The ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan

While it might be a world-class performance icon, the Nissan GT-R was never really considered “pretty.” However, that all changes with the introduction of the one-off GT-R50 prototype, a collaborative effort between Nissan and the legendary Italian design house, Italdesign. Built to commemorate the overlapping 50th anniversary of both the Skyline GT-R nameplate and the birth of Italdesign, the GT-R50 is rolling eye candy laid atop an engineering masterpiece, bringing form and function into stunning harmony.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign.

Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Exterior Styling

- * Based on 2018 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- * Enhances original design
- * Grey/gold color scheme looks slick as hell
- * Revised front to back
- * LED lighting
- * Lower, longer, wider than before
- * 21-inch wheels

Up front, the traditional Godzilla fascia gets restyled into a clean-looking single intake ringed in gold.

Unsurprisingly, Italdesign wasted no time in completely revamping the exterior aesthetic for this performance monster. The GT-R50 is based on a production 2018 Nissan GT-R Nismo model, but
Italdesign took responsibility for developing, engineering, and building the final product. Meanwhile, the design itself was penned by Nissan’s design teams in Europe and the U.S.

The first thing to jump out at us is the smokey and bright dual-color scheme, which Nissan says combines a hue dubbed Liquid Kinetic Gray with a slew of Energetic Sigma Gold accents.

Up front, the traditional Godzilla fascia gets restyled into a clean-looking single intake ringed with gold. The coloring visually decreases the intake’s volume, while also making it appear wider and flatter than before. Side intakes rise vertically in the corners, leading to thin, reshaped headlight housings with LED lighting elements. The hood also gains gold elements for the twin intakes, and there are new sinew lines to add extra visual muscle to it.

Viewed from the side, the GT-R50 looks lower and meaner thanks to a 54 mm (2.1-inch) chop to the roof. The roof also gets a lower center section and raised outer sections, giving it the hint of a double-bubble design. A vertical “samurai blade” design is used for the fender vents placed behind the front wheels, and they are more pronounced thanks to the inclusion of a gold inlay. The long window line leads the eye rearwards to a coupe-like slant for the roof, while in the corners, the wheels are sized at 21 inches in diameter, as well as 10 inches in width for the front and 10.5 inches in width for the rear. Under the open wheel design, there are upgraded brake calipers painted in a bright shade of red.

2018 Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Exterior
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There’s gold applied to the underside of the spoiler as well, which rises from the trunk lid on top of two electronically activated carbon fiber stalks.

Moving towards the rear, we find the gold color scheme is used much more prominently, with the hue applied across almost the entirety of the tail section. There’s gold applied to the underside of the spoiler as well, which rises from the trunk lid on top of two electronically activated carbon fiber stalks.

We think it looks fantastic, and we’re also loving the roof-mounted brake light attached to the trailing-edge shark fin. Final touches include flared rear arches, plus a fresh set of dual rounded taillights with a “floating” design.

Overall, we think the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign is simply stunning, catapulting the Japanese icon from merely functional, to drop-dead gorgeous. The paint works wonders in enhancing the new lines, and although it looks like an entirely new car, it’s still easily recognizable as a GT-R. Well done!

Finally, the fresh body panels give the GT-R50 a new set of exterior dimensions, which you can see side-by-side with those of the standard GT-R Nismo below. Overall, the GT-R50 is longer, wider, and shorter than its production sibling.

Exterior Dimensions Nissan GT-R50 Nissan GT-R Nismo
Overall Length 188.3 inches (+3.7 inches) 184.6 inches
Overall Width 78.4 inches (+3.8 inches) 74.6 inches
Overall Height 51.8 inches (-2.1 inches) 53.9 inches
Wheelbase 109.4 inches (identical) 109.4 inches

Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Interior Design

- * Upgraded with new aesthetic inside as well
- * Two types of carbon trim
- * More gold trim
- * Italian leather and Alcantara upholstery
- * New gauges, door panels, and air vents
- * New custom steering wheel
- * Race-inspired switchgear

2018 Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Interior
- image 785405
To help it match the exterior, the GT-R50 also incorporates gold accents on the instrument panel, doors, and switchgear.

Like the exterior, the interior design was also penned by Nissan’s design teams in Europe and the U.S., and although the visual transformation might not be as dramatic as the exterior, there’s still some very nice touches to make the GT-R50’s cabin unique.

First up, there are new materials throughout, with several components redone in two types of carbon fiber. You can find the composites applied to the center console, the instrument panel, and the door linings. There’ also black Alcantara and black Italian leather for the seats.

