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Return of the Turbo Z? Nissan Studying Future Turbocharging Options


2009 Nissan Nismo 370zYokohama, Japan – Tetsuya Takahashi, a manager at Nissan’s Powertrain Engineering Division, indicated that his department is closely studying the possibility of incorporating turbocharged engines in their next generation of vehicles. No doubt the recent resurgence of turbocharged engines from competitors in Europe (BMW, VW) and the USA (Ford) has Nissan contemplating whether it too should wade into the forced induction pool.

Takahashi admits that Nissan partner Renault would like to return to smaller displacement engines mated with turbochargers employed to make up the performance difference.2009 Nissan Nismo 370z engine

Globally, Nissan has a few turbocharged powertrains, but these are chiefly limited to diesel engines and other low volume applications like the VR38DETT found in the GT-R. None of Nissan’s VQ series 6-cylinder engines or QR/HR/CR/MR-series 4-cylinder engines have turbocharged variants, and these engines are found in the bulk of vehicles Nissan sells. So does this mean we can expect the return of the twin turbo Z? Possibly.


Internally, Nissan knows that they are reaching the performance limits of many of their most popular engines, particularly the VQ line. That series of engines started out in the 2.0-liter displacement and has grown to 4.0-liters through boring and stroking. Though given numerous awards in the 3.5-liter VQ35 trim, its recently released VQ37HR engine, found in the 370Z and Infiniti G37 models, has been hammered in the automotive press for perceived coarseness and vibration at high RPM. Could a new series of smaller displacement, turbocharged engines be the solution?

Nissan certainly has the know-how. As motorsports fans are well aware, the company has a long and storied history of producing some of the world’s finest turbocharged powerplants, including the drift favorite SR20DET 4-cylinder turbo and RB-series of inline turbo six cylinders found in previous generations of Skylines. But it won’t be easy; Takahashi admits there are serious issues to contend with before they are able to talk compressor wheels, A/R ratios and boost pressures — primarily emissions.

“It is very difficult. I spoke to a colleague at Toyota, and he says they aren’t pursuing it at all for this reason,” says Takahashi, who was a member of the team who developed the SR20DET some 20 years ago.

That doesn’t mean his company is giving up on the idea however. “We are studying the matter very closely,” he says. Turbo Z fans, keep your fingers crossed.

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