There’s no better way to celebrate Godzilla’s 50th birthday than by bridging the past with the future

Fifty years ago, Nissan introduced the Skyline as a four-door sedan in its home market of Japan. Nobody knew it at that time, Nissan included, but in the course of the next half-century, The Skyline would give birth to what is arguably the most iconic Japanese supercar of all time, Godzilla itself, the Nissan GT-R. Nissan is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the GT-R’s roots with the debut of the Nissan 50th Anniversary GT-R at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The 50th Anniversary GT-R isn’t a special edition model in the traditional sense. Instead, Nissan is offering the anniversary treatment in the form of an appearance package for the 2020 GT-R. Nissan has yet to release pricing and availability options for the 50th Anniversary GT-R, but seeing as the model is making its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show, it’s safe to say that we’re going to get our hands on the model, or at least the appearance package that turns the GT-R into the 50th Anniversary model.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Edition

The 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Edition Honors the GT-R Legacy in All the Right Ways
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If there’s a model that deserves to be celebrated for being around for 50 years, it’s the Nissan GT-R. The nameplate’s history is a bit complicated, but that’s only because the GT-R didn’t start out as a model of its own. Instead, it was used as a derivative of the Nissan Skyline, which debuted 12 years earlier than the GT-R name did. It was 1969 when the first GT-R Skyline appeared. Internally, it was called the PGC-10, though the coupé version, which debuted a year later, carried the codename KPGC-10. From the beginning, the GT-R name was associated with performance.

The first model only used a 2.0-liter inline-six engine that produced 160 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque.

It’s a modest output for our standards today, but back then, it was enough to propel the GT-R Skyline to more than 50 racing victories in the first three years of its existence.

Since then, the GT-R name has become synonymous with power and performance, even if it wasn’t until 2007 when Nissan decided to separate the GT-R from the Skyline and turn the former into its own model. That’s when Godzilla was born.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Edition Honors the GT-R Legacy in All the Right Ways
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Complicated history notwithstanding, the Nissan GT-R deserves all the praise and adulation that’s thrown its way.

It helped make Nissan relevant and, more importantly, a known commodity, in the world of high-priced exotics and go-faster performance cars. It helped break barriers by challenging the perception that Japanese performance cars couldn’t compete with their American and European counterparts. The Nissan GT-R changed the narrative on what a Japanese sports car should be, and it did so by punching the snooty Germans and the high-brow Italians in the mouth.

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So, here we are. Nissan is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the GT-R with an appearance package that pays homage to the nameplate’s history. On the surface, there’s nothing fancy about the package, and for you to even have the chance to get the package, you’ll have to buy the 2020 Nissan GT-R first. If you were keen on doing so anyway, then there shouldn’t be any problems. Anyway, the three color options include Pearl White with red stripes, Super Silver with white stripes, and Bayside Blue with white stripes.

This is where the 50th Anniversary package takes a life of its own, particularly with the Bayside Blue color option, which Nissan hasn’t used since retiring the legendary Skyline GT-R “R34” model in 2002.

Remember the Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 that Paul Walker drove in Fast and Furious 4? It wore the same Bayside Blue color. The significance of this specific color is bolstered by the complicated process from which it’s made. According to Nissan, achieving the vivid blue of this specific color can only be achieved through a “fur-coat, double-heat treatment process.” Sounds complicated, right? It probably is.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Edition Honors the GT-R Legacy in All the Right Ways
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Outside of the return of the Bayside Blue color, the 50th Anniversary package also comes with upgrades for the 2020 GT-R’s interior.

The cabin is finished in a special gray interior color scheme, which adds a touch of luxury to the otherwise primal supercar.

