Remember when Nissan made compact cars that were actually quick and fun to drive? Cars like the Pulsar, Sentra SE-R, and 200SX? They've gotten away from stuff like that in recent years, but this debut at the Paris Motor Show makes me think they're ready to get back in the game. Meet the Nissan Pulsar, Nismo-fied.

At the moment, Nissan says it's just an "innovative design study," but it looks awfully good to go from this end. And it proves that the red Nismo body treatment can make anything look better. (Not that the Pulsar was a bad-looking hatchback to begin with.)

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Nissan does say the Pulsar Nismo has the 1.6-liter turbo four from the normal Pulsar boosted to about 250 horsepower, which is enough to surpass several hot hatches in its class, including the Volkswagen GTI.

Other tweaks include a performance suspension with a lowered ride height, better tires, flared wheel arches, a carbon-fiber spoiler and a limited-slip differential. You know, all the usual go-fast things.

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It looks good, and Nissan is targeting a front-wheel drive NĂĽrburgring lap time record with the car. Can they pull it off, or will Honda steal their thunder?

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