The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo is so good it could be a holy grail for car enthusiasts and car collectors in 20 years.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo, revealed at the 2019 New York Auto Show, is the latest evolutive step for the aging Godzilla. Some major hardware migrated from race spec GT-R GT3 to it and made it as good as humanly possible. It’s angrier, more impulsive at the wheel, and more capable.

After Nissan showed it in New York, I figured that the GT-R is something like an excellent phone app. There’s someone that always works on it and makes it better in what it does. Back in 2007, when we saw it for the first time, the GT-R R35 rewrote the rules of affordable performance. CarMagazine in the U.K. clocked it at 3.6 seconds in its 0-62mph attempt. In the same test, the 2008 Nissan GT-R comfortably topped 190 mph.
Eleven years later (yes, it is that old), and the 2019 Nissan GT-R Nismo can manage 62 mph in 2.7 seconds. That’s a fantastic improvement and surprising result in its own. However, 2018 was not the last year of the Nissan GT-R Nismo. Lately, Godzilla has reached its latest evolution as the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo.

I will say right now. The 2020 Nissan GT-R is the best Nissan GT-R of all time!

  • 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    300
  • Torque @ RPM:
    481 @ 3600
  • Displacement:
    3.8 L
  • Price:
    180000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.7/10

Exterior

  • Carbon Fiber Exterior Pieces Save 23 pounds
  • New aerodynamic setup for more downforce
  • New lighter wheels lower the unsprung weight
  • All-new Dunlop tires provide 11 percent bigger contact patch
  • New titanium exhaust tips
  • Tight-wave carbon pattern
2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 835997

Everything had been said about the exterior design of the Nissan GT-R. It is not exactly a looker. It is quirky, though. Even more so in its latest 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo guise. Employing knowledge gained at the racetrack with the GT-R GT3, Nismo engineers dramatically reconfigured the spoilers and various surfaces to improve downforce and aerodynamic efficiency. Sure, in true 21st-century fashion, all the added pieces have been made from carbon-fiber. Apart from the visual effect, Nismo made sure that the added parts actually lower the curb weight by 23 pounds.

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 835998

Carbon fiber pieces on the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo include:

  • Bumpers
  • Fenders
  • Roof
  • Hood
  • Rocker panel covers
  • Trunk lid
  • Rear spoiler

Newly shaped carbon-fiber panels improve downforce a bit, and, I believe, even more importantly, smooth the airflow around the automobile. With the smoother air transitions and fewer air vortexes, the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo will feel stable at high speed. In reality, this means that you will feel safer driving it fast then you have felt before. The team behind the Nissan GT-R GT3 racecar developed all aerodynamic solutions for the new GT-R Nismo.

See that vents on the fenders?

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 835993

Well, they mostly help with cooling but are also incremental for channeling the air away from the car and providing that small bubble of smooth air that forms around the GT-R Nismo at a higher speed.

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 836000

Other novelties on the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo include impressive lightweight RAYS wheels wearing "Dunlop tires with an 11-percent larger contact patch for better cornering and steering feel." Each detail has been slightly improved, finally giving the Nissan GT-R a meaner exterior look and more track capability. Honestly, I am a bit surprised about all the changes that landed on the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo. It is only now that it will come into its own at the track. It has to be quicker. If nothing because of the new tires.

Interior

  • New seats with better support
  • Same interior layout as last year’s model
  • no significant technology updates
  • needs serious updating to remain relevant
2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 836001

As much as I like all the new exterior features, Nismo did not invest as much time to reinvent the interior. Honestly, I’d like more if it did, as the shapes inside, and the whole ambiance, looks a lot more 2000’s than 2020s. The latest big update to the GT-R’s interior happened in 2016 when Nissan reimagined the infotainment system, removed a multitude of buttons from the dash, and rearranged some controls. It was a nice update, but the GT-R’s interior is ready for some fresh changes. The good thing is that the instrument cluster is as fresh as ever thanks to Gran Turismo designers.

