When it comes to high-performance pickups in the mid-size class, there's only one option in town so far. That's the Ford Ranger Raptor, blending both high-speed off-road capability with a powerful engine. Others have tried but have been saddled with engines with less than 200 horsepower.

But now, Nissan wants to have a crack at the Ranger Raptor. At least, that's what Nissan Australia's head wants. Stephen Lester, managing director of Nissan Australian, said that there is a 'need' for a high-performance Navara in order to truly compete with Ford's factory-tuned Ranger. He specifically mentioned that he would like a Nismo version of their pickup.

At the moment, there's the Navara AT32, which is a beefed-up, off-road ready version of their load lugger. However, it's not entirely by Nissan as the project was done in collaboration with Arctic Trucks. That's not to say the AT32 is isn't an effective off-roader. After all, it's packing a 20mm suspension lift kit, skid plates for better underbody protection, 17-inch alloy wheels with 32-inch all-terrain tires, and fender flares for a better stance and body protection.

What the Navara AT32 doesn't have is a tuned engine. It's powered by a 2.3-liter, twin-turbocharged diesel engine that makes 190 PS and 450 Nm. While impressive, it's not quite to the level of the Ranger Raptor. To answer back to that, Lester is looking at a powerful gas engine instead of a diesel as he believes that it will truly unlock its performance potential.

A likely candidate to power the fast Navara is the 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6 found in the Skyline (Infiniti Q50) sedan. Specs? That would be 304 PS and 400 Nm of torque. Should they push through with that, it easily trounces the Ford's 213 PS figure.

Right now, plans for the 'Nismo Navara' are all talk, but Lester said that, with enough talk and negotiations with Nissan HQ, there might actually be a chance to make it to production. Time to send petition letters to Nissan then.

Source: Carsguide