There's Hope New Nissan Z And GT-R Won't Be Electric

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All the rumors you've heard about an electric GT-R are false.

The R35 Nissan GT-R is an undisputed icon. Since its release in 2009, the Japanese supercar has been blowing away high-end exotics with ease, but over the last couple of years, its age has started to catch up with it. As that has happened, rumors have swirled about its replacement's powertrain. We've heard it said that the R36 GT-R would be all-electric, but we've also come across rumors claiming that it would be a hybrid and even some reports claiming it would stick with gas power for the time being. The most recent rumor is that the R35 will survive another year with significant styling updates.

But as it turns out, none of these rumors have any substance: the chief engineer for the R35 has told Australian media that Nissan has not made a decision one way or another.

2020-2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO Exhaust Nissan 2015-2016 Nissan GT-R NISMO Driving Front Angle Nissan 2015-2016 Nissan GT-R NISMO Rear Angle View Nissan
2020-2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO Exhaust
2015-2016 Nissan GT-R NISMO Driving Front Angle
2015-2016 Nissan GT-R NISMO Rear Angle View

Hiroshi Tamura was the man in charge of developing the R35 GT-R and the Nissan Z, but a new team will help create these cars' successors. His comments that a decision on the former's powertrain has not been made are a little puzzling because the automaker announced that it had begun design work on the new R36 in 2018. Which automaker starts designing a car before deciding on what will power it?

One possibility is that the R36 GT-R project has been restarted repeatedly. The R35 generation's gestation period was very long as Nissan wanted to ensure that it would do the GT-R moniker justice, and perhaps the same obsession with perfection is at play here. Tamura-san also said that the decision to switch to electric power will be "one of the very difficult points in the future," suggesting that the transition is some way off but that it must be perfect when the time comes.

2023 Nissan Z Engine Bay Nissan 2023 Nissan Z View Out Back Nissan
2023 Nissan Z Engine Bay
2023 Nissan Z View Out Back

Interestingly, it appears that the Nissan Z doesn't have a clear future either. As you may know, Nissan has heavily based the new Z on the outgoing 370Z, only giving it a new engine and some new suspension (we're painting the car with a broad brush, but there weren't many significant changes beyond these) because the automaker would not have been able to justify the development of an all-new platform for a niche automobile such as the Z sports car.

In light of new EU emissions regulations, it would make sense for the next Z to be a hybrid at the very least, but because it's actually an old car underneath, this may be too much of a challenge and would likely require an all-new design. If Nissan keeps the Z gas-powered, it can continue to use the aging underpinnings a while longer. Whatever the reason, it appears that the next Z and GT-R will once again be designed to cater to the enthusiast.

2023 Nissan Z Rear-Facing View Nissan 2023 Nissan Z Forward View Nissan
2023 Nissan Z Rear-Facing View
2023 Nissan Z Forward View

When quizzed about whether the latest Z sports car dropped numerals from its name to make the transition to electric power easier to swallow, Tamura-san said, "It's a good idea [but] I don't know for the next generation of [electric vehicles] because this is a tricky question. I didn't see any [electric] solution." He went on to say that, whichever way the next Z is powered, it needs to be a car that enthusiasts "lust" after, and to do that with an all-electric powertrain is challenging, to say the least.

In summary, it seems that any developments on the next-generation Z will be announced a long time from now. That's no bad thing, as we're still enjoying the 2023 model. As for the next GT-R, details are equally scarce, but the prevailing sentiment is that Nissan has been obsessively meticulous in its creation of the R35 and will give the R36 similar attention. Still, we hope we don't have too long to wait. The current GT-R is almost old enough for R Kelly to fall in love with now.

2020-2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO Front View Driving Nissan 2020-2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO Burnout Nissan
2020-2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO Front View Driving
2020-2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO Burnout
Source Credits: Drive

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