A unique steering wheel is also part of the package, as is a special shift knob trim that’s only available on the 50th Anniversary GT-R. Special embossed seats are also included, as well as an Alcantara headliner with its own unique stitching and Alcantara-wrapped sun visors.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Edition Honors the GT-R Legacy in All the Right Ways
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The 50th Anniversary package does not come with any engine upgrades, but since it is available on the 2020 Nissan GT-R, performance improvements are on the table, though not from where you usually see them. Power still comes from a 3.8-liter V-6 engine that produces 565 horsepower and 467 pound-feet of torque. The good news is that the V-6 unit benefits from new turbochargers, which helps create better low-end torque response to go with a five-percent increase in engine efficiency. The improved low-end torque response from the V-6 engine means faster acceleration for the GT-R. Combine that with the expected weight savings from a bevy of carbon fiber parts — Nissan says the 2020 GT-R is higher by around 60 pounds compared to its predecessor — and the 2020 GT-R could make mincemeat of its predecessor’s 2.9-second, 0-to-60-mph acceleration time.

2020 Nissan GT-R drivetrain specifications
Engine 3.8-liter V-6
Horsepower 565 HP @ 6,800 RPM
Torque 467 LB-FT @ 3,300 –5,800 RPM
Bore & stroke (mm) 95.5 x 88.4 (Plasma sprayed bore)
Compression ratio (:1) 9.0
0 to 60 mph 2.9 seconds
The Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition sounds great on paper.

The name fits and the tribute to its anniversary is well-deserved. But far too often, special edition models end up not living up to the stature they’re given. That’s not going to be a problem with the GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition. By sheer looks and expected performance upticks, this is one of the rare anniversary model that should have no problem selling out, at least once Nissan announces when it’ll be available.

Further reading

2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Nissan GT-R Nismo.

2017 Nissan GT-R High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2019 Nissan GT-R.

Few vehicles in the world can be instantly identified by just three letters. But to motoring enthusiasts everywhere, "GT-R" has become synonymous with excitement, high performance and unparalleled refinement.

Making its debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, the 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition takes the nameplate to a level that was unimaginable when it was first introduced 50 years ago. To celebrate the half-century of the GT-R, engineers challenged themselves to find undiscovered performance potential while still making sure the car can be enjoyed by drivers at any level.

"A GT-R is about total balance management," said Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist for the GT-R. "It is not about chasing a power figures, but creating a new GT-R, where no aspect has been overlooked. This is appropriate to celebrate the GT-R 50th anniversary."

A 50th Anniversary Celebration

The 2020 Nissan GT-R will come in three trim levels in most markets: GT-R Premium, GT-R Track Edition and GT-R NISMO. In select regions, there will also be the Pure, Prestige and Black models, but it is the 50th Anniversary Edition that truly celebrates the GT-R’s rich heritage.

The special edition car will come in three heritage-era, two-tone exterior color combinations meant to represent the GT-R’s liveries from the Japan GP series – of which the original GT-R was born to dominate in. Retired since the GT-R "R34" model, Bayside (Wangan) Blue makes a return, complete with white racing stripes. A four-coat, double-heat treatment process ensures a vivid blue with striking highlights and deep shadows. Blue accents on the wheel spokes are among several fine touches made to celebrate the GT-R’s milestone. Pearl White with red stripes and Super Silver with white stripes round out the 50th Anniversary liveries.

Inside the 50th Anniversary Edition is a special gray interior color scheme, which gives the cabin a sense of luxury, reminiscent of the atmosphere of the night sky after the twilight hour (the color is also available on select other 2020 GT-R models). Additional 50th anniversary features include unique steering wheel and shift knob trim, special embossed seats, an Alcantara® headliner with unique stitching, Alcantara®-wrapped sunvisors, and more.

"The Nissan GT-R has been the icon of our company’s driving performance for the past half century," said Shinichiro Irie, program design director for the GT-R. "We were highly motivated to ensure that the GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition stands out. While the exterior and interior changes may seem subtle at first glance, they’re still impactful, especially with the new paint schemes, keeping the car’s lines and overall presence modern and edgy."

