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2002 Sentra SE-R Overview

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Nissan Press Release January 8, 2001 at 12:10 PM EST (View the PDF)
Converted to HTML by Mike Mager

The 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R Sports Sedan – The Legend Returns

Nissan has a rich history in the value-driven sports sedan segment, first created by the Datsun 510 in the late 1960s and rekindled with the legendary 1991 Sentra SE-R. The 2002 Sentra SE-R fulfills that role and ensures that Nissan’s leadership in this segment will continue. Debuting at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, this new model will be available for sale in fall 2001 in SE-R and ultimate-performance SE-R Spec V models.

The original SE-R, produced from 1991 to 1994, was based on the third generation Sentra 2-door sedan. Even though it looked similar to a standard Sentra, a 140-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine gave it lots of punch. The SE-R was a Car and Driver "10 Best" winner four times and an Automobile "All-Star" twice, not to mention a favorite of autocrossers and grassroots racers. Even though the Sentra SE-R was no longer in the Sentra lineup for 1995, it has kept a large enthusiast base with numerous nationwide clubs, magazine project vehicles and motorsports activities. Amongst all of these groups there was one unified cry – bring back the Sentra SE-R.

"We are happy to present the 2002 Sentra SE-R to driving enthusiasts everywhere," said Bill Kirrane, vice president and general manager, Nissan North America. "This car surpasses the original in every aspect and is worthy of the SE-R moniker."

SE-R Style

"The first Sentra SE-R was quite understated," said Kirrane. "This one announces its performance intentions at first glance."

The SE-R was designed to give a feeling of a mini-Nissan Skyline sports sedan. Building upon the style set forward on the fifth generation Sentra 4-door sedan, an aggressive front fascia with a mesh-pattern grille and large fog lamps have been added. The side view is filled with body-color side sill extensions and large wheels and tires – 16-inch on SE-R and 17-inch on SE-R Spec V models. The final touch is provided by a rear spoiler and large chrome exhaust tips.

Contributing to the design of the SE-R was Nissan Design America (NDA) in La Jolla, California and Nissan Technical Center-North America in Farmington Hills, Michigan (NTCNA-FH).

SE-R Power

An all-new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, named QR25, powers the SE-R. This engine produces 180 horsepower and 180 ft-lbs of torque in the SE-R Spec V model and 170 horsepower and 175 ft-lbs of torque in the SE-R, up 40/30 horsepower and 48/43 ft-lbs of torque from the previous generation SE-R. SE-R Spec V gains 10 horsepower over the standard SE-R with the use of a specially tuned exhaust system.

Technology for this all-new engine comes from the award-winning VQ 6-cylinder engines found in the Maxima sedan and Pathfinder sport utility vehicle. This includes a modular engine design, micro-finished crank journals and cam lobes, molybdenum coated lightweight pistons, electronically controlled throttle and continuously variable valve timing.

To combat vibrations inherent in large 4-cylinder engines, the QR25 features a silent chain drive and compact balancer system that effectively negates vibrations without taking up too much space – a problem with previous balancer designs.

Backing the QR25 is a 6-speed manual transmission (SE-R Spec V), 5-speed manual transmission (SE-R), or a 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission (SE-R).

A helical limited-slip differential is standard on the 6-speed equipped SE-R Spec V. This mechanical differential is torque sensitive and provides instantaneous locking for increased traction and performance.

Estimated 0 to 60 mph times are in the low 7.0-second range (SE-R Spec V).

SE-R Handling and Braking

Sentra SE-R’s suspension has been tuned to provide a maximum amount of performance and ride comfort. There are two suspensions available corresponding with model choices – the standard SE-R and the ultimate, track-tuned SE-R Spec V. All SE-Rs feature front independent MacPherson struts and Nissan’s patented rear Multi-Link Beam, with 2mm larger front and rear stabilizer bars.

SE-R features performance-tuned front and rear shock absorbers and a front strut tower brace for additional stiffness and suspension feel. Completing the suspension upgrades are 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/55R16 tires.

SE-R Spec V builds upon the SE-R’s handling capabilities. Front spring rates have been increased 15 percent and rear spring rate has been increased 16 percent and there is improved shock absorber tuning. High-performance 215/45ZR17 tires on special 17-inch wheels complete the suspension package and give Sentra a tough, sport-compact look.

Braking is provided by large 4-wheel disc brakes – the fronts measure a full 11 inches, larger than many so-called sporting machines. A 4-wheel, 4-channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is also available.

SE-R Comfort and Rockford Fosgate Sound

Sentra SE-R’s interior is differentiated from the standard well-equipped Sentra with numerous performance and convenience enhancements designed by Nissan Design Europe (NDE), NDA and NTCNA-FH. An overhead storage console with map lamps, special seat cloth, titanium-faced gauges and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob give SE-R’s interior a sporty, functional look.

Once again, the SE-R Spec V model takes the Sentra to new extremes. An all-metallic meter finish with orange illumination and a special leather-wrapped steering wheel add to the performance look of the special charcoal-colored interior with black and red accents. Skyline-style sport bucket seats ensure that the SE-R Spec V driver’s backside stays planted on twisty mountain roads.

Available on SE-R Spec V and SE-R is a 280-watt 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system with in-dash 6-CD changer. This system, custom designed for the SE-R by the acclaimed aftermarket audio company, includes an 8-inch subwoofer that fires to the rear of the vehicle, rear coaxial speakers and one ohm front door speakers. This is the first system of its kind designed by Rockford Fosgate for an OEM application. Rockford Fosgate will also provide systems to Nissan for the Xterra and Frontier Crew Cab. "We’re sure that SE-R fans will appreciate the sounds from this extraordinary audio system," said Kirrane. "It’s so good that upgrading will not be a thought to the SE-R buyer."

SE-R Safety

The 2002 Sentra SE-R’s standard safety equipment includes dual supplemental front air bags, an energy-absorbing steering column, child safety rear door locks, 3-point seat belts in all seating positions, front seat belts with height-adjustable shoulder anchors, front seat belt pretensioners with load limiters, front and rear crumple zones and pipe-style steel side-door guard beams. Optional are front-seat supplemental side-impact air bags.

SE-R also features an emergency inside trunk release, a rigid bar child seat anchorage system and optional vehicle security system with Immobilizer.

SE-R Options

Sentra SE-R arrives remarkably well equipped. Available on SE-R is an automatic transmission, sunroof package with dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors, front-seat side-impact supplemental air bags and ABS package, vehicle security system and Rockford Fosgate audio system.

"The standard SE-R is an import tuner’s dream," said Kirrane. "We’ve given them the best possible combination of parts and performance, ready for their enhancements."

Sentra SE-R Spec V models are equipped to an even higher level, with the 6-speed manual transmission and helical limited-slip differential standard. Optional is the Rockford Fosgate audio system, sunroof, front-seat side-impact supplemental air bags, ABS and vehicle security system. No automatic transmission is available on Spec V.

"The Sentra SE-R Spec V is the extreme model – almost track-ready right from the dealership floor," says Kirrane. "Both SE-Rs indicate the future direction of Nissan’s sedans. It’s a spirited one, to say the least."