The new Nissan GT-R may well be the most accomplished and technologically advanced high performance car ever made. One of the world's fastest vehicles, it is also probably the world's easiest and most secure high-speed car to drive fast. The multi-performance supercar Nissan GT-R raced through the NÃ¼rburgring circuit - where the condition of the fearsome high-speed corner, "Kesselchen" was wet - with a time of 7m38s. The new Nissan GT-R is also striking value, offering much better performance - in acceleration, cornering power and braking - than all equivalently priced sports coupes.
Like previous versions of the legendary race-winning GT-R, the latest model is a showcase for Nissan's engineering talents. Features include an advanced full-time four-wheel drive system that improves traction and cornering power. This four-wheel drive system uses an independent transaxle 4WD (a world first) for greater agility. There is a brand new 480 PS (353 kW) V6 twin-turbo engine that combines exhilarating power with an ultra-low emission exhaust (Japanese regulation) and the best fuel economy in its sector. The lightweight body, which uses a new package (Nissan's 'Premium Midship'), features diecast aluminium, carbon fibre and advanced steel plus a class-leading aerodynamic Cd of just 0.27. There's a new dual-clutch paddle shift transmission that offers exceptionally fast gear shifts and the facility to drive in full automatic mode, improving ease of driving. The big ventilated Brembo disc brakes offer immense stopping performance.
'The new Nissan GT-R is an extraordinary car, a technological flagship for Nissan that demonstrates our passion for cars,' says Carlos Tavares, executive vice president for corporate and product planning. 'It is designed for optimal high-speed performance in all road conditions. No car combines such speed, ease of driving, ability to excel in all road conditions, such exhilaration, value-for-money and distinctive style. As with its predecessors that have worn the famous GT-R badge, it is a technological wonder car, with an extraordinary breadth of ability. That's why we say it's for anyone, anywhere, at anytime.'
For anyone - because drivers of all abilities can enjoy its extraordinary performance, from professional racing drivers to those who simply want a stylish and exciting car for weekend driving.
For anywhere - because here is a supercar that's been developed around the world, from the twists and turns and dips and crests of the famous NÃ¼rburgring racing circuit in Germany, to Nissan's high-speed hot weather circuit in Arizona, to the snowy roads of Michigan. It is the world's only supercar that's just at home on dry Tarmac, snow and on wet rainy roads, helped by its advanced four-wheel drive system that offers superb traction and safety. Unlike previous versions of the GT-R, this one will be sold in both right- and left-hand drive forms around the world, including the North American and mainland European markets.
At anytime - because it is just as capable on hot summer days as snowy winter ones, by day or at night.
Technological highlights include:
An independent transaxle and advanced four-wheel drive system that continuously adjusts torque front-to-rear (and vice versa) depending on dynamic needs
Mizuno describes the Nissan GT-R as a 'multi-performance supercar for the 21st century.'
'I believe it creates a completely new car genre. It inherits the DNA of past great GT-Rs and packs it with the very latest technology. The key factors are the utilisation of the earth's natural forces and the high technology for human-machine interface, developed to control the ultimate performance. Our objective was to create a flagship model to promote our technology but also to develop a new type of supercar. Supercars have traditionally been aimed at drivers with advanced skills. But our new "multi-performance supercar" can be driven fast and skilfully by just about anybody in just about any road condition.'
Despite the extraordinarily high level of technology, the GT-R has some old-fashioned sports car features, not least that much of the assembly of the car, made at Nissan's Tochigi plant. Each engine is hand assembled by a single engineer (at Nissan's Yokohama factory) and so is each transmission.
The design bears a close resemblance to the Nissan GT-R Proto shown at the 2005 Tokyo Show and, in turn, has much in common stylistically with the 2001 Nissan GT-R Concept.
'We wanted to design a car that looked uniquely Japanese - it is very definitely not a European or American fast car,' says Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, & Chief Creative Officer, Design and Brand Management, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. 'We also wanted to highlight the functionality of the car - it is a car that is easy to use and easy to drive - and continues the proud heritage of the GT-R.'
The new Nissan GT-R is a muscular, distinctive looking car. Chunky, edgy, wide shouldered, ground-hugging and flat-sided, it is also one of the most aerodynamic cars in the world (Cd 0.27) as well as being one of the most distinctive.
The style is based closely on the GT-R Proto shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show to great critical acclaim. The only significant styling difference - apart from small details - is to the front styling, changed mostly to allow for superior crash test protection.
