Nissan GT-R spotted
GT-R performance car to be 2008 model
GT-R: Much to the chagrin of Infiniti dealers, the upcoming all-wheel-drive GT-R performance car will be badged as a Nissan. The next-generation GT-R is expected to go on sale in the United States as a 2008 model. The sticker price is expected to be about $60,000.
Over the past few weeks, Nissan began extensive testing of its forthcoming GT-R sports car in the United States. Prototypes have been spotted across the country at various race tracks and on public streets. During a test at the Infineon Raceway in California, a Nissan engineer made a comment that raises new questions about how the car will be branded.
According to AutoWeek, a photographer at the track overheard the Nissan worker refer to the car as an "Infiniti Skyline GT-R." Such a label goes an announcement made in April suggesting the GT-R would be sold in the United States as a Nissan.
At the New York Auto Show, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the high-performance sports car would wear the Nissan badge, consistent with its global branding.
A report published in the ensuing days suggested Infiniti dealers were "enraged" by the news. They "desperately wanted the GT-R as a halo for the brand," the Automotive News report said.
Has Nissan's top management had a change of heart? We'll find out no later than this fall, when the 500-plus horsepower sports car debuts at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show
It's one of the most sought-after cars in the world, and it hasn't even gone into production yet. The 2009 Nissan Skyline GT-R already has a lengthy waiting list, but if the lucky first-round buyers are intending to buy and sell quickly for a profit, they might want to think twice.
According to Jan Thompson, Nissan's vice president of marketing, in an effort to prevent buyers from selling their dealer-purchased Skyline GT-R immediately for a profit, Nissan is considering voiding the Skyline's warranty for the second buyer if the transaction takes place less than one year after the initial purchase.
"That's the route we're looking at," said Scott Vazin, Nissan's director of product public relations. "A warranty decision will be made before the Tokyo auto show."
Voiding the warranty for the second owner is one way for the Japanese automaker to keep the GT-R's price down near the expected $70,000 MSRP.
The near 450-horsepower Skyline GT-R makes its official debut at the upcoming 2007 Tokyo Auto Show. Also, after much internal debate, Nissan has confirmed that the car will be presented in silver, and not the alternate choice of red.
What this means to you: If flipping cars is your thing, better think twice about betting on the Skyline GT-R.
Japan’s Car Top magazine has been informed in detail of Nissan’s secret test drive event held earlier this month at its Tochigi proving grounds.
An unnamed test driver has spoken exclusively to Car Top magazine about an event held by Nissan to allow 30 people to test drive the 2008 GT-R at its Tochigi proving grounds earlier this month. No media representatives were invited to the event so the lucky group of people only consisted of Nissan advertising and marketing personnel as well as some racing and test drivers to help out with the program. Over the 3 day event, the aforementioned unnamed test driver was able to put the GT-R through handling and high speed tests designed to show its superiority against two other cars for comparison, a Z33 Fairlady Z and a 997 Porsche 911 Turbo. All those assembled were told that the interior of the GT-R test car was fake and that the black front mask would not be coming off for the tests. The rear of the car however was unmasked and there for all to see. The unnamed test driver went on to describe the rear of the GT-R to Car Top and a CG image of that description can be seen below. There would also be 7 different GT-R models to be released (in different markets) and there would be four colors: the silver as seen on the Nurburgring test car, the gun metal gray as seen on the car at the Goodwood Festival, white and black.
The test course consisted mainly of 160km/h slaloms, laps of the high speed oval and emergency braking tests. The guests were first asked to put the Z33 Fairlady Z and Porsche 911 Turbo through the various tests to get acquainted with those cars and only after that would the GT-R be available for comparison. The unnamed test driver was initially surprised by the sound of the GT-R, right from the first push of the starter button he felt it sounded every bit like a supercar. The exhaust note was very strong but muffled well through the titanium system and had an unexpected note very different to the VQ35HR of the Fairlady Z.
