During the Nissan Titan's unveiling at the New York show, all eyes were on the expected Titan gasoline models, the slightly smaller and more standard fare full-sized pickup promised for the new-generation Titan. A surprise was the unveiling of a Titan XD gasoline as well, in all its imposing glory.

The Nissan Titan XD with its Cummins diesel powerplant is a beast of a truck, mixing the power of a heavy-duty pickup with the capability and economy of a half-ton. It was fully expected that the XD moniker and its Titan size would remain exclusive to that big diesel option. So when Nissan unveiled the Titan XD with an 8-cylinder gasoline option as another heavy-duty half-ton option, our eyes widened.

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD gasoline will come in both 4x2 and 4x4 models equipped with a Crew Cab (four-door) as the first (and possibly only) body option. Joining the big V8 turbodiesel in the line will be a specially-tuned 5.6-liter V8 gasoline engine option. This engine is very similar to the big V8 powering the standard Titan models as well as several other trucks and SUVs in the Nissan and Infiniti lines. Produced in Tennessee for the assembly plant in Mississippi, these engines are coupled to a 7-speed automatic transmission with downshift rev matching and adaptive shift control for better towing and performance.

Pricing for the Titan XD gasoline will begin at about US$35,000 with four trim levels in either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The four-wheel drive only Pro-4X package will also be offered. The topmost 2016 Titan XD Platinum Reserve 4x4 rings in at $55,520.

The Titan XD gasoline model's 5.6-liter V8 uses variable valve event and lift and direct injection with four valves per cylinder. It's rated at 390 horsepower (291 kW) at 5,800 rpm and 401 pound-feet (544 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm. The previous generation V8 in the Titan produced 317 hp and 385 lb-ft. Compression in the new engine is 11.2:1 thanks to a new piston design and direct injection gas (DIG). This improves both output and efficiency.

On the outside, in terms of body styling, the Titan XD gasoline will have little differentiation from the XD diesel. The absence of the Cummins Turbodiesel plates on the front fenders (replaced with similar-sized V8 Endurance plates) and smaller exhaust tips will be the only obvious changes.

The list of advanced technology and safety offerings given on the Titan XD diesel version will continue in the Titan XD gasoline as well. Highlights include an integrated trailer brake control, sway control and tow/haul mode with downhill speed control, and a trailer light check system operated from the keyfob remote.

View gallery - 5 images