We can expect a “brick”. A really, really fast “brick”.

The Nissan R35 GT-R has been roaming the earth and its darker corners for more than ten years. Considering that the usual life cycle for a car is six or seven years at the most, the R35 GT-R is overdue for a successor. It shows too. The car itself cannot find more than 50 or 60 new buyers each month in the U.S. Things are not looking much better in Japan either, however, Nissan doesn’t seem to be in a rush to reveal a replacement. Latest rumors from the company suggest we will see the next-gen R36 Nissan GT-R sometime in the early 2020s. The car is apparently on the drawing boards, with the engineers now doing their magic to contemplate what the new Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa called “the fastest super sports car in the world.”

It May Be That The Development Of The R36 GT-R Hit A Snag After Andy Palmer Left Nissan

Everything We Know About the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R Exclusive Renderings
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Although he never truly confirmed it, he was rather sure that the next Nissan GT-R will be a hybrid.

Back in 2014, the automotive world was swept with the news, announcements, and comments about the next-gen R36 GT-R. Many motoring journals published interviews with Nissan bosses, some even cited hidden sources within the company, but one name stood out - the name of Andy Palmer, then Executive Vice President, who spoke out more than once about the new Nissan GT-R. Although he never truly confirmed it, he was rather sure that the next Nissan GT-R will be a hybrid.

Responding to journalists’ question “Will the next one [GT-R] be a hybrid?”, Andy Palmer noted in 2014:

“We’ve registered the trademark “R-Hybrid,” so I guess you’d have to say there’s some logical thinking there. But look, I think if you look at a hybrid through the lens of a performance enhancement, rather than as a pure means of saving fuel, it actually makes a lot of sense.”

Then, out of the blue, Andy Palmer left the company to become Chief Executive Officer at Aston Martin in October 2014. Obviously, he grabbed the opportunity, but it seems like Nissan actually continued with the GT-R development as per Andy Palmer’s idea.

Andy Palmer Era, Nissan GT-R Rumors And Development

2014 Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo High Resolution Exterior
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According to some sources of the time, the car represented the design language that the new Nissan GT-R will adopt.

Bear in mind that the Nissan GT-R is a halo car for the company. It cost a ton in development, and it is hard to make a return on investment with, what is, after all, just a low-production car. That said, Andy Palmer was rather eager to be part of the development team for the new car. It was under his leadership that the 2014 Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo appeared. It is a virtual car designed to appear in the Gran Turismo game. Nissan went a bit further and made a real-life model too.

According to some sources of the time, the car represented the design language that the new Nissan GT-R will adopt. Well, fast forward to 2018 and Lord March’s Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb. A one-off Italdesign designed GT-R50 zoomed up the hill showing its sexy body to the crowds. It had many styling cues of the virtual Concept 2020 Vision. Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan Senior Vice President for Global Design, said when unveiling the car: "This is a rare window in time when two big moments intersect: 50 years of Italdesign shaping the automotive world and 50 years of Nissan generating excitement through our iconic GT-R. So to celebrate this convergence, Nissan and Italdesign created this custom GT-R to mark 50 years of engineering leadership."

Of course, he did not mention the Concept 2020 Vision, but I would not be surprised if the GT-R50 was made to take the Concept 2020 Vision into real life and finish with it. See, in 2014 and in 2015, the Concept 2020 Vision was our look into the next GT-R. Not the only one though. Back then, Nissan developed a special LMP1 GT-R endurance racer. That odd one with a FWD, hybrid system and a 3.0-liter, turbocharged, V-6 failed miserably at the Le Mans race. Regardless of its catastrophic results, that car apparently was an ancestor to the R36 Nissan GT-R. It was a hybrid.

2014 Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo High Resolution Exterior
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Some sources from within the company actually noted that the next-gen car will continue with the 3.8-liter, albeit assisted with an electric motor.

“The 3.0-litre V6 [from the LMP1 car] is a sort of god-child of the true, road-going GT-R,” Ben Bowlby, Leader of the whole LMP1 program said. “It is truly an early ancestor of what will be a future Nissan GT-R engine,” he commented.

Obviously, the Concept 2020 Vision, Andy Palmer’s enthusiasm, the R-hybrid name registration and the whole LMP1 GT-R program all pointed in one direction - the GT-R R36 was on the drawing boards and in early development. I am positive. Shiro Nakamura, then Nissan’s Chief Creative Officer and now Senior Vice President of Nissan Motor Co., said that the new Nissan GT-R will be a hybrid. Obviously, these are some bold claims from the very top of the company. While the LMP1 development car was sort of a testbed for the new hybrid technology, some sources from within the company actually noted that the next-gen car will continue with the 3.8-liter, albeit assisted with an electric motor. Someone even mentioned a horsepower figure of 784 horsepower. This is hard to believe, to say the least.

Alfonso Albaisa Era And The R36 Nissan GT-R

Everything We Know About the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R Exterior
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s the 710 horsepower GT-R50 is out and people are actually turning up to spend more than $1 mil to acquire one, Albaisa spilled a few beans about the next-gen Nissan GT-R.

The Nissan GT-R50 may be the most extreme interpretation of the GT-R ideology, and it did surface with Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan Design Chief at the helm. This guy definitely has his fingers involved in the GT-R50 development despite it being an Italdesign project.