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 836004

You will, however, sit in new seats. They are designed to provide more support for the shoulders and lower body. I believe you can spec them in more than one tone. You can see the whole interior in black and red here. It’s quite nice.

Drivetrain

  • New lighter carbon-ceramic brakes
  • New turbochargers borrowed from the racing GT-R GT3
  • New transmission setup
  • Better acceleration (0-60 in 2.5 seconds est)
2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 835990

"The 2020 GT-R NISMO has evolved into a balanced, yet extreme, performance car," said Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist for the GT-R. "Pursuing driving pleasure is the most important concept behind GT-R, and the new NISMO’s performance suggests it is a car that belongs on the race track – but is also at home on the open road."

Nismo did a lot to improve the GT-R Nismo’s track capabilities and improve the responsiveness of their halo car. A stunning number of improvements include revisions to the suspension, brakes, engine, and transmission.

Wheels and Tires

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 835992

First off, we have those new tires. Dunlop designed new tires with wider threads which improved the contact surface by 11 percent. This affects cornering. Coupled with light ceramic brakes and lighter wheels, Nismo promises more precise steering. How that plays out in the real world remains to be seen, but this along should help provide faster track times.

Brakes

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 835986

Brembo carbon ceramic discs measure 410 mm up front and 390 mm in the rear. Coupled with Brembo calipers and new fade-resistant brake pads the new brake discs considerably enhance track performance. Apart from the tires, the brakes are the next most important upgrade you can do to a track car. I feel that with shorter brake reaction time and longer durability, the brakes will provide a more comfortable ride on the street as well. In short, new brakes can brake better and save a bit of weight compared to standard units. Braking performance from 100 mph to zero should marginally improve over the 2019 Nismo,

Engine

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 835989

The most significant change to the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo is the integration of new turbochargers. Taken directly from the GT-R GT3 race car, the new turbochargers have fewer blades which improve the engine’s response. Yet, the power of the 3.8-liter remained at 600 horsepower so, despite its exceptional performance, there’s no power increase from the 2019 NIsmo. As expected, new turbochargers with a different design compared to before required a new ECU setup. I believe that the power curve is also changed a bit. The acceleration? Well, considering less weight, more grip, and more responsive engine, I can only imagine that the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo can accelerate fiercer than ever. 0-60 in 2.5 seconds? It’s certainly possible.

Transmission

Integration of the newly developed Race (R) mode of the 6-speed dual-clutch transmission further supports my claims about improved acceleration. When selected, the Race mode directs the transmission to shift quicker and to adapt to the driver’s pattern of behavior. After a few laps on the track, the GT-R Nismo will be far more intuitive when automatically changing gears. The tech exists to provide the car with exceptional shifting capabilities even in the auto mode. In short, if you want to change the gears manually, it is unlikely that you will be faster or smarter than the Nissan GT-R Nismo’s computer.

"We have built the 2020 GT-R NISMO for our customers to be the ultimate track and street vehicle," Tamura said. "It is about total balance management, not just chasing power figures. The new NISMO has been brought to a new level, with enhanced engine, handling, braking and aerodynamics."

So, Nismo went above and beyond anything it had done up to this point only to make the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo capable of fighting against the latest Porsche 911 Turbo S. It is a hard war in which Nissan did not take enough wins. The fierce competition did produce something exceptional - the stunning 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo which is far greater car than any Godzilla ever was. I would not be surprised if this ends up to be the last of the breed.

2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO specifications
Engine VR38DETT, V6 twin-turbo charged DOHC
Displacement 3.8L
Horsepower 600 hp
Torque 481 lb-ft /3600-5600 rpm
Overall length 184.6 in. / 4690 mm
Overall width 74.6 in. / 1895 mm
Overall height 53.9 in. / 1370 mm
Wheelbase 109.4 in. / 2780 mm

Pricing

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 836002

As always, pricing is the problem with Nismo branded GT-Rs. The 2019 Nissan GT-R Nismo is a $175,000 car. Yet, the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo features so many novelties that I have to believe it will be more expensive. With that said, I estimate that the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo will be priced at $180,000.

