Test Nissan Bluebird 1.8 Turbo SGX

Test: Nissan Bluebird 1.8 Turbo SGX, an indestructible sedan

The Japanese firm decided to import these sedans from Japan, so that the Spanish public could get to know other models... in addition to the Patrol all-terrain vehicle or the Vanette vans. And even though they were imported in small quantities, their quality was evident.

Before we get to the test of this Nissan Bluebird, let's recapitulate a little history of a brand that, among us, was an almost unknown manufacturer until 1980... except for the inhabitants of Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands. They already They knew the Datsun and Nissan brands, since since 1973 there were dealerships in said autonomous cities and in the Fortunate Islands.

Obviously, everything changed in the aforementioned year, since when Nissan bought 30% of Motor Ibérica The purposes of the powerful Japanese automobile group became clear. In fact, Nissan acquired the majority shareholding of Motor Ibérica in 1982 and new ways of working began to reach the group's Spanish factories. And since January 1983, the start of production of all-terrain vehicles N.

Immediately, The 4×4 of Japanese origin achieved sales leadership in its segment, in addition to being exported from the Barcelona factory to other European markets. And in 1983, the Vanette van, which soon took its place in urban transportation. Meanwhile, the former Motor Ibérica dealer network became the modern Nissan organization. And in their facilities, along with the Patrol and Vanette, they were sold from Ebro tractors and trucks to the Nissan Trade van. However, since 1986 the tractors were renamed Ebro Kubota and the rest of the surviving vehicles were marketed under the Nissan brand, including the Nissan Cherry Europe passenger car, assembled in Italy and which did not have the expected acceptance.


Before him Nissan Cherry Europe failure, whose production ceased in 1986, Nissan executives opted in September of that year for import Bluebird sedans from Japan. Not in vain, they had been redesigned in December 1985 and were competitive even with forced tariffs, which placed their prices at the same level as European rivals.

Equally, They incorporated unusual equipment among Western sedans. For example, the remote opening of the trunk and the fuel tank filler neck, as well as adjustable suspension in hardness or the 6-speed windshield wipers. In its seventh generation, known internally by the code T12, it continued to have a transmission to the front axle that began with the previous series that appeared in 1983. And along with it, the power plant in a transverse arrangement.

Upon his arrival to the Peninsula in the fall of 1986, el Nissan bluebird It was offered in two versions. The simplest was the 2.0 SLX model, equipped with a 1.974 cm engine.3 and 105 hp. Of the 490 imported in 1986, 160 were Turbo SGX and 330 were 2.0 SLX. The most powerful and equipped of the two was the 1.8 Turbo SGX, which obtained 135 HP from its 1.809 cm engine.3 y fitted with a Garrett T2 turbocharger.


Registered on November 6, 1986, the Nissan Bluebird in the test was released by Manuel's father, who is its current owner. And he tells us that he was the first Turbo SGX registered in Oviedo. Of the four Turbo GSXs that arrived in Asturias, three were white and this one is the only one in blue.

At the time of the photo session, the odometer indicated 616.105 km, a certainly extraordinary figure which indicates the mechanical quality that distinguishes Nissan Bluebirds. Obviously, Manuel is in charge of maintaining it, without forgetting about oil changes or immediately replacing those components that show signs of having reached the end of their useful life. Furthermore, he drives reasonably and has had no accidents. After having washed the car inside and out after a 350 km trip, we headed to the nearby Condado de Treviño, an enclave in Burgos located within Álava.

And we start with the static images, in which He doesn't look like he's 37 years old.. The somewhat ordinary aesthetic that characterizes it is also noticeable, despite the fact that its rectilinear forms correspond to the style of the time. Added to this are the bumpers and exterior mirrors, painted in the same color as the body. At the same time, the slight wedge shape of the bodywork helps to achieve good aerodynamic penetration, joined to a trunk that achieves the generous capacity of 504 liters.


We walked around this unit, looking for particular details, and first came across a lock on the driver's door. It is provided with lighting with a timer, a pleasant detail at night. They also draw attention to the white aluminum wheels, which due to their simple presence resemble plastic hubcaps, as well as the mud flaps installed on all four wheels, which help protect the car from corrosion.