This is the first GT-R not based on a mass-volume Nissan vehicle (the last GT-R was based on the Skyline). That gave design director Shiro Nakamura, Product chief designer Hiroshi Hasegawa and their team a great deal of freedom to create Japan 's ultimate supercar.
'The mission was to achieve a distinctive car, a supercar, but not a normal fast car - it's chunkier, more practical and more muscular,' says Nakamura. 'The element of functionality is core to the GT-R. It's not too low; it's easy to get in and out of, has good visibility and is easy to drive. That functionality is reflected in the design. It is clearly not an Italian, German or American car - it is unmistakably Japanese. It is very mechanical, almost like an animated robot - it is obviously made from metal, has big shoulders and looks strong and muscular. The previous R34 GT-R had the same image. It's like you could be playing this car on a video game.
'We didn't want a nice elegant shape - we wanted an original shape. Some people who buy this car will also have a Ferrari and a Porsche. This car must be different from all others. I see it as a car influenced not by feminine beauty, like Italian cars, but by masculine beauty - it is strong, well toned, well muscled. It has big deep flanks and is very toned - that's part of the muscled stance.'
Overt functional touches include the kink in the rear pillar - 'it is highly distinctive and helps rear airflow,' says Nakamura, 'and it also gives the GT-R a really unusual roof line, which I like.' The side front fender air scoops also improve the car's aero performance by improving airflow around the tyres, are highly distinctive and almost animalistic. They also help cool the big chested twin-turbo V6. Nakamura also feels those deep flat sides are highly functional. 'They're flat like a well toned stomach but they also help when judging the car's width plus they're very aerodynamic.'
Good aerodynamics was a key requirement for the high-speed Nissan GT-R. 'Designing a car is always a balance between engineering and aesthetics. But with the Nissan GT-R we had very little conflict. We knew this car had to be Nissan's technological showcase. Our designers worked very closely with the aerodynamicists to ensure excellent air flow and good downforce essential for a car that has such a high top speed and such excellent high speed stability.'
The new car also continues the proud GT-R design lineage. 'It's quite square and edgy at first glance although full of interesting curvatures and subtle shapes when you look closer. Like all great designs, the closer you look, the more you see.'
The pillars are quite upright, emphasising that this is not an impractical low-slung supercar. There are the four round tail lamps mirrored in the four chunky round exhausts directly below. Specific styling cues, borrowed from great Nissans of the past, include the edgy boxy shape of the PGC10 GT-R of 1969, the four round tail lamps of the KPGC110 GT-R of 1973 and the long thin slit grille opening of the R34 GT-R of 1999.
Like the exterior, the Nissan GT-R's interior is stylish but highly functional. The cabin is unique, sharing no major components or design features with any other Nissan model. The Nissan GT-R is a bespoke supercar, new from the ground up.
Instruments are large, clear and simple, all directly in front of the driver for maximum legibility. The circular analogue instruments are ringed in chunky bezels and there is a tachometer in pride of place, red-lined at 7000rpm. Within the tachometer is an easy-to-see gearshift position display.
More unusual is a multi-function display in the centre of the dash, that not only gives you a detailed log of your driving behaviour - speed, g-force, fuel economy etc - but also gives details of the car's mechanical information - turbo boost, water and engine oil pressure, transmission oil, front/rear drive distribution plus steering angles, braking and acceleration pressure, and also optimal gearshift mapping for best fuel economy. The design of the multi-function display, which also includes the satellite navigation and audio controls, was done in conjunction with Polyphony Digital Inc, designer of the Gran-Turismo video game series for Sony PlayStation.
In the centre of the dashboard, below the multi-function display, is a cluster angled towards the driver. It contains switches for the air conditioning, audio and set-up switches, used to change the tuning of components including dampers, gear shift and VDC.
The centre console, which sweeps through the middle of the cabin, contains a red start button, leather shift lever (the same leather used for the steering wheel, to help tactility) and parking brake, which aligns with the centre armrest. The shift lever selector chooses Park, Reverse, Neutral, Automatic or Manual, and manual gear shifts are via paddles directly behind the steering wheel. There is a full automatic gear change provision, useful in heavy traffic or when relaxing rather than sporty driving is desired.
The steering wheel is small, comfortable to hold and trimmed in soft hand-stitched leather. Switches have been placed on spokes in an orderly, logical manner.
Seats are especially designed for the Nissan GT-R. They're heavily side bolstered for maximum lateral support and comfort. It is particularly better for supporting the body and reduces any slip. To relax the lower legs during longer drives, the front edge of the seat is unusually flat; it also makes getting into and out of the seat easier.
