- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2001

The SE-R, Nissan's legendary value-packaged sports sedan, was originally produced from 1991 to 1994. The small family-oriented hot rod will return to the Sentra stable as a sedan bringing SE-R performance levels to a new high.
The SE-R will be a 2002 model, but will go on sale this fall in two available versions: the SE-R the more docile of the two; and the SE-R Spec V, which is geared at whetting the appetite of the true performance-minded driving enthusiast.
Power for the SE-R will come from a 2.5-liter dual-overhead-camshaft, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine in two levels of tune the tamer version will generate 170 horsepower and 175 pounds-feet of torque, while the souped up version will pump out 180 horses and 180 pounds-feet of torque. The former will mate to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, while the SE-R Spec V transfers power through a six-speed manual gearbox. Both are front-wheel drive, but only the Spec V features a helical limited-slip differential.
Suspension componentry consists of: independent struts with coil springs, stabilizer bar and strut tower brace up front (sport tuning is done to different levels on SE-R and SE-R Spec V); and multilink beam aft with rear stabilizer bar. Stopping power comes from power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with optional anti-lock. The SE-R rides on 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels and tires, while the SE-R Spec V wears 17-inch five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels shod with performance rubber. Both cars feature dual front supplemental air bags with available supplemental front-seat side-impact air bags.
The outward appearance of the SE-R is bold and aggressive sporting a special front integrated fascia with a mesh grille flanked by large fog lights, side sill extensions, a rear spoiler and large chrome exhaust tips. Inside, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob hint at the car's added prowess through the "twisties." The SE-R Spec V features special interior accents and Skyline-style sport seats. Gauges are titanium-faced with orange meter illumination and all-metallic meter finish.
The first Sentra SE-R was an exercise in understatement, while this newest execution shouts performance at the first glance. The exterior design for the latest SE-R, which will be assembled by Nissan Mexicana in Aguascalientes, Mexico, was penned at Nissan Design America in La Jolla, Calif., and Nissan Technical Center North America in Farmington Hills, Mich. Interior styling was a cooperative effort by Nissan Design Europe, NDA and NTCNA-FH. The overall mission of the new SE-R was to project the feeling of a mini-Nissan Skyline (a Japanese-market sports sedan).
The extra power from the 2.5-liter motor (code named QR25) for the SE-R Spec V model is gained through the use of a specially tuned exhaust system. The new engine's technology comes from the award-winning VQ six-cylinder engines that lurk beneath the hoods of the Maxima and Pathfinder. The engine design is modular with micro-finished crankshaft journals and cam lobes, molybdenum-coated lightweight pistons, electronically controlled throttle and continuously variable valve timing.
If enhanced performance pleasures are not enough, audiophiles will relish the available 280-watt nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system with in-dash six-CD changer the first of its kind designed by Rockford Fosgate as an original equipment automotive application. The system will also be offered as an option for Xterra and the Frontier Crew Cab.
"The standard SE-R is an import tuner's dream," said Bill Kirrane, vice president and general manager, Nissan North America. "We've given them the best possible combination of parts and performance, ready for their enhancements." The Sentra SE-R Spec V, already tuned as a more extreme offering, is nearly track-ready off the dealer's showroom floor. Both models will provide spirited performance and are value-laden, which should come as no surprise to Nissan aficionados.

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