2013 Nissan GT-R (Japanese spec)Enlarge Photo
Following a report last month claiming officials at Nissan had yet to give approval for the launch of a successor to the current R35 GT-R supercar, a report out today claims the green light for the new car, the R36, has been given and a launch date set for 2018. This would give the R35 a 10-year lifespan, which ties in with previous comments made by the car’s chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Nürburgring 24 Hours earlier this year, Mizuno said the current car will continue to evolve over the next five years, and that participation in the tough endurance race had helped verify the durability and reliability of its platform to ensure it’s capable of handling whatever upgrades Nissan has in store for the future. Note, Mizuno recently retired due to Nissan’s mandatory retirement age of 60, though the expert engineer is expected to continue to aid GT-R development in a consulting role.
According to Inside Line, Mizuno’s official departure has led to a slight delay in the arrival of the R36, though development work is underway. Engineers are reportedly keen to see the performance of the upcoming Acura NSX, which boasts a sophisticated hybrid system and is promised to lap the Nürburgring-Nordschleife faster than the R35.
Nissan hasn’t decided whether it will add a hybrid system to the R36, though the automaker has already previewed a high-performance hybrid in the stunning 2009 Infiniti Essence Concept. By taking the Infiniti G37’s 3.7-liter V-6 and bolting on a pair of turbochargers, Nissan was able to boost output of the engine to around 440 horsepower. It then combined this with a 160-horsepower electric motor and the end result was a powertrain developing close to 600 horsepower.
For the R36, Nissan is expected to stick with the current model's 3.8-liter VR38DETT mill but possibly combine it with an electric motor, like in the Essence. Final output would fall somewhere around the 600-horsepower mark while fuel economy could improve to around 25-30 mpg combined.
The only hurdle would be the increased weight of the hybrid system’s batteries, which would need to be offset by an intensive weight loss program. The end goal would be to build a car that performs equal to or better than the current model while returning much better fuel economy.
In the meantime, the current R35 model will continue to evolve. Yet another update is planned for the 2014 model year, possibly the biggest we’ve seen thus far. Some of the reported changes include new bumpers and lights, as well as an upgraded powertrain.