The guests were only treated to the 7 speed semi-automatic version of the GT-R, the 6 speed manual car (although there was one present) was not available for testing as it was still in development. The ‘two pedal’ 7 speed semi-automatic operated so smoothly that you couldn’t tell gears were being changed if it weren’t for the engine sound. In the unnamed test driver’s opinion the semi-auto felt even better than Volkswagen’s DSG transmission. Up and down shifting was so smooth and very fast that it emphasized the incredible urge of the engine from low revs right up to the rev limit. The unnamed driver went on to say that the 2008 GT-R felt every bit as powerful as a tuned BNR34 GT-R with a power output of around 450 - 500ps, that output being the least one could expect from the 2008 car. The new GT-R’s chassis and suspension set up is incredibly stable, it actually hides the sheer speed of the car and gives a lot of confidence. Even with a higher output of 600ps and beyond, the unnamed driver was sure the GT-R’s handling ‘as is’ could easily cope. Multiple runs were made above 200km/h and the GT-R felt as stable as what it did at 100km/h. This led some of the guests to believe that the speed limiter was either deactivated or not installed at all. The Brembo brakes were an often talked about feature of the GT-R, the guests agreeing its braking power has to be experienced first hand in order to appreciate it fully. The ABS was working overtime at the Tochigi test event and the drivers were never afraid of not being able to stop even after repeated heavy braking tests.
There was a slalom course where the drivers had to weave through the cones at 160km/h and the 2008 GT-R cleared this test easily without any problems. The Porsche 911 Turbo on the other hand felt like it needed some adjustments made to it’s suspension in order to maintain the speed of the GT-R. As much as the drivers tried, the handling limits of the GT-R could not be reached under the circumstances. Precise turn in and directional stability are two strong points of the 2008 GT-R’s handling and the guests at the Tochigi proving grounds agreed that with these two points at least, the Porsche 911 Turbo has met its match.
One area where Car Top magazine goes against what Best Car said previously about the GT-R’s power plant is that it will be powered by a VQ based V6. With 3.8L and twin turbochargers, the 2008 GT-R will be on par emissions wise with the Nismo Fairlady Z 380RS. Thats not to say that they’re sharing the same engine, the GT-R will get unique pistons, conrods and crankshaft. These parts will be able to withstand at least 600ps and will probably lead to a different engine code… possibly not ‘VQ’? Nissan’s VVEL technology will also be included.
Some were doubtful about the existence of a 6 speed manual GT-R, but this has been laid to rest by the appearance of a ‘three pedal’ model at the Tochigi test event. It seems that the 6 speed manual version is having problems clearing emissions testing so it’s likely that it will not make an appearance at this years Tokyo Motor Show in October. Apparently initial sales will only consist of two pedal 7 speed semi-automatic models however there will be 6 speed manual cars made available for racing events such as Super Taikyu. One other point of interest is the ECU used in the new GT-R. There will be 3 different engine control units available for Japan, and a further 16 produced for overseas markets. Each one will have its own unique map for various fuels and output levels. It’s possible this may mean some GT-R models destined for overseas markets will be slightly detuned depending on fuel quality and other factors.
Best Car Magazine (Japan) has some more news regarding the upcoming Nissan GT-R.
After all the leaked information about the new GT-R’s mechanical specification, it’s nice to hear about what preparations are going on within Nissan dealers in Japan. Best Car have jumped off the ‘mechanical spec’ bandwagon and are concentrating on the actual public release of the GT-R in their October edition.
3 Grades of GT-R
There has been a lot of conflicting information regarding the various grades of GT-R to be sold but this time around Best Car report on actual printed advertising material sent out to Nissan dealers in advance of the preorder starting date. The advertising handbills (they’re not actually sales brochures) clearly state the 3 grades of GT-R to be sold with their associated prices and specification levels. Best Car won’t elaborate any more on this though! We’ll have to wait until the next issue goes on sale…
Preorders Taken From September 20
As of yesterday some Nissan dealers in Japan have taken preorders for the new GT-R in an official nationwide preorder strategy in which dealerships can elect to start taking orders between September 20 and 24. This preorder strategy will continue for one month until the GT-R is released to the public for the first time on October 24 at the Tokyo Motor Show press day. It has been noted that Nissan is stringently upholding it’s preorder policy, apparently the customer cannot cancel the order once it has been made. Nissan sales staff have been told to make themselves very clear about this to the customer so as to avoid any confusion. It seems Nissan are very serious about GT-R sales and the whole process of buying one will be an experience in itself.
