The head of Nissan in Australia has suggested that if a high-performance Navara Nismo were to get the green light, it would employ a petrol engine rather than a diesel unit.

Speaking to drive.com.au, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester emphasised that while a high-powered version of the Navara was by no means signed off, it was something he was pushing for. And if it saw the light of day, he promised it would be a proper performance machine.

"For connoisseurs of performance vehicles, as Australians are, there is no pulling the wool over their eyes – it has to be fit for purpose and true to form," Lester told the publication, seemingly taking a swipe at the Ford Ranger Raptor, which is powered by a 2,0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine.

"There is no official status of Nismo and Navara. What we have said and will continue to discuss internally is our desire to see a performance model based on Navara. Our view is there is a market demand there and we would love to see Nissan bring that to life," he added.

Lester went on to suggest that were a performance variant to be signed off, it would likely use a petrol engine (unlike the diesel-powered Raptor, Volkswagen Amarok V6 and Mercedes-Benz X350d).

"I can’t speculate on the engines, but I would say that it lends itself towards a petrol engine in that sense but I will leave that, ultimately, in the hands of the engineers," Lester revealed.

"What would get Australians excited, in my view, is real performance numbers and real performance capability – where the rubber meets the road is equally as important as what it says on paper.

"We have to look at what the capabilities would deliver out of the power plant to understand where that is going to fit in and then decide on that direction."