As one of the most famous supercars on the planet, the world-wide acclaimed R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R ceased production in 1999. With massive dealer demands and GT-R enthusiasts around the world calling for a successor at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show Nissan unveiled the GT-R Concept confirming that the GT-R legend would live on. After two years of silence and a growing restless public, Nissan announced at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show that the production GT-R will be released in 2007.
The Nissan Skyline GT-R is an iconic Japanese granturismo launched more than 15 years ago. Also known as "Godzilla" it is rated as providing performance and handling equal or superior to that of European icons like the Porsche 911 and the Ferrari 360 Modena, at a considerably lower price. Back home the Skyline GTR humiliated its competitors such as the Honda NSX, Toyota Supra, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, and Mazda RX-7 until the 1999 production finish. In 2007 the “Godzilla” is coming back!
Nissan has unveiled at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show the GT-R Proto Concept, that gives an impression of what the new GT-R will look like when it will go on sale globally in 2007. The new GT-R will not derive from a sedan, it will receive its own specific body style. It is therefore probable, that recent rumors of the GT-R losing the “Skyline” part of its name will come true.
Until now, Nissan has not released technical specifications of the production model, but speculation among the media suggests that the new granturismo will carry over the ATTESA all-wheel-drive and HICAS all-wheel-steering systems of the previous Skyline GT-Rs. Both of these systems are nowadays on “less hard-core” Skyline / Infiniti G35 variants, and will most likely make it to the top-version, as well. It is also expected that the 2007 GT-R will be powered by a turbo-version of Nissan’s ubiquitous VQ35 engine-series, or a variant of the Infiniti Q45’s VK45 engine. As the GT-R has to compete with the best sports-cars globally, power-levels are expected to reach in excess of 450 hp.
As a test mule Nissan used an Infiniti G35 body-camouflage substantially modified to fit huge tires, and with a big front air-dam. The final design, as said, will be much more like the Nissan GT-R Proto concept car. The Infinity G35 Coupe was named the Skyline in Japan since 2001, but had never received an high-performance engine/drive-train and therefore never lived up to the R34 Skyline GT-R supercar status.
There have been recorded proofs of registered trademarks for the next Nissan GT-R in Japan, Australia, Europe, and Canada as well as the U.S. (the car will be sold in both right- and left-hand drive versions). It will have to overcome many new, stringent emissions laws all over the world.
Early speculation saying that Nissan will use the Infiniti name in North America for the GT-R turned out not to be true. The new Nissan was stated to be a "world car", sold in all nations in similar incarnations. At the 2006 New York Auto Show, Nissan Motor’s President CEO announced that the new GT-R will be sold in US as a Nissan model, and not under the Infiniti brand as previously rumored. The Nissan Skyline GT-R has not previously been offered for sale in North America.
It was initially speculated that the US market would receive a V8 instead of the twin-turbocharged V6. It has long been known that Cosworth has been contracted out for engine development, which suggests the new motor will be just as durable and strong as the series it will be replacing.
The production GT-R is said to debut at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show and is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in Fall 2007, followed by the U.S. and Canada in Spring 2008.
The best guess for the GT-R’s new engine would be a twin-turbocharged V6 engine eith power rumored around 450 hp. Naturally, handling will be a top priority, and has been reported that Nissan contracted Lotus to help fine-tune track performance.
As for the previous GT-Rs the new car sets as a priority to deliver the best in driving pleasure. In essence, driving pleasure refers to the fact that that a car responds faithfully to the driver’s wishes and performs precisely as expected. All generations of the GT-R have consistently pursued this vision of ultimate driving pleasure. Both on the road and on the racetrack, the GT-R have always represented the ultimate performance combined with handling qualities that stay faithful to the driver’s wishes, in all conditions. As a result to that, the Skuline GT-R has built a reputation that extends far beyond its loyal owner base.
The design language of the new GT-R will be expressed by a distinctive body-style that communicates pure performance and functionality. The form of the new GT-R is suppose to instantly expresses its purpose and potential, but in a way that is unique to this iconic car.
