Godzilla is sure to reemerge eventually, and when it does, it’ll come with jaw-dropping tech

Nissan is currently celebrating five decades of the GT-R with the debut of the 2020 GT-R 50th Edition at the 2019 New York Auto Show. While we’re happy to see Nissan paying tribute to one of the greatest Japanese sports cars of all time, you’d be forgiven for saying the automaker is dragging its feet when it comes to introducing a new generation for Godzilla. However, recent comments made by a few folks high in the Nissan corporate food chain seem to suggest that the company is indeed working to pin down exactly what the R36 will bring to the table, including electric power options, handling upgrades, and possibly even self-driving capability.

A GT-R For The Modern World Means Electrification

2017 Nissan GT-R High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The current R35-generation Nissan GT-R made its debut way back in 2007, which means it's about 12 years old at this point - practically ancient by modern standards.

That said, it’s not surprising Nissan has waited ages to introduce the R36 as a replacement. After all, it took six years for the company to introduce the current R35, and that was after the debut of a series concepts to test the waters, including the 2001 GT-R Concept and 2005 GT-R Proto Concept, both of which dropped at the Tokyo Motor Show.

2018 Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Exterior
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While we have yet to see any sort of working R36 concept, we have had all manner of special editions and updates for the R35, one of the most stunning of which was the GT-R50 prototype, a collaborative effort between Nissan and the legendary Italdesign design house.

Unfortunately, we still have nothing solid to go on when looking ahead to the R36, beyond a few rumors, speculation, and “wouldn’t it be nice” scenarios from fans, that is. However, some of that speculation is sounding quite promising.

One of the biggest lingering questions is what the R36 will get under the hood. Most expect some form of electrical assistance, and now we’re getting additional evidence to support that idea.

2017 Nissan GT-R High Resolution Drivetrain
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Top Gear recently spoke with Nissan board member Philippe Klein, who emphasized that electric drive would indeed play a major role in the upcoming GT-R’s power configuration. When asked about a next-gen GT-R, Klein replied:

“Yes, you should keep the faith, because we do! The driving experience is very high on our priority list. EVs are very fun to drive. And we’re moving our petrol powertrains to electrification with hybrid e-power. In the end we would like the regulations to take nothing away from how fun the car is to drive.”

“It’s not always easy, but this is the direction,” Klein added. "Yes, we’re still looking at the future of sports cars.”

When asked specifically about the prospect of electrical assistance in the GT-R, Kelin had this to say:

“We’re still working hard on different options. I can’t give you an answer just yet. The regulations bring a lot of concerns, so the question is how to answer these constraints and still offer a car that’s fun to drive. There are different options and we’re working on them. We’re defending the sports car.”

2017 Nissan GT-R High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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All told, the next GT-R will almost definitely be a huge update over the current model. Consider how the R35 generation introduced a new V-6 engine, a new automatic transmission, and a new all-wheel drive system without the R34’s four-wheel steering.

While some may scoff at the prospect of a hybrid GT-R, extra electric power would definitely help to complement the GT-R’s traditional torque vectoring capabilities.

What’s more, an electric motor or two would help to fill in the torque curve of a high-boost engine, spooling up a big turbo without the associated lag.

It’s true that upgrades like this add significant weight, but you have to consider the GT-R is already rather portly (the current GT-R tips the scales at 3,836 pounds), so we doubt adding an electric drive system would spoil the fun.

Could Self-Driving Tech be part of the Equation?

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Most of you out there are probably on board with a hybrid GT-R, given it comes with the right power numbers and high levels of driver engagement. But what if Nissan made the GT-R capable of driving itself?

According to Richard Candler, an engineer at the Global Advanced Planning department at Nissan, autonomous tech could very well become part of the equation for the R36. Candler spoke with Top Gear on the issue, who had this to say:

“I like to think about turning up to the Nürburgring in your GT-R, and being able to select one of the famous laps and the car just taking over. The latest Nismo did 7 minutes, 8 seconds with Michael Krumm at the wheel; you could just select the Michael Krumm setting, and you’re launched round the track. Something that most people could never achieve suddenly becomes very accessible.”

The GT-R has long been a top-shelf sports car that anyone could climb into and post an impressive lap time. And although it sounds sacrilege, autonomous tech could be the natural evolution of that.

2017 Nissan GT-R High Resolution Exterior
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What’s more, the tech could provide an automated driving coach to help you lower your lap times, or even save your hide if you happen to muck it up. We’re imagining some kind of augmented reality setting that displays the proper line around a corner on the windshield, with red arrows indicating that you need to brake, and green arrows indicating you could speed up, similar to the easy setting on driving games like Forza Motorsport.

A Gorgeous 1990 Nissan Skyline GT-R Up For Sale
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It seems a bit nutty, but in reality, the GT-R has long been about crazy technology.

When the R32 was introduced, its high-tech ATTESA all-wheel drive system helped it dominate at the track - so much so, the GT-R was banned from Australian Touring Car racing.

Is electric power and autonomous tech the next step in this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

2020 Nissan GT-R Performance Specs
Engine Twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6
Horsepower 562 hp @ 6,800 rpm
Torque 467 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission Six-speed dual-clutch automatic
0-60 mph 2.9 seconds
Top Speed 195 mph

Further Reading

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

2018 Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan GT-R50 By Italdesign.

A Gorgeous 1990 Nissan Skyline GT-R Up For Sale
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A Gorgeous 1990 Nissan Skyline GT-R Up For Sale

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

Source: Top Gear

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