Deliveries for the new GT-R will begin in December this year in Japan.
The wait is over. Undisguised 2009 Nissan GT-R photos have now become available prior to the car's official debut at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show.
Numerous GT-R prototypes have been caught testing around the world, including at Germany's N
Grit yer teeth and say GT-RRRRRRRR
Yes, it lives up to all the hype!
The coming Nissan GT-R is a world-class supercar: Top speed of 193 mph, 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, a 473 hp, 433 lb ft twin-turbo V6 mounted in the front and driving all four wheels through a rear-mounted transaxle. Take a breath. Okay, continue. And a dual-clutch six-speed automatic you can operate via paddles on the steering wheel.
After a full day driving it on the Nurburgring, the Autobahn and up and over numerous little German country roads we can easily say this is one car that was not over hyped. It is truly a world-class supercar on par with, if not just ahead of, the iconic Porsche Turbo. (They had a Porsche Turbo on hand, too, and we thought the GT-R felt better tied down.)
But it’s one thing to put a license plate on a race car and call it streetable. Chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno said the new GT-R was designed and engineered as an all-around, all-season, all-weather car that is comfortable to drive every day, even at normal speeds on a normal day.
During the few minutes we drove at what could be called a “normal pace” that day we’d have to say we agree with him. But given only a few hours at the wheel of this, the most highly anticipated supercar in years, we were only in “normal” mode for very brief spurts. The rest of the time we were at some level between “pushing it” and “hammering on the mutha’.”
Our first time behind the wheel was on the A48 autobahn in Germany somewhere out around Koblenz or Koln or some other K-town where the German socialist government had not yet succeeded in adding those awful 120-km-hr speed limits. It was like Bonneville with elevation changes and guardrails. The only limitation out here was aerodynamic. Hence, we were obliged to go all-out whompin’ fast the whole time.
Rolling right out of the autobahn rest stop where we rendezvoused with the Japanese engineering support crew, we nailed the throttle to the floor and man did the throttle respond. The 3.8-liter VR38 V6 sits up front, with two of its six cylinders forward of the front axle and four aft. Two bagel-sized IHI turbos sit right at the exhaust manifold for quick response. The 433 lb ft of torque rails across the tach from 3200 to 5200 rpm. Peak 473 hp comes at 6400 revs.
A carbon fiber prop shaft (“Good damping and stiffness”) runs back to the transaxle, incorporating the clutch, transmission and transaxle altogether. The shifting is done via a direct, twin-clutch system. One clutch handles the odd gears and another clutch handles the even ones. Shifts take 0.2 seconds. There are BorgWarner triple-cone synchronizers for all gears. Another shaft runs forward from that transaxle to send power to the front wheels. Below 25 mph the torque split is 50/50, above that, under normal driving, the split is 40/60. But it can split up to 2/98 under hard acceleration, which was what we were giving it.
Our car rode on 20-inch wheels wrapped by Bridgestone Potenza RE070s, 255/40 in front and 285/35 rears. Front suspension was upper and lower A-arms and the rear was a five-link.
It’s always fun to go from zero to warp factor in a right hand-drive car using a jet-lagged left hand-drive brain, trying not to turn on the windshield wipers when you think you’re hitting the turn signal.
The GT-R lists quarter-mile time at 11.7 seconds and entering the Autobahn we had no reason to doubt that. The turbo boost was, as promised, very progressive, with little or no discernable lag, just smooth, even power delivery.
Despite the late-morning hour and the mid-week day, there were still a few cars in the way. When we eased onto the 15.2-inch ventilated cross-drilled Brembo brakes from well into triple-digit speeds the car slowed without drama. But then traffic would clear out and the GT-R resumed its high velocity chase with ease.
There are three settings for the Bilstein Damptronic shocks: R, Sports and Comfort. We went out in Sports.
Top speed is listed at 193 mph but with traffic the best we could do was 176. You wouldn’t try that in any country but Germany, where you can usually assume everyone else is paying attention. There was a Japanese engineer riding shotgun over on the left whom we dubbed “Bushido engineer-o” or brave engineer. He thought that was pretty funny.