"The GT-R50 is not the next GT-R," Albaisa told Indian Autos Blog. "It’s a celebration about the people behind GT-R. They are really not concept cars; they are collector cars."

Now, as the 710 horsepower GT-R50 is out and people are actually turning up to spend more than $1 mil to acquire one, Albaisa spilled a few beans about the next-gen Nissan GT-R.

Let me tell you right away; it is a completely different story compared to what we had heard a few years ago. It seems that soon after Nissan closed that LMP1 GT-R program in December 2015, talks about the next Nissan GT-R started all over again. In recent talks with the British press, Albaisa noted that the GT-R50 special edition does not hint at the new car. The new GT-R “has to be its own special car.” He added that the next GT-R has to be “the fastest super sports car in the world.” Nice play of words there. While one might think Albaisa wanted to compare it with the likes of Ferraris and Lambos, I think he hinted the GT-R will be faster than the Corvette, the F-Type, 911, and its likeness. Nothing wrong there now is there?

Everything We Know About the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R Exclusive Renderings
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All the development, decisions, or resolutions taken with Andy Palmer on board were disregarded or reevaluated at the very least

The process of development seems to have just started. Albaisa admitted he is looking at sketches all day long, but the end result and the looks of the car will be dictated by the drivetrain and the technology included within the package. In other words, Nissan still does not have a clue what will power the R36 GT-R. Obviously, all the development, decisions, or resolutions taken with Andy Palmer on board were disregarded or reevaluated at the very least. While Nakamura was sure the new Nissan GT-R will be a hybrid, Albaisa isn’t.

“Whether we go to a lot of electrification or none at all, we can achieve a lot power-wise,” he said. “But we are definitely making a new ‘platform,’ and our goal is clear: the GT-R has to be the quickest car of its kind. It has to ‘own’ the track. And it has to play the advanced technology game, but that doesn’t mean it has to be electric.”

Now, I was thinking a bit about this new platform. What does that mean? The GT-R could be a hybrid, it could gain some super advanced aerodynamics, or it could go all lightweight. Well, it is certain that it won’t go, lightweight. Even all the way back in 2014 Nakamura said that the car will remain in much the same weight ballpark of just under 4,000 lbs. Now, Albaisa compared it with a brick.

“I’m a GT-R, I’m a brick, catch me,” Albasia humorously remarked.

Everything We Know About the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R
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As with all previous versions of the GT-R, the new one has to do one thing better than all other fast cars.

Brick isn’t something you’d associate with the words lightweight, or aerodynamic. Obviously, the GT-R isn’t focused on either of these things. It is, however, focused to be planted, extremely quick and fast, and better suited for track tasks than any Nissan GT-R that came before it. In my mind, lightweight and non-bricky aero are essential for that, but I am not working in Nissan as an engineer, so I am sure they know what they are doing. Plus, the team has to take into account the needs and demands of the people who actually buy these cars.

“It’s an animal; it has to be imposing and excessive. Not in terms of its wings, but rather its visual mass, its presence, and its audacity,”, Albaisa said to Autocar. Obviously, the new GT-R won’t be a small or athletic car. It will be more of a heavy lifter with the grunt of a champion and speed to match that character. Again, a brick seems to be the best possible word to explain the nature of the upcoming car.

As with all previous versions of the GT-R, the new one has to do one thing better than all other fast cars. Be affordable. See, the Nissan GT-R made a habit of being much more affordable than the cars one can, realistically, compare its performance with. Adding the lightweight, possibly carbon fiber pieces, an engine built of kryptonite, and a suspension trickled with unobtanium ups the price to levels of insanity.
That is not how the GT-R rolls.

Nissan Will Honor Us With The GT-R Concept

In his talks with the Indian Auto Blog, Albaisa noted that Nissan intends to release a concept version of the new GT-R. Unfortunately, he did not specify the time of its release, but at least we know what to expect.

Conclusion

Everything We Know About the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R Exclusive Renderings
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Nissan take on the new GT-R has definitely shifted since Andy Palmer left the company. He did set the wheels in motion, probably trying to make the most of the GT-R badge, but with his departure to Aston Martin, the discontinuation of the GT-R LMP1 Nismo racing team, and introduction of Alfonso Albaisa, the R36 GT-R project definitely took a different turn. Sure, Palmer is a proven car guy, but I think that Albaisa (and of course the rest of the team) shares his enthusiasm in creating something spectacular. After all, stating that they intend to build the fastest super sports car in the world says a thing or two. I will go out on a limb here and say that the next-gen Nissan GT-R will try to get into “sixes” at the Nurburgring. Right now, the fastest one on the Green hell is the Nissan GT-R Nismo with the time of 7 minutes and 8.68 seconds. I am positive that the new Nissan GT-R, with or without a hybrid system, will get into sixes. At least to troll the likes of the Huracan and its company.

Heck, now I can’t wait to see that concept and learn more about the Nissan GT-R R36.

Further reading

Everything We Know About the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R Exclusive Renderings
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Read our full speculative review on the next-generation Nissan GT-R.

Everything We Know About the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign.

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

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

2014 Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2014 Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo.

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Read more Nissan news.

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