Every automaker is intent on downsizing its engines and adding some kind of hybrid component to its vehicles, and Nissan is no different. Today in Japan, Nissan introduced its latest in-house-developed hybrid drive system, comprised of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a compact lithium-ion battery pack. But here's the kicker: it's packing a twin-screw supercharger on top.

According to engineers we spoke with, that means the same output as Nissan's tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 – somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque – all while returning fuel economy improvements of up to 10 percent when mated to Nissan's all-new continuously variable transmission (expect more on that later).

Engineers claim that the torque curve of the new supercharged mill is nearly identical to the V6 and that power delivery will be just as seamless as the 3.5-liter. Officially, Nissan says that a model packing the new engine is due to arrive in 2013 in North America, and it's safe to assume that's going to be the next-generation Altima.

Nissan reps confirmed that the combination of superchargers and hybrids will proliferate throughout the automaker's lineup in the coming years, and that's sure to extend to Infiniti, as well. That last bit has us pontificating that the mystery mid-engine Infiniti concept coming to the Geneva Motor Show could be packing a variant of this same mill, but augmented with plug-in tech. We'll find out soon enough...


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 54 Comments
      Jason Golden
      • 3 Years Ago
      While I can appreciate the interest in better fuel economy, these 4 cylinder engines which equal or out-power their V6 predecessors still lack the aural pleasantness of said V6s. Can anyone engineer a 4 banger resonance and exhaust note to sound like it has some testosterone, without sounding abnoxious and childishly farty?I will be eager to test drive the 2013 Altima to hear the heartbeat and to feel the torque charachteristics first hand.
        PiCASSO
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jason Golden
        Agreed... it will take $8/gallon gas prices before you see me downgrade to a 4-banger from my current 3.5L V6 (2GR-FSE).
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PiCASSO
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PiCASSO
          [blocked]
        Snark
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jason Golden
        Seriously? The sound? "Heartbeat"? Grow up.
          Jason Golden
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Snark
          I think you missed the point, Snark. I donĀ“t like peaky buzzy powerplants. Maybe just my opinion, but at idle and on acceleration, my 2010 Acura TL sounded more substatial and less buzzy than my 2010 Volkswagen GTI. My 1998 V6 Ranger sounded and felt better than any of its awful 2.3L 4 cyl siblings. My 1988 V6 Chevy Corsica sounded (and felt) more adult than my 1988 4 cyl Corsica. OK, the Corsicas were an embarassment, but that was college life in the early 90s.
          Snark
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Snark
          Seriously, it's a friggin' family car. What are you actually expecting out of it, Ferrari-like screaming? Buy a no-BS enthusiast car if you want to listen to it. This is a grocery getter.
      KAG
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds interesting, but that same motor in the Sentera SE-R would be wild.
      GMDMsolstice
      • 3 Years Ago
      Isn't that a roots based supercharger? not a twin screw.
      ALafya
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thank you Nissan for pioneering the CVT on their vehicles (Audi, Subaru too), taking the kinks, like the rubber-band effect, out of it and slowly making it better, faster and more efficient, than anything else.
        NightFlight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ALafya
        Who the hell uprated this guy?! People actually LIKE CVTs??? That's news to me.
        Sixspeed
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ALafya
        But Why? Normal Automatics are much better!
      KCyclone
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a hard time figuring out this story. That is, if this is accurate, Nissan is going to switch from a tried and true V-6 to a 4-cyl, with a supercharger and a compact hybrid system... to save "up to 10%" in economy? I would think they could squeeze 10% economy improvements by adding direct injection to the V-6 and spending 1/10the money.
        lne937s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KCyclone
        The next generation CVT alone saves 10% over the previous transmission. The entire hybrid system savings should be significantly greater.
        zach
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KCyclone
        I'm totally with you on that. I cringe at owning this out of warranty. Sure its Nissan, but you've got both a supercharger AND a hybrid system to break. Hybrid systems honestly seem pretty reliable, and supercharges are certainly proven technology... but it just seems very complex.
        mootabolife
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KCyclone
        The VQ engines already have direct injection.
          jpisano
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mootabolife
          Not in the the Altima, they don't...
          lne937s
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mootabolife
          1.6T in the Juke has direct injection.
          Du K
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mootabolife
          No, Vq's are not direct injected.
          KCyclone
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mootabolife
          I thought that only a couple versions of the VQ had direct injection, and none of those are in the US even. That is, I thought the Altima, Maxima, G series all were sequential? I know they have a direct ignition system and advanced variable lifts... but didn't think DI was in there. If I am wrong, then obviously my comment above doesn't hold as much water... but I still would argue that seems like a ton of complexity for a 10% improvement in economy.
          mootabolife
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mootabolife
          You're both right. It does seem like a very complicated system for just 10% gains. Maybe DI wasn't a magical fix for them?
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mootabolife
          [blocked]
        BB79826
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KCyclone
        Plus, simply adding direct injection to an engine doesn't increase fuel economy -- it just improves performance. If this is a real hybrid and not a mild hybrid, the fuel economy figures should go up dramatically in the city. This "up to 10%" is very vague. But I guess the powertrain's not ready for primetime yet.
      mylz
      • 3 Years Ago
      hey GM and Ford stop with the supid whimpy turbos! im actually surprised an asian company is using a super charger vs a ricer turbo which is what asians stand for ricers.
      Bill
      • 3 Years Ago
      But will the cars look good? Thw maxima looks like 3 biscuits placed next to each other.
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      Manual transmissions are being systematically replaced by Sequential Gearboxes(which are essentially "Automatic"). Engines seem to be next on the cutting block. Soon, we're all going to be driven around by slow, automated cars and the "fun" in driving will be long lost to us. What a shitty period in automotive history for us "enthusiasts".
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        [blocked]
          BG
          • 3 Years Ago
          That's right, because then they can't eat, talk on the phone, drink, whack their kids, pluck their eyebrows and other areas, apply makeup, or drive one-handed. They don't even have to think before entering the stupor of auto-pilot.
      Autoblogist
      • 3 Years Ago
      Label me unimpressed. A lithium battery and supercharger for a gain of 3 mpg? Let's put this into perspective. The current V6 gets 20/27, they just made a more complicated and possibly heavier engine that gets the same power with only a gain of 10 percent? By comparison, Hyundai's 2.0T have 15 more horsepower and still would get 4 mpg better gas mileage than this. Last year's Camry V6 has 8 more horsepower and get 33mpg. Am I missing something here or is this just not impressive?
        lne937s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Autoblogist
        as this is a repeated comment, I will repeat my reply 10% improvement is from the CVT alone, not the whole system. http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/NEWS/2011/_STORY/111013-02-e.html
      ijardine
      • 3 Years Ago
      Added COST, added complexity, added weight (batteries etc) and all for a 10% gain. Doesn't make ANY sense.
        lne937s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ijardine
        as this is a repeated comment, I will repeat my reply 10% improvement is from the CVT alone, not the whole system. http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/NEWS/2011/_STORY/111013-02-e.html
      RA
      • 3 Years Ago
      nice!!!
      Currie
      • 3 Years Ago
      Say goodbye to the 6mt and get ready for only the cvt as the only tranny choice. sigh :(
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Currie
        [blocked]
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