I am not sure if many are ready to spend that kind of money on a Nissan. Then again, this is the best GT-R ever, so I could easily be wrong.

Competition

Porsche 911 Turbo S

2017 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 658184

The Porsche 911 Turbo S is a benchmark in the world of ultimate sports cars. Nissan has been chasing its tail since 2007, and now with the 2020 GT-R Nismo, it may be that, at least in a straight line, Nissan can hold its own. The thing is that the Porsche can do 0-62 mph runs in 2.6 seconds and it can top 205 mph on a good day. It will do both jobs quicker than the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo too. And it will steer better. So much so that many think of it as a supercar. The problem is the starting MSRP for the 2019 Porsche 911 Turbo S of $190,700. That’s before you take a deep dive into the options list where you can add $30,000 to $50,000 on top of the entry-level price like its nothing.

Read our full review of the 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S or our speculative review of the 2020 Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S

Jaguar F-Type SVR

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR – Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 689464

With a base MSRP of $123,600, the 2019 Jaguar F-Type SVR seems to be a perfect competitor to the Nissan GT-R Nismo. In reality, though, its supercharged, V-8, 5.0-liter engine with 575 horsepower is a bit old and heavy. Despite AWD, it is quite a bit slower compared to the GT-R Nismo (0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds). Yet, it is undoubtedly more theatrical in its driving adventures. With it, you get carbon fiber rear aerodynamic wing, aluminum gearshift, Titanium exhaust, performance seats, and 20-inch wheels. A rather similar setup to the GT-R Nismo. Yet, the price difference is simply incredible.

Check out our driven review and experience with the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR]

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 538130
Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The Corvette Z06 is possibly the best bang for you buck on the market. It’s been like that since its very introduction. While slower compared to the 911 or the GT-R Nismo, you can’t argue when you save $100,000.

Horsepower 650 horsepower
Torque 650 pound-feet
0-60 mph 2.85 seconds (with nice tires and auto transmission)
Manual Transmission Available? Yes
Price $80,900
Carbon Fiber Goodies Yes

Check out our full review of the 2015-2019 Chevy Corvette Z06

Final Thoughts

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
- image 835987

Thanks to carbon fiber, lighter wheels, and lighter brakes, Nismo removed 67 pounds of weight from the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo. Then, it garnished it with the better tires, carbon ceramic wheels, reconfigured transmission, and better engine. Did I mention better aero as well?

This, undoubtedly, led to the creation of the best possible Nissan GT-R that ever was. Nissan’s Tochigi facility will take more than 60 hours to finish one (that’s the time needed for the completion of the standard GT-R), and I don’t believe that many of them will leave the factory floor.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo could be a holy grail for car enthusiasts and car collectors in 20 years.

  • Leave it
    • At more than $175,000 it is painfully expensive
    • It rides on ages-old architecture
    • Underwhelming interior for the price tag

Further reading

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

Read our full review on the 2019 Nissan GT-R Nismo.

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

Read our full review on the 2019 Nissan GT-R.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO made its world debut today, with race car-inspired upgrades and tuning improvements that maximize its exhilarating performance.

The model was showcased alongside the new 50th Anniversary Edition as Nissan celebrated 50 years of GT-R heritage at the New York International Auto Show.

"The 2020 GT-R NISMO has evolved into a balanced, yet extreme, performance car," said Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist for the GT-R. "Pursuing driving pleasure is the most important concept behind GT-R, and the new NISMO’s performance suggest it is a car that belongs on the race track – but is also at home on the open road."

Designed for a pro, built for everyone

For the 2020 GT-R NISMO, Nissan engineers set out to take race-proven technology and make it accessible and comfortable for drivers of all skill levels. Vehicle control and predictability were critical in achieving this; thus, they adopted the theme "absolute street and track performance" when developing the car.