For their part, the bumpers have a more solid structure. In fact, they lengthen the length of the body by 130 millimeters compared to the 2.0 SLX variant. Interestingly, the most unique aesthetic element of this model is located in both rear corners. Is about gills, which are responsible for evacuating stale interior air when the air conditioning compressor is running. And their role does not end there, since they are also responsible for extracting cold air from the cabin when we activate the heating.

Curious about the fact that it is a car with a turbocharged engine, we decided to take a look at the engine compartment. Once the hood is up, the transverse engine is visible with the typical hoses, but without complications for maintenance. Likewise, the black box located on the left side is surprising, which groups all the fuses of the electrical installation and reports each of them on the cover itself. In addition, access to replenish the radiator tanks, filling oil, brake fluid and windshield washer is simple.


It's time to get into the Nissan Bluebird for the test. As we open the driver's door, they appear before our eyes wraparound seats upholstered in velvet. On the left side, the distance adjustment control and a switch that allows you to adjust the height of the bench. Next to said switch, there is another one in charge of electropneumatically setting the greater or lesser angle of the back, both in the lumbar and dorsal areas. Altogether, a seat that allows you to find the ideal posture for traveling long routes. As for the back seat, It has adequate width to accommodate three people and has a comfortable distance for the legs. There is a practical ashtray and electric windows on both doors, in addition to the backrest folding down in 60/40 proportions.

Once you have the ideal position behind the wheel, you must thoroughly review the dashboard, where first of all and with the ignition activated We can adjust the exterior mirrors using the corresponding electric switch. Just a look at the instrument panel is enough to see its wealth of gauges. Besides of graduated speedometer up to 220 km/h, has a revolution counter whose red zone begins at 6.000 revolutions and four other measuring devices. From top to bottom and from left to right, we have an oil pressure gauge, the turbo pressure gauge, the coolant thermometer and the fuel gauge in the tank. And there is also a digital clock and up to ten indicator lights.

Beneath the astonishing total mileage indicated on the speedometer dial, the two trip meters attract attention. Without a doubt a practical element, which allows you to know the distance from the last refueling and the start of a trip. We also have a control that electrically regulates the height of the headlight beam, located on the center console. And the suspension control already mentioned, whose three positions are S, N and F, controlled by an electronic control unit. In the soft S, the body leans when cornering, although in return it is comfortable on uneven surfaces. In neutral N, the car holds better in corners with drier suspension and in F it gains a lot in hardness and efficiency.


We then turn the key from the ignition position to the start position, at which point the engine begins to sound uniformly and quite quietly. When engaging first gear, you can see that the lever has a precise and pleasant touch. In the streets of Treviño, we ride comfortably with the suspension in Yes, while the engine has plenty of power to move without needing to exceed 2.500 rpm. The smoothness of the power steering is appreciated, which also stands out for its precision.

Good visibility also stands out, the only weak point being a rear that cannot be seen where it ends. And when it comes to parking, its 4,53 meters in length partially makes linear parking difficult and encourages you to store it in a battery. We continue the journey on a flat road with good asphalt, which brings out the low noise level at tourist speed. In that type of environment, The Nissan Bluebird offers great ride comfort and its driving is very relaxed.

In contrast, when we enter a highway and stretch the second until close to 6.000 turns, the engine becomes very noisy and accelerates brilliantly, but it invites you to go to the higher ratio to reduce excessive loudness. Already at a stable cruise of 120 km/h, our protagonist swallows kilometers smoothly, with the only discordant note being the whistles caused by the gusts of air that collide with the windshield and the exterior rearview mirrors.



To complete the Nissan Bluebird test, We continue the route on roads with many curves and little traffic., which also included two mountain passes that ran through the lands of Álava, Burgos, Navarra and La Rioja. Before facing that journey, Manuel moved the suspension control to position N, the one he most often uses. It has since been noted that The car took the curves with less inclination and that the suspension had become harsher.

Even so, in the first kilometers the car had gained in comfort/grip compromise, given that in the N position we overcame the irregularities of the road surface with greater comfort. As seen in the images, the Bluebird retains its understeering behavior, but it does so in a way that is easier to control if you maintain pressure on the accelerator when exiting corners and the turn is completed using the steering wheel.

As for the rear axle, it is limited to following the path set by the front axle, aided in its work by the sticky tires measuring 195/60 HR 15. Meanwhile, brake installation proves more than sufficient. Good when it comes to decelerating quickly, such as when descending mountain passes, it has resistance to heating and has a progressive feel, easy to modulate.


