig Blomqvist at the helm. In fact, Nissan only received the highest position of 3rd position(once) at the hands of Blomqvist in its whole period of competition. So the factory team abandoned its efforts after only two years, leaving Group A at the end of the 1992 season.

Fortunately, production versions of the Pulsar GTi-R faired much better in the Group N class and took both the N championship in 1991 and runner-up in 1992.

It’s fair that the Nissan Pulsar GTi-R was one of the great cars to come out of the 90s. It certainly deserves much more attention than it gets, because it is quite literally, the baby GTR. Its Group A efforts certainly don’t represent the car well, but it truly is a very great car.


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