The exterior design of the new GT-R will be built up on elements of previous GT-Rs, being more of an evolution than a revolution. It will feature the trademark round lights in the back and a wide single center air intake in front. But the front will differ in comparison to the previous GT-R Concept due to the headlights that now flow into a lower, canted hood. The more pronounced and boldly shaped front fenders will feature air vents on their back to help cooling. Overall, the stance of the car will be more aggressive and fluid now, than it did on the 2001 GT-R Concept.
Interesting elements from the side are the wide C-Pillar and the A-Pillar integrated into the windscreen and side windows that in conjunction with a low roof suggest an aircraft canopy. The rear is dominated by the “Ferrari-like” round taillights, an underbody diffuser, and four prominent exhaust pipes - and reminds of a Ferrari 456 (except for the wing).
At the front end, the single centre air intake will optimize airflow and will strongly link the identity of the GT-R from R34 to GT-R Concept (2001). The front fenders will be uniquely designed through intensive analysis of the airflow around the tires. the air vent behind the front fender will release the brakes cooling air flow and will also optimize aerodynamics. The side of the body will be sculptured towards the rear fender, in order to further express the power and dynamic tension of the car.
The overall shape of the body will combine solid and smooth surfaces to achieve the look of a well-trained athlete. The unique C-pillar crease will improve aerodynamics and will reflect the racing DNA of the Skyline GT-R.
The purposeful look of the rear will be completed by four large-bore exhaust pipes which fit perfectly on a pure granturismo.
The Skyline name was first originated with the Prince automobile company which developed the Skyline line of sedans before merging with Nissan-Datsun. The first predecessor of the GT-R, named S54 2000 GT-B, came second in its first race in 1964 to the purpose-built Porsche 904 GTS race car.
The Skyline model range continued through the 90s when it became extremely popular because it remained rear wheel drive, while most other manufacturers’ models were front wheel drive (which didn’t allow achieving high performance in power or handling when compared to a rear-wheel drive car).
The GT-R version of the Skyline was brought back in 1989 after a 12 year pause from the Skyline GT-R of 1973. However, most of Skylines sold were not GT-R models, when the GT-R was becoming the flagship of Nissan performance. If we Consider the performance of the car, and the fact that Nissan showcased many advanced technologies in the GT-R not previously seen in mass produced vehicles, the 1989- GT-Rs remained relatively cheap. It is even rumored that they were sold at a loss. Although strange today, this attitude to marketing was common among Japanese car manufacturers of the early 1990s.
GT-R Skylines ranged from the 1990s R32 (1989), through to the R34 (1998). The production of the GT-R ceased in 1999 with the release of the Infinity G35 in 2002 (sold as the Nissan Vitesse/Skyline in Japan) which includes only non-GT-R models. Before the final R34 Skyline GT-R was sold, various packages and special editions such as the V-Spec, containing additional performance-enhancing modifications, were released by Nissan and Nismo (the performance division of Nissan)
The GT-Rs of the 1990s were equipped with a 159 cui straight six-cylinder twin-turbo motor producing 276 hp. The turbo-chargers were of made from a hybrid steel/ceramic design allowing them to spool up faster due to the light nature of the ceramic exhaust wheel.
Power was delivered to all wheels by means of an electronically-controlled 4WD system referred to by Nissan as the ATTESA system. The ATTESA system used two G-Sensors mounted underneath the centre console, which fed lateral and longitudinal inputs to the ECU. The ECU then controlled the feed of power by allowing a limited amount to be delivered to the front wheels via an electronic torque split converter. V-Spec models were equipped with, a faster reacting Pro 4wd ATTESA system with adjusted ECU settings, improving over-steer considerably.
The first GT-Rs also had computer-controlled all wheel steering system referred to as the HICAS system. The HICAS system, activated when the vehicle exceeded 80 km/h, controlled the steering of the rear wheels in the same direction as the front to improve turn in on entry to corners.
Little changes are expected to be made to the production version as the 2005 GT-R Promo Concept was a major step forward from the previous GT-R Concept from 2001. We can only hope that the final product will hold dynamically what it promises aesthetically and will be as successful as the model it replces. Look for a price tag around $80,000 USD.