Although these sedans Only 3.615 copies arrived in Spain between 1986 and 1988, the fact that its bodywork does not have as attractive an aesthetic as that of other models of its time made its virtues go more unnoticed. Of them, 820 were of the Turbo SGX version. And in 1989, sales of the Bluebird T72 began, manufactured in the United Kingdom and free of Japanese import tariffs.

In this sense, the existence of the Bird-Blue Classic Cars Club, formed by a group of model enthusiasts who strive to keep its presence alive. And, thanks to the excellent quality of its mechanics and the durable materials with which it was manufactured, it is possible that almost four decades later have survived and are preserved in such an enviable state. After testing this Nissan Bluebird, we are not surprised by the passion its former owners feel for the model.


This multipurpose car emerged from an agreement signed in 1980 between the president of Nissan, Takashi Ishihara, and the president of Alfa Romeo, Ettore Massacesi, to build a car with the body of the Nissan Cherry and the engine of the Alfa Romeo Alfasud. They created the company for this Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli (ARNA), whose purpose was the manufacture of said model in Italy, in order to avoid the heavy tariffs on Nissans imported from Japan. Furthermore, as each company contributed its part to the project, expenses decreased.

Its production was carried out at the Alfa Romeo plant in Pomigliano d'Arco and was called Nissan Cherry Europe. Presented at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, its sale in Spain began in May 1984. It was only sold with a 1.2 and 1.5 engine. The latter formulated a GTI version, equipped with a boxer engine, 1.490 cm3 and 95 hp of Alfa Romeo origin, which despite the letter I in its name is powered by two double carburetors.

1984 Nissan Cherry EuropeEquipped with a five-speed gearbox, it reaches a maximum speed of 176 km/h in fourth gear, while the somewhat long fifth gear is designed to reduce noise and consumption. However, The Nissan Cherry Europe was a commercial failure.


The Bluebird name appeared in the range of the Japanese firm in 1959, when it launched this sedan on the market, powered by a 1.189 cm longitudinal engine3 and a maximum power of 48 HP SAE at 4.800 revolutions. Since 1957, they began to export their models to the United States, where they barely sold and They have earned a good reputation for their reliability at a very competitive price.. And as an option it was offered with a 988 cm engine.3 and 37 HP SAE at 4.600 rpm.

1959 Nissan BluebirdEquipped with a pontoon style body, it had a length of 3,89 meters, could accommodate five people in its cabin and had a trunk capacity of 400 liters. As for the suspensions, it had an independent front axle, with triangular arms, coil springs and a stabilizer bar, while at the rear it had a rigid axle guided by semi-elliptical leaf springs. It had a three-speed gearbox, with the first gear not synchronized, and it managed to reach an official maximum speed of 123 km/h. For its part, the version with the 988 cm engine3 It reached 105 km/h.

 Classic Lane photographs.



transverse front


1.809 cm3


4 in line

Diameter x stroke

83,0 x 83,6 mm

Maximum power

135 CV to 6.000 rpm

Maximum torque

198 Nm to 4.000 rpm


L-Jetronic injection and Garrett T2 turbocharger

Compression ratio



Overhead camshaft






Five-speed manual + ma


Single dry disc, with mechanical control


self-supporting monocoque


Berlina (five seats)

Front suspension

Independent, McPherson type, with transverse arms, telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar

Rear suspension

Independent, with double wishbones, longitudinal braces, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar


Zipper, assisted


ventilated discs/discs


4.530 / 1.690 / 1.395 mm


1.460/1.460 mm


2.550 mm

Weight :

1.290 kg


15 "


195/60 HR 15


60 liters

Consumer goods

8,8 l / 100 km


496 liters

Maximum speed

200 km/h

Weight / power ratio

9,56 kg / CV

year of presentation


years of production


year unit tested


Units produced

126.394 Bluebird T12 exported to Europe. Of them, 3.615 Turbo SGX.

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Ignacio Saenz de Camara

Written by Ignacio Saenz de Camara

From a very young age, I felt attracted to any vehicle, regardless of whether it was my father's Renault 4, my grandfather's DKW 800 S van or Uncle Santos' Lambretta. And of course, the cars that I saw in motor magazines from the age of 11 onwards. I also like to write, which is why after leaving teaching I worked as an editor and tester at Autopista... Read more

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