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Gas-electric Godzilla: Next Nissan GT-R to go hybrid?

Nissan is in the early stages of developing a brand new GT-R, and company sources are already hinting the next Godzilla will turn the dial up to eleven both visually and mechanically.

Called R36 internally, the next GT-R will reportedly be powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain that will generate about 784 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. That’s considerably more torque than the current car’s six-speed dual-clutch transmission can handle so the R36 model will get a brand new eight-speed unit.

The current R35 GT-R’s twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine will be carried over to the new model with only minor modifications, as will the four-wheel drive setup. Electricity will be stored in a high-capacity battery pack developed jointly by Nissan and Williams F1.

To gather data on high-performance hybrid drivetrains, Nissan will participate in next year’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a racer powered by a track-tuned version of the R36 GT-R’s gas-electric system. The race will serve as an extreme pilot program, allowing engineers to study how to cool the battery pack and the most efficient way to capture the kinetic energy that is generated while braking.

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Visually, the next GT-R will get a much more aggressive design that will be noticeably inspired by the 2020 Vision GT concept (pictured) that was presented last June at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The aforementioned gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain is part of the reason why the next GT-R will look nothing like the current model.

“That is why the styling of the new GT-R will have to be so radically different. It’ll have to be penned to enable much more efficient cooling for the hybrid system as well as gain more efficient aerodynamics,” explained an anonymous inside source in an interview with Motor Trend.

The next GT-R has been on thin ice since Executive Vice President Andy Palmer left Nissan for Aston Martin. The GT-R is Nissan’s halo model so it’s doubtful the project will be canceled altogether, but Motor Trend believes it has been slightly delayed while a new project manager is appointed.

Look for Nissan’s next range-topping coupe to bow as a thinly-veiled concept at next year’s edition of the Geneva Motor Show and go on sale in 2018 at the earliest.