While the coefficient of drag is an impressive 0.27, better than almost any production car, the GT-R also produces downforce at each axle, something very few production cars can claim.
“Cd is more important than downforce on a G35,” said chief designer Hiroshi Hasegawa. “But in the case of the GT-R we have to make downforce.”
At 193 mph you might appreciate that philosophy.
The first time we went out, the right front wheel felt just a little out of balance, so we came back in and they changed all four wheels. They’re efficient, these guys. After that the car was smooth as well as stable and safe, due in equal parts to the German roadway and the Japanese engineering.
The whole car sits on the new PM platform, PM meaning Prime Midship. The PM incorporates what Mizuno-san called a “hybrid superstructure body.” There is carbon-injected material in the front end and carbon composite material underneath for aerodynamic downforce. There’s even some polypropylene in the body, too.
We truly enjoyed the Autobahn experience. This is the perfect car for such a top-speed run—it gives such a sense of control at those speeds that you feel like you could do anything.
Next on our agenda of “anything” were some miles of country road. We were able to drive the GT-R back-to-back with a Porsche Turbo.
“Okay now, please enjoy,” said the Nissan technician as we exited the company compound down the street from the Nurburgring.
After “much spirited driving,” we can say the Turbo had a good deal more lag and more dive and squat than the GT-R. But once the Porsche got spooled up, achtung, baby. It felt lighter and the steering felt quicker, too. The biggest difference between the two was that the Turbo demanded more of its driver while the GT-R was easier to handle, flatter and more stable. We’d be happy with either one, if you’re considering a birthday present or anything.
Next up on this Disneyland of a day was Der Nurburgring. This is what all those teenagers whose parents have not taken away their Playstation access really want to do: drive an actual GT-R around the actual Nurburgring as fast as grip, guts and gasoline allow.
Man-oh-flippin’-man. The real deal is about 100 times more thrilling than any computer simulation, even those with the little plastic steering wheel and feet pedals attached.
This was the new Nurburgring, too. Nissan wasn’t foolish enough to turn this small squadron of car writer hacks loose on the narrow, blind, crazy-dangerous Nordschliefe. At the time of our drive there were only three prototype GT-Rs extant in the world, and all the apologizing on Earth wouldn’t bring one back if you crunched it.
The new Nurburgring is faster, with wide, sweeping turns bordered by runoff areas so huge that even the most no-talent buffoon could likely stay on the pavement. So we did.
All the Japanese engineers and executives had been telling everyone that there was a 35-mph speed limit in the pits, but in all the excitement we kind of forgot about it and nailed the throttle right out of the parking spot right there in pit lane. The wide, low, squealing run-flat tires laid down long patches of black rubber as we launched past the closed garages, pulling back on the right paddle to shift the rear-mounted dual-clutch six-speed transaxle every time the engine got close to its 7000-rpm redline.
In no time at all we were roaring onto pit-out near the end of the straight and directly into the low, evening sun. By the time we got fully out on the front straight and were shifting up from four to five or so, the sun was directly in front of the GT-R and streaming into the windshield; we were trying to remember if that first right-hander came at this rise or just past it. It was just past it, but we’d already started braking and downshifting, the GR6’s “synchro-rev control,” which perfectly matched each downshift with a throttle blip much better than we’d ever have been able to match it.
Tiptoeing through the first couple turns to avoid the infamy of the run-off gravel, the car felt perfectly safe and willing. So we hammered it up through the gears down the hill and to the far 180-degree turn and started to feel more confident. By the end of the first lap we were flat out on the front straight, roaring up through all six gears for all it was worth.
Nissan lists lateral g’s at 0.99, and we certainly bumped up against that in many a Nurburgring corner.
We only got three full laps and no one was timing us, so you’ll just have to assume we set the lap record. Earlier, Mizuno-san had offered some lap times from the Nordschliefe for various cars driven by the German magazine SportAuto. Those times are driver-dependent, track-knowledge-dependent, weather-, traffic- and bunny-crossing-the-track dependent. But Mizuno suggested the GT-R could get anywhere from 7:44 on up, with most laps coming in between 7:55 and 7:58. So he suggested the GT-R’s strong suit was that it offered “the best cost per lap time.” For whatever that’s worth.
