He blamed government regulations such as the US CAFE fuel economy standards limiting the amount of V8s it could sell.
“CAFE regulations and CO2
regulations around the world make a V8 [and] the development of a new family of engines almost impossible,” Palmer said.
Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen went one step further and said Nissan’s luxury arm will not introduce any new models with V8 engines.
“I don’t think any car that is on the Infiniti drawing board from here on we should expect to include a V8,” he said.
He indicated that although some markets would still like V8s, the business case doesn’t stack up.
“You cannot develop a V8 engine family that you are going to sell in such low volume, so the choice is easy,” he said.
That leaves the existing FX SUV, the Patrol-based QX and the large M sedan as the last Infiniti models to feature V8 engines.
Nysschen said V8s have no long-term future and that smaller engines will replace them.
“The future, unquestionably, is going to see downsizing of engines, much lower emissions, and fuel consumption and horsepower figures are going to come down,” he said.
Nysschen had a sobering thought for high performance car fans.
“The 600hp [circa-450kW] engines that we see today, which are the top performance cars right now, those will become extinct,” he said.
“The performance is going to be yielded dynamically by downsizing on the one side, power down, but keeping the ratio right by keeping the weight down.”
Asked whether some customers would miss the unmistakable burble of a V8 engine, Nysschen said: “That is not something that is unique for us, that is the same for everybody.”
While the US and its pick-up truck market has traditionally provided a haven for V8 engines, Nysschen said it now provided an example of why they are no longer needed and pointed to Ford introducing a V6 engine in the F-150.
“Those guys offer a V6, a very modern sophisticated V6 and they kind of bet the farm and it has paid off,” Nysschen said.
“The V6 outsells the eight cylinder, even with that conservative audience, so I think it [moving away from V8s] will work.”
The FX V8 SUV that has just been introduced here costs $114,900 and sits at the top of the FX range. It features a 5.0-litre V8, which generates 287kW and 500Nm, which results in a fuel consumption average of 13.1L/100km.
Nissan Australia will enter the V8 Supercars series next year.