Setting the most potent and exclusive of all GT-Rs apart from the rest of the pack is the amount of carbon fiber found throughout the car, including the front and rear bumpers, front fenders, hood, roof, side sill covers, trunk and rear spoiler. Each component has been improved to cut weight, increase downforce and enhance aerodynamics. These exterior parts alone have resulted in a total weight savings of 23 pounds (10.5 kilograms), in addition to nearly 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of reductions from other upgrades and new components.

The front fenders now resemble those on the GT3 GT-R. Scalloped vents help funnel hot air away from the engine bay and provide exceptional downforce onto the front tires, without additional drag. They also improve aerodynamics by smoothing out airflow along the body, with special consideration given to avoiding the rear spoiler, promoting high-speed stability. A new compression process gives the carbon fiber roof a lightweight, tight weave.

The 2020 GT-R NISMO’s exclusive 20-inch RAYS forged aluminum wheels are lighter than before and incorporate a nine-spoke design that enhances their rigidity. Newly designed Dunlop tires, with a wider tread and fewer grooves, increase the contact patch by 11%. This results in higher cornering force, enhanced steering response and improved rolling resistance when compared with the previous model.

Inside the cabin, exclusive GT-R NISMO front seats are designed to focus on holding the shoulder blades and lower body points, giving the driver a better sense of car and body as one.

Transcending perfection

Few cars possess the GT-R’s driving performance. For the 2020 model, the engineers sought to improve what was essentially already mechanical perfection, "making small tweaks to squeeze out as much as possible from the engine and chassis," according to Tamura.

Nissan’s 3.8-liter V6 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine – each handcrafted by its own takumi technician – remains the heart of the GT-R’s drivetrain. The GT-R NISMO features an exclusive turbocharger design – direct from the GT-R GT3 race car - with a modified turbine shape and fewer blades. This optimizes the flow rate and enhances the acceleration response by 20%, without a loss of horsepower.

The car’s revised 6-speed dual-clutch transmission features a refined "R mode" that not only shifts faster but also optimizes gear selection, especially when exiting corners. This enhances the feeling of acceleration and deceleration on both road and track. The adaptive shift control has also been programmed to adapt shift schedules to the user’s driving style. This makes it possible to drive in a law-abiding way on public roads and in a highly spirited fashion on a race track, without manually changing modes (in A mode / R mode).

The car’s exhaust note is the product of a revised titanium exhaust with handcrafted burnished blue tips.

When it comes to handling, the 2020 GT-R NISMO has few equals. Its updated suspension tuning improves cornering stability, with enhanced yaw rate response and smoother ride quality. The steering features better linearity and precision than ever, requiring minimal corrections at speeds of up to 186 mph (300 kph).

The absolute performance theme is also fittingly reflected by the addition of a carbon ceramic brake system. The combination of the Brembo carbon ceramic rotors — enlarged to 16.1 inches (410 mm) up front and 15.3 (390 mm) at the rear — and Brembo calipers significantly improve reaction time, durability and overall stopping performance. At the same time, their lightweight nature decreases the unsprung weight on each wheel, allowing the car to trace the intended driving line in a highly precise manner. The carbon and silica carbide structure of the rotors is nearly as hard as diamonds. When paired with the new material of the brake pads, they generate more friction for an enhanced controlled feeling in all types of braking situations. The new materials also help decrease braking footwork by shortening the brake pedal stroke. The newly developed high-rigidity calipers are dipped in bright yellow paint that can resist temperatures of more than 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 degrees Celsius).

"We have built the 2020 GT-R NISMO for our customers to be the ultimate track and street vehicle," Tamura said. "It is about total balance management, not just chasing power figures. The new NISMO has been brought to a new level, with enhanced engine, handling, braking and aerodynamics."

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

Engine

VR38DETT, V6 twin-turbo charged DOHC

Displacement

3.8L

Horsepower

600 hp

Torque

481 lb-ft /3600-5600 rpm

Overall length

184.6 in. / 4690 mm

Overall width

74.6 in. / 1895 mm

Overall height

53.9 in. / 1370 mm

Wheelbase

109.4 in. / 2780 mm

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