The current generation of the Nissan GT-R is coming up on its five-year anniversary. Launched in 2007, the R35 model has seen constant tweaks and upgrades, and that’s why it still offers one of the best performance-to-price ratios of any halo car on the market.
We always knew that the R35’s days were numbered, and we thought they may be coming to a close in the next year or two. However, a recent report from TopGear hints that the next-generation GT-R R36 is further away than we thought. However, we also learned that Nissan is very, very interested in getting hybrid technology under the GT-R’s hood to “embrace electric power.” This fits perfectly with most of the rumors that we’d already heard.
The news comes from an interview that TopGear managed to score with Nissan Great Britain’s James Oliver, the sports car chief in that region. He explained, “I think [a hybrid GT-R] is the obvious direction… The overall market is looking at different directions of powering cars, and at Nissan we’ve got great expertise and investment of electric.”
Oliver went on to explain the reason behind the R36’s distant launch date of “three or four years”. Basically, the R35 was a huge success and a massive leap in technology at the time. Nissan wants the R36 to be just as ahead of its time as the R35 was.
For those of you who don’t realize just how large of an undertaking this is, keep in mind that the current GT-R already has impressive stats. It runs on a twin-turbocharged 3.8L DOHC V6 engine that can output 542hp and zoom from 0 to 60 mph in under three seconds. So, Nissan somehow has to come up with a powertrain that outguns the monstrous R35, and still incorporate hybrid technology.
While the task of developing a revolutionary new powertrain is certainly a big one, Nissan has several years to do it. In an interview with AutoCar, Nissan’s chief creative officer, Shiro Nakamura, assured us that the powertrain and chassis are the two elements of the R36 that are already under heavy development. The design is still completely up in the air, although Nissan has a couple directions they could go.
First, we saw the Vision 2020 Concept (pictured above) earlier this year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Unfortunately, while it’d be great if the GT-R R36 ended up looking like the Vision 2020 Concept, it was really more design study than anything. Nakamura says that he’d like the next GT-R to keep the current model’s “boxy, functional appearance” in the next model. He elaborates, “It shouldn’t be too elegant, and it should be brutal, with a rawness.”
Either way, we’re sure to hear more between now and the next-gen GT-R’s launch, so stay tuned here for the most up-to-date Japanese car news.
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