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Nissan Sentra DET Concept Teases the SE-R We Can’t Have

We dare Nissan to put it into production.
2023 Nissan Sentra DET Concept

Sometimes, out of the blue, it can feel like someone’s heard your prayers. Given the choice, I might’ve asked for a higher power than Nissan to respond to mine, and a bigger dream fulfilled than a modern Sentra SE-R Spec V. But I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, because Nissan’s SEMA-bound Sentra DET Concept is the closest we’re likely to see to a new Spec V. Or is it?

The Sentra DET to me is the most exciting of the three concepts the automaker brought to this year’s show, alongside its lifted Rugged Rogue and Forsberg Racing-bred Frontier. The DET name is a nod to Nissan’s many famous turbo engines, where the letters stand for DOHC-EFI-turbo. Y’know, like the SR20DET, the RB26DETT, and the VR38DETT, et cetera. It should tell you exactly what’s going on under the hood here.

Nissan Sentra DET Concept
Nissan Sentra DET Concept for SEMA Show 2023. Nissan

In the U.S., the only powertrain available for the Sentra is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a CVT. In the DET, the transmission has been swapped for the six-speed manual out of the Canadian market car, and fitted with a Quaife LSD. It needs that because of—yes, I’m getting to it—the big ol’ Garrett turbo hung off the side of that four-banger.

Nissan strapped on a G25-660 turbo and all the necessary supporting mods, from better fueling to a radiator, hood vents, intercooler, standalone ECU, and a reinforced bottom end to tie it together. It uses Eagle rods and Manley pistons (both presumably forged) which were micro shot peened for added durability and power. Just how much, Nissan doesn’t say, but the sum is clearly enough to require more performance parts to make use of it.

The Sentra DET uses prototype Nismo coilovers, sway bars, and a catback exhaust, some of which were tuned with the help of GT4 racer (and GT Academy grad) Bryan Heitkotter. It gets bigger brakes from the Z with lightweight rotors, and 18-inch Nismo LM wheels wearing enlarged 245-section tires. Topping it all off are Nismo carbon mirror caps, and Recaro front bucket seats.

This build clearly elevates the torque vectoring-equipped Sentra above the likes of the Honda Civic Si, to maybe about the Hyundai Elantra N‘s level. It’s quite the transformation for what’s just supposed to be a show car. Sure, SEMA builds always go over the top, but Nissan has just shown us it still knows the recipe for that secret SE-R Spec V sauce (Michael here). All I ask now is that Nissan cooks enough to share with the class.

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