What Cars Have RB Engines: A Comprehensive List of Nissan Models

The Nissan RB engine series stands as a pinnacle of Japanese engineering, providing a blend of performance and reliability that car enthusiasts worldwide have come to respect.

Originating in the mid-1980s, the RB engine’s various iterations have been the heart of several high-performance vehicles.

This powerful range of straight-6 engines is renowned for its capacity to handle turbocharging, which Nissan applied to great effect in creating some of the most iconic performance cars from Japan.

What Cars Have RB Engines: A Comprehensive List of Nissan Models

Our shared passion for automotive excellence draws us to the RB series, which has powered cars that are both accessible for street use and competitive on the race track.

Known for their relatively easy maintenance compared to their performance output, RB engines have a dedicated following among tuning and car maintenance communities.

Their flexible architecture has allowed them to be tuned for increased power outputs, fuel efficiency, and longevity, ensuring the RB engine’s place in the annals of automotive history.

History and Evolution of Nissan RB Engine

When we discuss the Nissan RB engine series, we’re looking at a range of inline-six powerplants renowned for their capabilities in performance cars from Nissan, most famously the Skyline GT-R.

Produced from 1985 until the early 2000s, the RB series played a pivotal role in establishing Nissan’s legacy in high-performance automotive engineering.

From the Original RB to the Legendary RB26DETT

Our exploration into the RB engine starts with its introduction in the R31 Skyline in the 1980s.

The initial RB engines such as the RB20 were a significant step up from their predecessor, the L-series, featuring an advanced SOHC or DOHC design, an aluminum head, and electronic fuel injection.

Notably, the HR31 Skyline was equipped with this engine series, providing improved performance and efficiency.

As the engine line developed, Nissan perfected this series with the creation of the RB26DETT engine, housed in the Yokohama-built R32 Skyline GT-R.

This 2.6-liter, twin-turbo powerhouse became legendary for its power output and involvement in motorsports.

Nissan continued to utilize the RB26DETT in subsequent models such as the R33 and then the R34 Skyline GT-R, both of which sustained the GT-R’s status as a dominant force on the track and street.

Noteworthy RB Engine Variants:
  • RB20 – 2.0-liter version used in the early Skylines and Cefiros
  • RB24 – Rare, high-performance 2.4-liter variant
  • RB25 – Popular 2.5-liter version in later Skylines and Stageas
  • RB26 – The RS and GTR Skyline variant, including the RB26DETT
  • RB30 – Large 3.0-liter version used notably in the Holden Commodore VL

Notable Models: Skyline GT-R and Others

The Nissan Skyline GT-R, particularly in its R32, R33, and R34 generations, became the most iconic home for RB engines.

This car redefined what a performance engine could achieve, with its RB26DETT achieving near-mythical status among enthusiasts and proving itself in competitive racing environments.

However, it wasn’t just the GT-R that enjoyed the RB series’ reputation.

Other notable vehicles featuring these engines include the Nissan Fairlady 200ZR with the RB20DET, the fourth-generation Patrol/Safari that was fitted with the RB30S, and the Nissan Stagea Series 1 that offered a selection of RB engines.

The RB series was also adapted outside of Nissan’s lineup, with the Holden Commodore VL using the naturally aspirated RB30E and the turbocharged RB30ET overseas.

Model Engine Variant Notable Features Years
Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32, R33, R34) RB26DETT Twin Turbo, AWD System 1989-2002
Nissan Fairlady Z 200ZR RB20DET Turbocharged, RWD 1987-1989
Holden Commodore VL RB30E / RB30ET Naturally Aspirated / Turbocharged 1986-1988
Nissan Stagea Series 1 Various RB Engines Optional AWD 1996-1998
Patrol/Safari (Fourth Generation) RB30S Naturally Aspirated, Large Capacity 1987-1997

Technical Specifications and Performance

When discussing the Nissan RB engines, we must focus on key aspects such as displacement, power, and torque, as well as their renowned turbocharging capabilities and tuning potential, which have enthralled gearheads worldwide.

Displacement, Power, and Torque Analysis

The RB series are inline-six gasoline engines that range from 2.0 to 3.0 liters in displacement, a characteristic that correlates with their power and torque output.

Let’s break this down by specific models: the RB20, RB25, and the legendary RB26.

The RB20 typically offers up to 215 horsepower (hp) in its DET version.

Progressing to the RB25, we find a jump in displacement to 2.5 liters, which correspondingly increases power up to 250 hp in the DET version.

At the zenith is the RB26, predominantly known for its installation in the high-performance Skyline GT-R, providing upwards of 276 hp due to the gentleman’s agreement, although true output is often rumored to be higher.

Engine Displacement Power (hp) Torque
RB20 2.0 L Up to 215 hp
RB25 2.5 L Up to 250 hp
RB26 2.6 L 276 hp+

Turbocharging and Tuning Potential

Our engines come with either naturally aspirated or turbocharged setups, with the latter being significant for tuning enthusiasts due to its soaring performance potential.

The RB26DETT engine, for instance, features a twin-turbo system that is not only foundational in its stock prowess but also serves as an excellent starting point for tuning.

These engines have gained notoriety for being incredibly receptive to modifications, empowering owners to substantially increase their horsepower and torque figures with the right investments in turbo upgrades, ECU tuning, and supporting modifications.

The DOHC valvetrain with four valves per cylinder complements the turbocharged variants by allowing the engines to breathe more efficiently at high RPMs, reinforcing their tuning feasibility.

The RB26DETT, when adequately tuned, can surpass the 500 hp mark, a testament to its engineering brilliance and tuning headroom.

Noteworthy Models Featuring RB Engines

Nissan’s RB engines have powered some of the most significant performance cars ever to come from Japan, notably influencing car culture and motorsport.

The Impact of Skyline GT-R on Car Culture

Our Favorites: Nissan Skyline GT-R Models

We celebrate the Nissan Skyline GT-R’s lineage, which is synonymous with performance and tuning potential.

The R32, introduced in 1989, redefined what a sports coupe could be, thanks to the incredible RB26DETT, a 2.6-liter twin-turbo power unit.

Its motorsport pedigree in Group A racing and its subsequent iconic status in the Gran Turismo video game series cemented the R32 as a cultural icon.

Its successors, the R33 and R34, continued to push the boundaries of Japanese engineering, with each offering improvements in power and handling.

The R34, in particular, is highly revered in the JDM space for its advanced technology and driving dynamics.

Other Vehicles Powered by RB Engines

Beyond the seminal Skyline GT-R, the RB engine has been the heartbeat of many other remarkable vehicles. Here we identify additional models that have benefited from this potent powerplant.

  • Nissan Stagea: A unique wagon that shared the AWD system and optional RB26DETT with the R33 GT-R.
  • Nissan Laurel: A luxury sedan often equipped with the RB series, making it a sleeper hit for enthusiasts.
  • Fairlady 200ZR: This Z-car variant offered the RB20DET, providing a blend of sports car aesthetics and turbocharged power.
  • Cefiro A31: An executive car that found a second life as a drift platform, commonly featuring the RB20DET and RB25DET.
  • Nismo 400R: A rare and highly sought-after modification of the R33, built by Nismo with an enhanced RB26 that pushes out a formidable 400 hp.
Did You Know? While the original power figures for many RB engines were limited to 276 hp due to the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ in Japan, real-world outputs were often higher, making these engines legends of modification.
Rate this post
Ran When Parked