To help it match the exterior, the GT-R50 also incorporates gold accents on the instrument panel, doors, and switchgear, the latter of which gets a race car-inspired design. Ditching the Nismo’s standard infotainment system and digital screen, the GT-R50’s center console is far cleaner and attractive, and the same can be said of the dash, which comes with a simplified swath of carbon and handsome gold-accented air vents. Even the door panels look much improved by the simplified design scheme, while the gauge cluster is replaced by a single digital race-style readout.

2018 Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Interior
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Ditching the Nismo’s standard infotainment system and digital screen, the GT-R50’s center console is far cleaner and attractive.

Anyone lucky enough to find themselves in the hot seat will grab a fresh, bespoke steering wheel, which offers a custom central hub and spokes, both of which are constructed from carbon fiber. The steering wheel’s rim gets a slightly flattened bottom, while the hand grips are once again finished in Alcantara.

Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Drivetrain And Performance

- * Twin-turbo 3.8-liter VR38DETT V-6
- * Tuned to produce 710 hp and 575 pound-feet
- * GT3-spec turbos
- * Loads of supporting mods
- * Upgraded drivetrain
- * New brakes
- * New adaptive suspension
- * Michelin tires

2018 Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Exterior
- image 785413
Output from the handcrafted V-6 gets a sizable boost, and it now produces 710 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque.

Much like its production-based sibling, the mechanical bits motivating the GT-R50 include the twin-turbo 3.8-liter VR38DETT V-6 powerplant. However, output from this handcrafted lump-of-go was massaged to produce much more than the standard model’s 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque, and it now lays down a whopping 710 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque.

Nissan says it drew on its GT3 racing experience to accomplish the impressive gains, throwing in large-diameter, GT3 competition-spec turbos, which feed the pressurized charge through a set of upsized intercoolers. Further upgrades include a heavy-duty crankshaft, new pistons, new connecting rods and bearings, high-flow oil jets, a revised cam profile, high-flow fuel injectors, and an optimized ignition, intake, and exhaust system.

Adding extra grunt is all well and good, but Nissan smartly decided to upgrade the rest of the package to match, tossing in a burlier dual-clutch six-speed sequential rear transaxle, as well as meatier differentials and drive shafts. All told, the GT-R50 should have no problem laying down its extra 110 ponies.

2018 Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Exterior
- image 785411
All told, the GT-R50 should have no problem laying down its extra 110 ponies.

On the handling front, the suspension gains a new DampTronic I continuously adjustable damping system from Bilstein. The brakes come from Brembo, and incorporate six-pot calipers in front and four-pot calipers in the rear, with the disc sizes measured at 390 mm (15.6 inches) by 32.6 mm (1.3 inches) in front and 380 mm (15 inches) by 30 mm (1.2 inches) in the rear.

Finally, Michelin provides the stick, wrapping the 21-inch wheels with Pilot Super Sport tires sized at 255/35 up front and 285/30 in the rear.

Performance And Drivetrain Nissan GT-R50
Engine Twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6
Horsepower 710 hp @ 7,100 rpm
Torque 575 pound-feet @ 3,600 rpm
Drivetrain Layout Front-/mid-engine, AWD
Transmission Reinforced dual-clutch sequential 6-speed
Suspension Bilstein DampTronic I
Brakes Brembo 6-pot front, Brembo 4-pot rear
Wheels 21 inches by 10 inches front, 21 inches by 10.5 inches rear
Tire Compound Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Tire Size 255/35R21 front, 285/30R21 rear

Final Thoughts

2018 Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Exterior
- image 785415
This thing has all the stuff we love about the Nissan GT-R, but ups the ante with jaw-dropping aesthetics.

All told, we’re totally smitten by this thing. It’s got all the stuff we love about the Nissan GT-R, such as high-tech performance parts, a no-nonsense attitude, and insane power levels, but to this rather lofty base line, the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign ups the ante with some truly jaw-dropping aesthetics.

“How often do you get to ask, ‘What if we created a GT-R without limits,’ and then actually get to build it?” asked Nissan’s senior vice president for global design, Alfonso Albaisa. “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 though our iconic GT-R. So to celebrate this convergence, Nissan and Italdesign created this custom GT-R to mark 50 years of engineering leadership.”

The Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign will make its big public debut in Europe next month.

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Further Reading

2017 Nissan GT-R High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 670401

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

2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo High Resolution Exterior
- image 677837

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

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Read more Nissan news.

Press release

Nissan and Italdesign have created a new prototype vehicle – the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign – in their first-ever collaboration.