The GT-R will be priced somewhere in the low-$70,000 range, which does make it perhaps the best cost per lap. We’ll know for sure when it enters U.S. showrooms in May or June. Japan will get first crack at it, we get second and the Europeans, who did such a great job of getting out of our way during our Autobahn drive, will have to get it third.
The Official Car of Godzilla
Iconic and Built To Stay That Way
From the four round lights and large spoiler on the deck lid to the tough muscularity of the front grille, every square inch of the 2009 Nissan GT-R reflects the carmaker's commitment to performance and the heritage established by the GT-Rs of the past.
And, best of all, the legend is on its way to America at last.
A Day in Germany With the GT-R Engineers
The Fastest Lap
The record lap would be set by Nissan's top shoe, Suzuki-san, who ultimately turned in a lap in 7 minutes, 38 seconds on a partially wet circuit. Those ominous clouds looming in the sky earlier in the day left their mark on two areas of the track, Kesselchen and Wehrsiefen, and required Suzuki-san to rein his speed in a bit.
Beating a 911 Turbo around the Nordschleife is an accomplishment at any price, but pipping it by 2 seconds, on a partly damp circuit, at an estimated price point of $80,000 is something else entirely.
It's official, there will be a 2010 Nissan GT-R Spec V and it will be sold in America. A Nissan source has confirmed that a lightweight, more powerful version of the new supercar is nearly complete and will arrive in America about a year after the GT-R hits U.S. dealers early next summer.
Nissan announced today that its 2009 Nissan GT-R will be priced at $69,850 for the base model, and $71,900 for the Premium trim. Both prices include delivery charges.
Nissan intends to build just 1,500 GT-Rs per year during this model's lifecycle, and will announce dealer allocation plans later this week.
Pre-orders begin January 1, 2008, and the 2009 GT-R will officially go on sale in June.
The carmaker's enterprising designers have entirely remade the iconic GT-R sports car, and it's coming to America
Bathed in the red glow of Nissan's (NSANY) exhibit at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 14, several hundred journalists, auto dealers, and executives from competing manufacturers swarmed anxiously. They were waiting for a glimpse of a car many had already seen at its splashy world premiere during the Tokyo Auto Show in October (BusinessWeek.com, 10/24/07), not to mention in dozens of photographs online. But where Nissan's new GT-R supercar goes, a fevered spectacle invariably follows.
It's no wonder. The $69,850 sports car has a 480-hp, twin turbo V6 engine that packs a race-car kick, sending it rocketing from zero to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds. As far as iconic car designs go, it ranks with the Ford (F) Mustang or Chevy's Corvette. Adding to the anticipation, it will be the first time the car has been produced in five years. It will also be the first time the Japanese vehicle is legitimately available in the U.S., and not simply as a legally suspect import on the grey market for exotic cars. "This is a true enthusiast's car," says Mark McNabb, Nissan's senior vice-president for sales and marketing. "And it'll beat the pants off anything out there."
The GT-R badge has had a committed following in Japan since its debut as a racing vehicle in the mid-1960s. In the past decade, its fan base has been stoked and broadened by the car's prominent appearance in video games like Gran Turismo and movies such as The Fast and the Furious. But production was stopped a half-decade ago as Nissan faced a stark financial crisis. The newly designed GT-R is a symbol of the resurgent—and now global—Nissan, which has undergone a radical turnaround under Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn.
Global Design Inspiration
Two years ago, Ghosn and Shiro Nakamura, Nissan's chief creative officer, directed the three design studios in Europe, North America, and Japan to dream up the next version of the vehicle, which will go on sale in June, 2008. "The GT-R is unique because it is not simply a copy of a European-designed supercar," says Nakamura, a spry man behind thin, rimless glasses. "It had to really reflect [Japanese] culture," he adds.
"Japan owned the name, the rich heritage," agrees Bruce Campbell, Nissan's vice-president for design in the U.S. "But we were much more rebellious, and the Europeans were not so reverent of the vehicle's long history." So while the new version retains some of the elements of the original GT-R (e.g., the rounded tail lamps), the final design was an international affair.
