Nissan announced that the next generation of Nissan’s renowned GT-R performance car will be available in North America and badged as a Nissan model, consistent with its global branding. The GT-R, which was previewed in concept form as the GT-R PROTO, has not previously been offered for sale in North America. The GT-R will debut in production form at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. It is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in Fall 2007, followed by the U.S. and Canada in Spring 2008.
The car was born out of a staid line of big saloons, and turned into an adrenalised bruiser by packing it out with high-tech gadgetry so it emerged as an unlikely but entirely credible rival for 911s and Ferraris, a serial race-winner, a Nürburgring legend and a blazingly memorable road drive.
The Nissan GT-R is part car and part culture. The culture part coalesces around its almost exclusively Japanese origin and heritage: no one is better than the Japanese at getting weirdly obsessive about something, especially if it’s something the rest of the world, literally and metaphorically, doesn’t get.
"The GT-R started as a four-door Skyline saloon, very boxy. The second GT-R was a two-door coupe, and then the R32 [the first four-wheel-drive version] was still saloon-based. We wanted to maintain that GT-R DNA.
"The styling comes from the history, because the GT-R line didn’t start out as a pure sports car. Anyway, I think the slight boxiness is a Japanese characteristic. It challenges the history of European and American sports cars. In fact, the message of the new GT-R is very challenging."
The solidity and sharp lines are all part of the ’GT-R-ness’, and the Japanese origins. It’s not at all streamlined," Hasegawa says. But if not overtly streamlined, it is painstakingly aerodynamic and has spent time in the wind tunnel.
The rumors tell that the car will use some form of Nissan V6 in the VQ family. It will be based off the same award-winning VQ35DE powerplant that is used in practically every Nissan in production. It won’t be the 3.5L naturally aspirated mill that we’ve seen in the 350Z and G35. It will use a larger displacement 3.7-4.0L version of the same engine mated to a twin-turbo setup. Tuning and engineering has been done by the racing experts at Cosworth. The car will have at least 400 hp and up to 500. No torque figures have been announced.
Other performance features are, supposedly, a positive-boost turbo system. This means that the GT-R will never fall into negative boost and, like a supercharger, will always have boost available. This should make power delivery very linear, but, once again, we have yet to hear official word from the PR machine at Nissan. The last bit of vital info to the GT-R legend is the use of a seven-speed CVT transmission with an all-wheel drive system. This seems an obvious choice, except for the seven-speed tranny.
An 8-speed automatic gearbox is one of the rumoured items to be making its debut, as are magnetic valves, but it’s been so long between drinks for the GT-R that there are sure to be more surprises in store.
Exterior design is vastly different than that of the Infiniti, at least in the current GT-R Proto and for the first time the car will not only be sold globally, but will not simply be a reclad and redone Skyline.
The new GT-R looks like a direct evolution of the GT-R Concept we saw four years ago. Not much has changed on the vertically-oriented headlights, but that was one of the best features in the previous concept. The front-end is decidedly GT-R with a lot of race-inspired treatment. Whether or not the production vehicle will feature the pricey material, carbon fiber, is up in the air. On this new concept the contrast is magnificent and much of the fascia is undoubtedly for aerodynamics versus simple design. Function rules over form here, but we still get perfect lines. Count them, the GT-R Proto has seven inlets not including the ones found on the hood. They could be very-well routed to introduce cold air into twin oil and intercoolers along with a large radiator. The center air damn is probably used to push as much air into the engine bay as possible—plus it looks hot.
A lower front carbon fiber lip likely extends further back into a diffuser. The previous GT-R had one, this one should too. F1 teams have found this technique useful for aero-control and with so much power and touted top speeds nearing 200mph, the GT-R will need as much help as it can get. Aerodynamics are important on the GT-R, aft of the wheels, the fenders have outlets that let airflow escape behind the tires. This not only reduces unwanted drag, but is designed to help cool the large calipers.
An upgraded version, perhaps with a 32-bit processor, of the ATTESA system could be implemented in the 2007 GT-R, though the R34’s all-wheel-steering Super HICAS (the rear-wheels could be turned by 1°) system is less likely to make it into the 21st century GT-R.
Staring at the surface just increases the frustration of not knowing what’s underneath. Because the car doesn’t launch until October 2007, Nissan still refuses to divulge anything, beyond saying the mighty twin-turbo inline-six of the old R34 GT-R is deceased.