Nissan looks set to tweak the look and performance of its GT-R supercar next year, and could eventually switch to a petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain.
The company is said to be planning a significant 2013 makeover for the car in a bid to keep it fresh ahead of an all-new model that was originally scheduled for 2015, but is now more likely to be pushed back to 2018.
US website insideline.com reports that GT-R chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno and his team are closely watching the development of the next Honda NSX, which will use a mid-mounted V6 supplemented by three electric motors – one for the dual-clutch transmission and two more to send torque to the front wheels, improving handling.
A test version of the NSX, which is expected to be released in 2015, is said by Honda insiders to have lapped the famed Nurburgring race track faster than a GT-R.
Porsche will also use hybrid technology on its forthcoming 918 Spyder, which is expected to sprint to 100kmh in less than three seconds, but also deliver Toyota Prius-rivalling fuel efficiency.
While Honda hasn't released power figures for the NSX, Porsche says the 918's combination of a 4.6-litre V8 with two electric motors fitted front and rear will develop a total power output of 575kW and torque of 750Nm.
They're likely to be enticing figures for Nissan, with the GT-R currently outputting a meagre-by-comparison 404kW and 628Nm in return for average official fuel use of 11.7L/100km.
Nissan says the current GT-R will already hit 100kmh in three seconds, although Fairfax Media's performance testing indicates this is closer to 3.5 seconds in real-world conditions.
It's unknown at this stage whether Nissan would attempt to develop a petrol-electric drivetrain using the existing twin-turbo V6 engine, which could be finalised within the next few years, or whether it would build such an engine from scratch for inclusion in the all-new 2018 model.
The 2013 update is expected to include a significant performance tweaks and a cosmetic upgrade that is rumoured to include the front bumper and headlights but not the main body panels.
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