Saturday, May 19, 2007

First Look at Nissan GT-R

The Nissan GT-R is a sports car expected to be released internationally by the end of 2007 as a 2008 model. The prototype which the car is based upon was unveiled at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, as the GT-R Proto. The Nissan GT-R has heritage in the Nissan Skyline GT-R range, but is a radical departure from the traditional GT-R formula. It will be separated from the "Skyline" nameplate and for the first time the car will not share a common body style with the sedan range.

The evolutionary, incremental changes between Skyline models R32 through R34 have been done away with, with much more aggressive styling displayed on the concept model (see below). Underneath the body Nissan will also do away with the traditional straight-6 engine, and is instead utilizing a twin-turbocharged V6 from the Nissan VQ family of engines, the VQ37HRDETT producing between 420 and 450hp at around 7000rpm The GT-R will go up against the Porsche 911 Turbo, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper and other high-end sports cars, and will slot well above the 350Z in the lineup.

There has been proof of registered trademarks for the next GT-R in Japan, Australia, Europe, and Canada as well as the U.S. (the car will be sold in both right- and left-hand drive versions). It will have to overcome many new, stringent emissions laws in Japan.
Early speculation of Nissan using the Infiniti name in North America for the GT-R turned out not to be true. At the official unveiling, Nissan stated that it will be a "world car", sold in all nations in similar incarnations. During the 2006 New York Auto Show, Nissan Motor's President Carlos Ghosn announced that the GT-R will be sold in North America as a Nissan model, and not under the Infiniti brand as previously rumored.

It was initially speculated that the North American market would receive a V8 instead of the long speculated twin-turbocharged V6 (rumors of the birth of the VK45DETT). It has long been known that Cosworth has been contracted out to do engine development, which suggests the new motor will be just as durable and strong as the RB series it will be replacing. The drivetrain configuration will most likely remain All Wheel Drive, in keeping with the GT-R's longtime theme of using advanced technologies. Additionally, Lotus has been contracted out to assist with suspension and handling development of the GT-R. Recent spy footage hints at an automatic or sequential manual transmission.

GT-R concept, rear
At the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan unveiled a GT-R Proto concept car (pictured right), and they have stated that the production GT-R will be 80-90% based on the concept. At the same time they also revealed the near-final design on, but the material was subsequently removed and as of now the page only harbors the "GT-R logo" image. The GT-R Proto was actually the second concept version of the next generation GT-R, as an earlier GT-R Concept was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2001.

Test mules wearing bodywork that is highly similar to the GT-R Proto have been subsequently spotted on the Nürburgring, more often than not followed by a 2006 Porsche 911 Turbo that has been speculated as being used by Nissan as a benchmark car. Both the test mules and the 911 Turbo have also been spotted parked in Nissan's test facility. Sources have expressed that the car is capable of lapping the Nürburgring in the 7 minute range
Recently, the GT-R has been seen undergoing road testing around the southwest United States. With sightings in New Mexico and California. As was the case in the Nurburgring, the car was followed by a 911 Turbo. Recently, the car has been sighted doing laps at Sears Point Raceway and Laguna Seca. At Laguna Seca, unofficial timing by put the GT-R's lap down to 1 minute 39.62 seconds a few tenths of a second down from the 911 Turbo following it which was timed by 1 minute 39.89 seconds

The production version of the GT-R is set to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007, with its launch in the Japanese market scheduled for Fall 2007. The U.S. launch will follow in Spring 2008.

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