Nissan GT-R: The new speed kingEdward Green ▼ | Sunday December 9, 2007 5:01AM ET
Back in 1969 Japanese automaker Nissan started to produce Skyline GT-R, a sport version of its Skyline model. Speedy GT-R was a success in the market, on the track and it found its place in video games. In 2001, Nissan showed a concept of the "Skyline for the 21st century", and in 2005 Nissan hired three design studios from three continents, Europe, America and Japan, to design a new high-performance car. Although studios were in different cultures, their goal was to design "Japanese car", based on Japanese culture. The deadline was also set: June 2008.
It was the smart move because every culture (studio) gave something different, something inherent to its understanding of what a car means to different cultures. And joint effort gave very, very good result. New Nissan GT-R looks different than other sport cars. It has straight lines and looks much bigger and stronger. It does looks like Japanese car, but it has lines that will be accepted by U.S. and European drivers. Japanese designer draw a strong lines, Americans softened them a little bit, and Europe contribute with the roof. That "mind melting" works very well.
So, can new Nissan GT-R be compared to Porsche or Corvette? Speaking of design, the answer is yes. Technically speaking, the answer is yes.
The production model was shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show; the launch in Japan has started, the U.S. will have to wait June 2008, while Europe it the last on the list, it will see GT-R later in 2008. Regardless of our impatience, there are reasons for that delay. Nissan had to build production centre, but more important is the fact that engine and rear gearbox are built by hand, which guarantees top quality. That way, Nissan will able to produce 1000 cars a month.
New GT-R has twin-turbocharged DOHC V6 engine and its 3.8 litters develop 473 hp at 6800 rpm. Its 588 Newton-meters are available from 3200 to 5200 rpm and that guarantees even, smooth acceleration from zero to "too-much" (read: 310 kilometres per hour). All that power is transmitted to wheels via 6-speed dual clutch automated gearbox.
For easier acceleration to maximum speed Nissan GT-R has drag coefficient of 0.27 that enables acceleration 0-100 km/h (0-60 miles per hour for our American friend) in 3.5 seconds. It is one of the fastest cars on Nürburgring in Germany, just alongside Porsche 911 Turbo.
Nissan's first officer pulled another unexpected move: He hired Polyphony Digital, the creators of famous game Gran Turismo, to design Nissan GT-R's multifunction display which look fantastic. The interior is driver-centric and clearly shows that high-performance is married to luxury. Black color dominates the space the make you feel comfortable and protected at the same time.
Nissan made great car and gave me good reason to wait the autumn of 2008. And I envy my American friends... ■