Nissan has lifted the covers off its latest concept car at this month’s Shanghai Auto Show. Called Nismo Sports Concept, it boasts the same 1.6 litre direct-injection turbo four-cylinder currently found in the Juke crossover – developing 188bhp and 177lb ft of torque.

Disappointingly however, the relatively muscular engine is attached to a CVT gearbox, with six ‘gears’ selectable via paddles mounted on the steering column.

The pretty body is the result of a collaboration between Nissan’s global design studio and its new Chinese off-shoot, Nissan Design China. It’s clearly based on the Micra, but sits a massive 81mm lower and 51mm wider. Enlarged bumpers and grilles give the Sports Concept a more aggressive, sporting edge than its shopping car cousin.

Inside, the driver’s view is dominated by red-illuminated dials and a flat bottomed steering wheel. ‘Technical’ fabric covers the dash and seats, giving the interior a feeling reminiscent of a training shoe.

Nismo’s influence is clearly the exciting part. Having gained a reputation for taking the fight to the super car establishment with the GT-R, it could be time for hot-hatch masters Renaultsport and Ford to have some sleepless nights.

Nissan say the car is aimed at younger buyers in developing markets, hence the unveiling at the Shanghai show. Unfortunately, however, there are currently no plans to put the Sports Concept into production, although it hasn’t been expressly ruled out.