Upgraded performance, born from racing

While many believed that the refinement and performance of the GT-R’s 565-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine – each handcrafted by its own takumi technician – were so high that there was no room for improvement, the car’s engineers had a few tricks up their sleeves. Among them was incorporating new turbochargers, which help increase the engine’s low rpm response due to an abradable seal, providing tighter clearances and a 5% increase in efficiency. Overall, they provide even sharper engine response in and out of corners, making the driving experience more rewarding and richer than ever before. The exhaust manifolds, inspired by racing technology, have optimized turbo flange attachment points, which allow for easier servicing and potential tuning, without touching the exhaust manifold.

GT-R features a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission with a refined "R mode," made for both road and track. It features more aggressive downshifts to better anticipate swift cornering exits, with gear selection happening during ABS engagement, resulting in reduced understeer and a more driver-intuitive feeling. The adaptive shift control is programmed to change shift schedules to fit the user’s driving style, making it possible to drive according to the law on public roads, with full brute force available on the race track, without needing to manually change shift modes (in A mode/R mode).

The GT-R’s signature exhaust note is the product of a new titanium muffler, featuring titanium finishers with burnished blue tips.

The electronically controlled suspension has been tuned to provide better cornering stability and a smoother ride. The steering is more linear and precise than ever, requiring minimal corrections at speeds of up to 186.4 mph (300 kph). A new brake booster increases the initial braking response by engaging with less pedal stroke, resulting in enhanced stopping power and feel.

A cabin worthy of GT-R

The GT-R’s cabin represents the ideal blend of luxury and sport. The distinct driver-oriented cockpit has comfortable yet supportive seats for both front and rear passengers. The dashboard is designed to convey a "horizontal flow," delivering a sense of high stability for front seat occupants. It comes wrapped in a single, seamless piece of hand-selected Nappa leather, artfully stitched with takumi-style precision. The center dashboard integrates navigation and audio controls and an 8-inch capacitive touch-panel monitor. The large icons on the display screen inform the driving experience without distracting from it.

Mounted to the sporty steering wheel are shift paddles that allow drivers to change gears in mid-turn without taking their hands off the wheel.

All 2020 Nissan GT-Rs come with the NissanConnectSM integrated audio, navigation and communication system in select markets. It allows users to remotely lock or unlock the doors, activate the alarm, summon emergency services or track the car’s whereabouts using smartphone apps.

A revised 2020 GT-R Track Edition

For those inclined to take their GT-R to a race circuit, Nissan offers the revised and very potent 2020 Track Edition, which comes with an optional carbon fiber roof that sports a clean, tight weave made possible by a new construction process.

The engine (for U.S. models) is borrowed from the famed GT-R NISMO, with newly redesigned turbochargers from the latest GT3 series GT-R race car. This results in a 20% increase in pedal-down acceleration reaction time and 600 horsepower.

Optional on the Track Edition are special Brembo carbon ceramic rotors and calipers. Made of carbon and silica carbide, the rotors – 16.1 inches (410 mm) front and 15.3 inches (390 mm) rear – are nearly as hard as diamonds. Paired with the performance brake pads, they generate more friction, which translates into better feel and control in all types of braking situations.

"With the 2020 GT-R, we kept to the car’s concept – pursuing ultimate driving pleasure," said Tamura. "Once you take hold of the steering wheel, you will immediately know that no other car in the world delivers as much satisfaction to the driver, both physically and spiritually."

2020 GT-R specifications (U.S. spec)

Premium

Track Edition

Engine

VR38DETT, V6 Twin-Turbo charged DOHC

Displacement

3.8L

Horsepower

565 hp

600 hp

Torque

467 lb-ft /3300-5800 rpm

481 lb-ft /3600-5600 rpm

Overall length

185.4 in. / 4710 mm

Overall width

74.6 in. / 1895 mm

Overall height

53.9 in. / 1370 mm

Wheelbase

109.4 in. / 2780 mm

About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and INFINITI vehicles can be found online at www.nissanusa.com and www.infinitiusa.com, or visit the U.S. media sites nissannews.com and infinitinews.com.

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