Nissan Launches New V8 Gas Engine – What You Need to Know

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Nissan announced the specs and features of its new 5.6L V8 which will be offered in both Titan and Titan XD models starting in the spring. This new engine will offer those customers a choice between the 5.0L V8 Cummins diesel or gasoline.

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The Decherd, Tennessee built engine is a dramatic improvement over the prior generation engine in terms of performance (HP and torque) as well as incorporating a host of new technology. Nissan says it features four-valves per cylinder (so, 32 valves), a Variable Event & Lift system (more on that) and direct injection.

Performance wise the engine produces 390 HP @5,800 RPM and 401 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 RPM. This is a dramatic improvement over the previous generation which produced 317 HP and 385 lb-ft of torque.

Now, this new engine shares much of the same architecture from the Infiniti’s QX80 5.6L V8 according to Mark over at I just happened to drive the QX80 a few months ago and I found the engine to be adequate for the task of moving around the big SUV. Not remarkable by any means.

This will likely change when Nissan uses it in the new Titan. Mated to a new 7-speed transmission (yes, 7), I would imagine Nissan’s Chief Product Specialist Rich Miller (Chief Engineer really) will tweak the shift points and output to make the needs of the truck customer.

What about that Variable Valve Event & Lift technology? A lot of fancy words for a  system which combines a hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing system with an electronically controlled valve lift on the intake and exhaust sides of the engine. Basically, this is going to make the engine feel even more powerful and have a better throttle response.  Nissan says the throttle response improvement is due to “directly controlling the intake valve, rather than using the traditional method of controlling intake with a throttle valve, and valve timing and opening with non-variable camshafts.”

If this sounds familiar to Toyota fans, it should. The Tundra’s 5.7L V8 features dual independent variable valve timing with intelligence (Dual Independent VVT-i). Now, I’m no engine guy by any stretch, but it seems to me we are talking about the same thing with the Nissan and Toyota technology.

Nissan also says the new engine boasts an impressive 11.2:1 compression ratio thanks to a new piston design. This compares to the Tundra’s 10.2:1 compression ratio. Not much more is said about the piston design and I’ll be looking forward to learning more about it. As I understand it, the more you compress the gasoline, the more you could get an uneven burn leading to a engine knock due to warped cylinder heads. Nissan looks to be combating this with a new Multi Control Valve (MCV) which will assist in “managing the engine’s thermal efficiency better than a traditional thermostat.” This statement is in the same sentence of the paragraph (see: press release) on compression ratio and this leads me to believe there is likely an issue with heat and the additional compression.

The new “Endurance” V8 engine with the 7-speed automatic transmission (features Adaptive Shift Control and Downshift Rev Matching) will be available in the early spring of 2016. Specs like fuel economy will likely be released a week or two before the trucks hit the dealer lots since it simply takes time to do the EPA testing.

My take is simple on this one. It sounds like Nissan is simply catching up to Toyota’s iForce 5.7L V8 engine. I could be wrong, so I can’t wait to drive it and learn more about it.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. Captain Critical says:

    I agree, this new engineer is catching up to the iForce 5.7 as told by its output (HP and TRQ) and it’s using direct injection as well, which has its own problems.

  2. GoBig says:

    I couldn’t help but notice they saddled up to the “super unleaded” pump. I wonder if that was just a fluke caused by the location of their shoot, or will that engine be designed to operated on premium fuel?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Well you definitely got me to watch the video again. LOL. Good catch. I would call it just a coincidence.


  3. ricqik says:

    I caught a glance on this else where that this engine will use regular and not premium.

    I also think toyota could tweek the iforce a little bit more. Something like 403hp and 424lbtq. 😉

    • hemi lol says:

      I believe the iforce 5.7 is capable of MUCH more than that……. with DI and Atkinson they should be able to get 30or more HP and torque and better MPG too….

  4. Breathing borla says:

    kinda of underwhelming really for a new engine. It’s already behind behind Ram and GMC in terms of HP and torque, and behind the eco in terms of torque.

    I’m going to pass on the titan next year, it’s down to Ram, Tundra, and GMC, not just because of the above, just wanted to clarify.

  5. tonyspin says:

    It will be hard to get that engine to run right on 87 octane with an 11.2 to 1 compression ratio. I think it will need at least 91

  6. Randy says:

    Yep, I was sort of wondering the same thing; will it require premium gas?

    Another question: Will it have carbon build nightmares? Of course not drowning the engine intake in a water bath should help reduce that from happening greatly.

    Breathing Borla is my go to guy for all things RAM; but I do disagree on his take comparing the newer Titan with the other half tons and half ton plus trucks.

    I am still coming across to many guys that are having some issues with newer RAMs and GM trucks; that is why I say if Titan meets or exceeds Toyota’s truck QDR then it could be a big win (one way or another) for all brand truck buyers.

  7. Breathing borla says:

    Hey Tim,

    Does the titan xd have a full floating rear?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Good question. I don’t believe so, but I’ll need to double check. Unfortunately, with the holidays and the Detroit Auto Show coming up, nobody is in their offices to respond to questions. I’ll shoot an email over anyway.

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