Based on a production 2018 Nissan GT-R NISMO model, the unique car commemorates the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and Italdesign and will make its debut in Europe next month.

"How often do you get to ask, ’What if we created a GT-R without limits,’ and then actually get to build it?" said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president for global design. "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."

Italdesign developed, engineered and built the car. The distinctive, crisp exterior and interior designs were created by the teams at Nissan Design Europe in London and Nissan Design America.

Design at its best
Starting at the front, the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign features a distinct golden inner element that stretches across almost the full width of the vehicle. The hood has a more pronounced power bulge, and the thin LED headlights stretch from the wheel arch to the lip above the outer cooling intakes

Dominating the side view, the distinctive roofline has been lowered by 54 millimeters and features a lower center section, while the slightly raised outer portions give the roof profile a muscular look. The signature GT-R "samurai blade" cooling outlets behind the front wheels have gained more prominence with a gold inlay and extends from the bottom of the doors to the shoulder line.

The rear highlights the car’s wide track with taut, muscular flares around the wheels. The shoulder line tapers around the base of the rear window and draws toward the center of the trunk lid. In a dramatic fashion, the rear window line descends longer and deeper than on the standard car. Combined with more gold elements, it appears as a separate modular element of the rear structure.

The GT-R’s twin round taillights have been reimagined as a separate "floating" feature with thin light rings and hollow centers, mounted so as to join the outer buttress and the central portion of the trunk structure. A large, adjustable rear wing, mounted with two uprights, completes the overall look. Custom wheels – 21 x 10 inches in front and 21 x 10.5 inches at the rear – accentuate the car’s bold stance. The exterior is finished in Liquid Kinetic Gray paint with distinctive Energetic Sigma Gold anniversary accents.

Inside, the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign reflects its modern, high-performance pedigree. Two different carbon fiber finishes are extensively used across the center console, instrument panel and door linings, along with black Alcantara® and fine black Italian leather on the seats. Gold accents echo the exterior treatment across the instrument panel, doors and the futuristic race car-inspired switchgear. The bespoke steering wheel’s central hub and spokes are made of carbon fiber, while the rim features a flat bottom and matching Alcantara trim.

Pure performance plus
Underneath the new shape, the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign is all business. Drawing on Nissan’s GT3 racing experience, the NISMO organization enhanced the hand-assembled 3.8-liter V6 VR38DETT engine to produce an estimated 720ps and 780 Nm of torque.

Changes to the power plant include optimized twin high-flow, large-diameter GT3 competition-spec turbochargers and larger intercoolers; heavy-duty crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods and bearings; high-flow piston oil jets; revised camshaft profiles; higher-flow fuel injectors; and optimized ignition, intake and exhaust systems. A reinforced dual-clutch sequential six-speed rear transaxle and stronger differentials and drive shafts direct the power to the wheels.

A revised suspension has been developed, featuring the BILSTEIN DampTronic® I continuously adjustable damping system. For braking, the Brembo six-piston front and four-piston rear brakes feature bright red, clearly visible calipers. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, sized 255/35 R21 in the front and 285/30 R21 in the rear, add a level of grip needed to harness the engine’s power.

"Although this is not the next-generation GT-R, it is an exciting celebration of two anniversaries in a provocative and creative way – wrapping one of Nissan’s best engineering platforms and Japanese design with Italian coachbuilding," said Albaisa.

Nissan GT-R 50 by Italdesign prototype key specifications

Base vehicle

Nissan GT-R NISMO

Overall length

4784mm / 188.3 inches (Standard NISMO: 4690 mm / 184.6 in)

Overall width

1992mm / 78.4 inches (Standard NISMO: 1895 mm / 74.6 in)

Overall height

1316mm / 51.8 inches (Standard NISMO: 1370 mm / 53.9 in)

Wheelbase

2780mm / 109.4 inches (identical)

Engine

3.8-liter VR38DETT by NISMO;
720 ps (estimated) @ 7100 rpm
780 N-m (estimated) @ 3600-5600 rpm

Driveline

Mid-mounted front engine / rear transaxle ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive

Gearbox

Reinforced dual-clutch sequential 6-speed rear transaxle

Suspension

BILSTEIN DampTronic® I damping system

Brakes

Brembo, with 2-piece floating drilled disc
Front: 6-piston monoblock caliper; 390 x 32.6 mm
Rear: 4-piston monoblock caliper; 380 x 30mm

Wheels (inches)

Front: 21 x 10J
Rear: 21 x 10.5J

Tires

Michelin Pilot Super Sport; Front: 255/35 R21 Rear: 285/30 R21

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