The Return of Nissan GT-R
Monday, November 12, 2007.
By Karl Williams
The car that launched many video game fantasies has returned. Nissan’s all concurring New GT-R, the replacement to the iconic R34 Skyline GT-R is here and it won’t disappoint.
The supercar market has long been dominated by the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Aston and BMW’s M3. Even Honda’s race bred and sadly departed NSX, which set the benchmark for supercars, was shunned by the un-initiated. Now however, that is set to change!
The intention of Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, was always to develop the GT-R as the ultimate performance supercar for secure enjoyable driving to anyone free of climate, road conditions or driving technique limitations, so that even your granny could take it for a spot of shopping.
That shopping trip is made all the more simpler and enjoyable by the all-new computer controlled semi-Automatic gearbox, which features the worlds first application of an independent trans-axle 4WD system with six speed paddle shift. This layout places the twin clutch transmission; transfer case and final drive all at the rear, which allows the GT-R to have superb front –rear weight distribution, giving more pedal and legroom within the cabin.
In normal-conditions drive is directed to the rear wheels with up to 50% heading upfront when required.
Under the hood, the GT-R features the all new a 3.8 V6 “VR38” engine from the same family as the 350Z but employees a boost in power via two IHI turbos developing 480bhp, making this Nissan’s most powerful production road car ever! That’s 150bhp more than the car it replaces!
To extricate that power, offer client exclusivity, satisfaction and confidence in its multi-performance supercar, Nissan has established High Performance Centres and special Nissan GT-R dealers to maintain your car to its optimum.
Built to demonstrate the potential for all Nissans to come, the manufacturer carried out extensive testing about 5000Km (3107 miles) of the GT-R’s race craft and endurance on Japan demanding Sendai circuit and primarily the infamous Nordschleife, the historic section of Nurburgring in Germany. Nissan's Chief Test Driver consistently achieved lap times of 7mins 38secs while doing 0-62 in 3.5secs flat-out a 186mph! Porsches’ mighty 911 Turbo does a lap of the ‘Ring in 7mins 49secs! Nissan’s GT-R is very serious.
This car has a muscular lion aping stance with its sloping aero blade canopy roofline, and curved C-pillar as if about to pounce and attack its prey!
The Nissan GT-R is a hand-built bespoke supercar, new from the ground up; the body is made from a combination of steel, carbon fibre and aluminium to provide stiffness while also being light.
Its underbelly is flat and exposed to the usual exhaust and differentials like most cars in this terrain. These aid a smooth passage of air via the various air inlets, cooling the Brembo six piston brake callipers, the apertures feeding cool air to the Twin turbos, while the wheel arch vents provide high speed down force and help to aid the very efficient low drag of o.27cd.
Its low roofline tapered profile, which channels even more air to the rear spoiler also aids its stability on full speed. High-speed down force was tested. The goal: “It has to be no-fuss even at 186mph’, said chief tester Kazutoshi Mizuno. The GT-R met its goal thanks to superb aerodynamics, precise body panel alignment and advance technologies.
The interior of the GT-R despite the low roofline, seats four and is sumptuous. Gone are the crude plastics of old, you now enter a cabin with a beautifully sculptured fitted-out leather. These seats sides are heavily bolstered, in leather and are especially designed to offer multi-adjustment maximum lateral support and comfort; particularly better for supporting and reducing any slip. The steering wheel is small, comfortable to hold and trimmed in soft hand-stitched leather.
The centre console, which sweeps through the middle of the cabin contains that all-important red start button, leather shift lever to enhance tactibility and the parking brake aligning with the centre armrest. The shift selector chooses Park, Reverse, Neutral, Auto or Manual. The manual gearshifts are via shift paddles directly behind the steering wheel.
You have large, clear and simple instruments all directly in front of the driver. All the in-car techno goodies return with a multi-function display, giving speed, g-force, fuel economy etc, but also the essentials like turbo boost, water and engine oil pressure, transmission oil, front and rear distribution angles.
Also not forgetting the Bluetooth, 30GB Satelite navigation and BOSE audio system, which was done in conjunction with Polyphony Digital - the designers of that fantasy game Gran-Turismo for Sony PlayStation, just in case you get lost on those very enjoyable long drives.
Make no mistake. The Nissan GT-R’s assault on the 21st Century has begun.
Engine: 3.8 24v V6 Twin Turbo 480bhp.
Gears: Six-speed Semi-auto, Four-wheel drive.
Speed: 3.5sec 0-62, 186mph.
Get one: Late 08/09.
You may try: Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8, BMW M3.
More info: www.gtr.co.uk
Karl Williams is a London-based freelance journalist and The New Black Magazine's Motoring Correspondent.
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See also www.gtr.co.uk