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by Tim Beissmann

Godzilla always had a bit of a green tinge to him, right?

If the rumours rising from Japan are correct, the next generation of Nissan’s shrieking beast could go hybrid when it is launched around 2012.

Earlier this month Japan’s Best Car Magazine said the new model would be powered by a 328kW petrol engine and a 119kW electric motor, combining for a total max output of 447kW (or a nice round 600hp).

Despite the absolute commitment of Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn to electric vehicles as the future of his company, March’s Geneva Motor Show played host to the Infiniti Essence – a 441kW 3.7-litre twin-turbo V6 hybrid.

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At the time, spokesman for Nissan’s luxury division, Shiro Nakamura, said that the coupe (built on the same platform as the GT-R) was “only a showpiece … for now”.

But the latest reports suggest that a hybrid GT-R is a favoured project among Nissan engineers and could be within three years of a launch.

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Edmunds Inside Line says it expects the GT-R to maintain its 3.8-litre V6 but still aim for the 450kW combined output, raising power by close to 100kW over the current 357kW unit.

It says Nissan is aiming for the car to be just as quick despite the weight gains that come with the hybrid system, but believes the all-wheel drive system will not be a victim of a rigorous weight-loss regimen.

When the GT-R was introduced in 2007, the car’s chief engineer, Kazutoshi Mizuno, said it had a long life ahead of it.

“[I expect the] GT-R to maintain a life cycle of six to seven years as it evolves gradually during those years, similar to how Porsche cars evolve,” he said.

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But that statement was made in a world before the GFC and when less emphasis was placed on emissions and fuel efficiency.

If he has had a change of heart, expect to see hear Japan’s great green monster howling from as early as 2012.




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