Complete Nissan Leopard lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1986 Nissan Leopard (F31) - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1986 - 1992 Nissan Leopard CoupeLeopard (F31)3 Trims 115 to 255 Hp

The Nissan Leopard was a mid-size luxury executive car produced from 1980 to 1999.

Nissan Leopard Design and Introduction

Initially available as a 2-door hardtop coupe or 4-door sedan, the first generation Nissan Leopard was introduced in 1980. The coupe was sold at Nissan Motor Store locations while the sedan could be purchased at Nissan Bluebird Store. Both body styles of the Leopard featured sharp lines in the body work, with many angles used throughout the exterior. A defining characteristic was the sweeping rear windows, as well as incredibly thin C pillars. In Japan, the Leopard’s side mirrors were affixed to the front fenders and had wipers to clear debris. Marketed as a personal luxury car, the Leopard replaced the outgoing Nissan Cedric and Gloria coupe and the Nissan Laurel. It was in the upper class of Nissan cars, but not the flagship model. Most units were well-equipped without overindulging into the luxury segment. It shared many components as the Datsun Bluebird, also known as the Datsun 810.

Engine and Second Generation Updates

The initial engine choices included a 1.8L inline-4, 2.0L and 2.8L inline-6 options. While the first lineup featured all naturally-aspirated engines, 1981 saw the introduction of a turbocharged 2.0L inline-6, then in 1984 a limited Turbo Grand Edition was released with a 3.0L turbocharged V6, producing 145 PS. In 1986, the second generation Nissan Leopard (F31) was released, this time dropping the 4-door sedan and only available as a 2-door hardtop coupe. It remained in the luxury classification, and shared a platform with the Skyline R31 and Laurel C32. The engine choices dropped the inline options in favor of V6 design across the board. It came in 2.0L and 3.0L sizes, in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged options for each. The initial 2.0L options had a single overhead cam, but were updated to a dual overhead cam design in 1988. While most would prefer the larger 3.0L engine choice, the 2.0L remained an option to meet Japanese regulations. Vehicles at or under the 2.0L mark could pay significantly lower road taxes, while the larger 3.0L paid the taxes in exchange for large engine displacement and could have larger overall dimensions.

Available Features and Options

A Super Sonic Suspension system was featured on the Nissan leopard, creating adjustable suspension through actuators mounted on the strut towers. The driver could manually control between Auto, Soft, Medium, and Hard suspension settings. On the models with Auto capability, a sonar module under the front bumper monitored the road and would adjust the suspension automatically. All models used a digital instrument cluster, bringing a futuristic touch to the Leopard’s interior. You could also add a cell phone to a dedicated compartment in the dashboard if desired. A single-disc CD player was standard, with a multi-disk available as an option. Trim levels included the base model XJ, the XS, and the Ultima Grand Selection. Most models came with steering wheel controls for the stereo and cruise control, another feature ahead of its time. One versions with the Sony video entertainment system equipped, RCA connections were available to use as an input to watch videos.

Third and Fourth Generation Nissan Leopard

Unlike many Japanese cars that receive an overhaul every four years or so, this F31 Leopard production run went for seven years before sales started to decline, ushering in the third generation. The 1992 Nissan Leopard J Ferie (Y32) was wholly redesigned from the past generations. The angular lines changed to sweeping rounded shape, following the path of the Bluebird and Altima. The Leopard was now only available as a 4-door sedan executive car. The suspension featured MacPherson struts in front and multi-link rear. As usual with the Leopard, Nissan added advanced technology, including the four-wheel steering technology HICAS which improved maneuverability at low speeds and added stability at high speeds. The engine choice bumped up to a 3.0L V6 with 210 horsepower and a 4.1L V8 with 270 horsepower, both naturally-aspired. For the first time ever, the Leopard did not offer a 2.0L option. The lack of interior space was reported to be a major issue with this generation, leading to the 1996 introduction of the final fourth generation Leopard (Y33) in 1996. It was again only offered as a hardtop sedan, and had a wide array of 2.0L, 2.5L, and 3.0L engine options in inline-6 and V6 designs with and without turbochargers. All-wheel drive was available on some models. As the Japanese economy suffered in the wake of an economic crisis, the sales of the Leopard declined and it was discontinued in 1999.