In an era of supercars from Aston Martin and Ferrari, with their swooping forms and organic lines, the new GT-R is unabashedly boxy, with thick, chunky rear haunches and flared front-wheel well arches. According to Nakamura, the inspiration for the model's square lines and high-tech vents came from Gundam, the Japanese anime series featuring giant robots.
American designers contributed a more rounded set of contours on the rear three-quarters of the vehicle, softening the stark, flat trunk lines drawn in Japan. The European designers, meanwhile, influenced the roofline of the car, adding a hard kick in the C-pillar unlike in any other current Nissan vehicle. "It was truly a global event," says Campbell of the design process. "We honored the [car's] Japanese DNA, and now it's a global offering."
In a highly competitive business climate for automakers, the most successful executives—Ghosn among them—are masters of cost-cutting and maximizing parts-sharing between models.
And early on, designers and engineers flirted with the idea that the new GT-R could share components with one of the company's luxury cars, such as the Infiniti G series, thereby reducing production costs.
For instance, a set of switches for the car's dash-mounted controls could have been shared with other Nissan cars. Or seats could have been based on another model's. Both tactics cut costs. In the end, though, both plans were scrapped—largely to preserve the GT-R's special character. And the specialized nature of the GT-R's high-speed driving experience—the car is capable of exceeding 170 miles per hour—also required designers to create a specific dashboard layout and custom seating positions. "This car is a handful," says Campbell. "You have to be able to operate the switches blind, without flying off the road." Nakamura adds: "There are almost no common parts [with other Nissans]. Just some minor, internal guts."
That radical uniqueness has its downsides. Other halo cars (vehicles that don't sell in high volumes but cast a positive glow on the rest of the lineup) also contribute to the styling of less expensive models. But in this case, both Nissan designers agree that the GT-R will have little, if any, influence on upcoming versions of more quotidian cars such as the mainline Altima sedan or popular Xterra sport-utility vehicles. "There are no big cues for Nissan here," says Nakamura. "This one will stand alone, because the GT-R is built from its own design language."
Refining the Company's Image
With Nissan's business stabilized, the new design is unlikely to boost the company's profile the way that previous models did. Even with anticipation running so high, the drama of the daring new model is somewhat diminished by Nissan's current financial strength. In contrast, in the late 1990s, the Z roadster, which was created as an unsanctioned, Skunk Works-style project under Campbell's design team, was unexpectedly given the green light by Ghosn, becoming a stylish poster vehicle for the company's turnaround. "At that time nobody knew what a Nissan was supposed to be," says Campbell. Now, Nissan's brand is much less muddied, and the GT-R is more likely to refine, rather than redefine, the company's image.
Still, with its superlative performance, purpose-built cachet, and intensely scrutinized design, the new GT-R also is likely to extend the model's enthusiast following. "With this vehicle, our task wasn't just styling," says a satisfied Nakamura as he looks at the car, mobbed by press and show attendees after the L.A. unveiling. "Every detail has meaning."
Just when you think there’s nothing more to see or read about Nissan’s GT-R super-coupe, images of a mysterious prototype start to crop up on the internet. These latest shots depict car with several features you won’t find on the standard model, leading us to believe this is either a new Group N version of the latest model or possibly the upcoming V-Spec model due to hit the streets in 2009.
There were Group A race versions of the previous model GT-Rs, which were basically stripped out versions of the regular production models but with several racing modifications. The previous V-spec cars, meanwhile, were developed to denote the GT-R’s Group N racing success and included some serious performance enhancements as well.
There are several key details in these images, which turned up on GTR-World, revealing this is no run of the mill GT-R. Some of the elements the prototype features include a tow hook and pins protruding through the bonnet, a lowered ride height, race-spec alloys and tires, a modified front bumper (missing center grille possibly for improved airflow), full roll cage, a new air scoop in the front spoiler, a race-style refueling port and an air-jack adapter positioned below the right headlight.
While the GT-R is comparable with the Porsche 911 Turbo, the new V-Spec will follow the lines of the 911 GT3 in that it will be a bare bones version of the standard coupe and designed for the track but still road legal.