Access to front or rear seats is easy and visibility is excellent. Though the car fully engenders a special 'sense of occasion' once behind the wheel - thanks to the sporty cabin, dynamic performance and handling - it is a also a very 'normal' car in many ways, not so different from an everyday sedan. It's roomy, comfortable, light and airy. It is much more practical and user friendly than other cars in this performance bracket.
The Nissan GT-R has the greatest range of seat adjustment of any supercar, to ensure that virtually all drivers can get comfortable behind the wheel. The driver's seat is designed so that anyone from 144cm-190cm will feel comfortable behind the wheel. The seat slide is long (228mm), the seat is height and rake-adjustable and the steering wheel also has a wide range of adjustments (60mm tilt, 60mm telescopic), the better to allow almost all drivers to find the perfect driving position. The fulcrum for the tilt mechanism is at the bottom of the steering shaft, to keep the steering wheel angle optimised.
Like many high-performance four-seat coupes, the rear seats are more 'occasional' seats than full-size chairs. Though perfectly comfortable for most adults on short journeys, they are better for children or for carrying bags, jackets and other goods. The centre console sweeps through the middle of the cabin, dividing left and right rear seats. Between the seats there is the provision for optional two BOSE sound system woofers.
The trunk is large (VDA: 315L), easily big enough for two sets of golf bags or for substantial holiday luggage. Luggage space is further improved by the car's run-flat tyres which obviate the need for a spare tyre in the trunk.
The seat has three colour schemes: black, black with red highlight or grey.
Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President & Chief Creative Officer, Design and Brand Management, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd: 'An underlying philosophy of the Nissan GT-R is that it is a fast car that's easy to drive fast. So there is nothing intimidating about the controls. Everything feels instantly familiar, apart from the novel multi-function meter - which is also highly intuitive and we believe will prove very popular with owners.'
Nissan's VR38DETT is a brand new engine specially developed for the Nissan GT-R. The 3.8-litre unit uses twin IHI turbochargers. Its maximum power is 480 PS (353 kW) at 6400rpm. This makes the Nissan GT-R one of the most powerful Japanese road cars and the most powerful production car ever built by Nissan.
'More important than absolute power, is the manner in which it is delivered,' says chief vehicle engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno. 'The engine's very tractable and that means it's very easy to drive, a key quality of the Nissan GT-R.' Maximum torque of 60kgm (588 Nm) is delivered seamlessly from 3200-5200rpm.
It is also a very efficient engine, reducing emissions and fuel consumption. The Nissan GT-R is the world's most efficient supercar in balancing speed, acceleration and fuel consumption. Environmental performance is further reinforced by its satisfying Japan 's U-LEV (ultra low emission vehicle) standards.
The engine's high environmental standard is partly due to the innovative plasma-coated bores, which improve cooling, boosting fuel efficiency and power. The plasma sprayed cylinder liner bores are just 0.15mm thick, compared with conventional cast iron liners of 2.6mm. Not only are they much better at dissipating heat, improving efficiency, they're also lighter - saving about 3 kg in a V6 engine. To ensure sufficient lubrication of this sprayed-on cylinder liner in the aluminium block, special synthetic engine oil is used (Mobil-1 RP OW-40).
In addition, the fully independent intake and exhaust systems produce a higher output and a faster response. These fully symmetrical intake and exhaust systems increase air intake and reduce exhaust resistance, producing a smooth and fast gas flow. The twin IHI turbochargers are highly responsive.
Emissions are improved by a secondary air system, featuring an air pump, which promotes a faster catalyst reaction.
The Nissan GT-R's advanced electronic controls respond quickly to climate and altitude changes, ensuring maximum performance at all times. Precise monitoring of the air-fuel ratio further improves fuel efficiency and emissions. This precise control improves high-performance fuel consumption by five percent. During ordinary low-rev driving, the Nissan GT-R will typically generate about 40 kgm (392 Nm) of torque - sufficient for excellent pick-up and acceleration - and this high output allows for an optimum air-fuel ratio, significantly improving fuel efficiency and exhaust cleanliness. 'When driving on moderate throttle openings - in other words, in normal everyday driving - the Nissan GT-R proves to be especially ecologically friendly,' says Mizuno. 'Its fuel economy advantage over rivals is magnified in such normal everyday driving situations.' In automatic mode, the transmission quickly chooses high gear ratios, allowing the engine to ride along on a wave of low-rev torque.
Other technical innovations include a thermostatically controlled air-cooled oil cooler system, for greater cooling efficiency. The engine oil is cooled by an oil cooler system and in extreme cornering - of which the Nissan GT-R is easily capable - a scavenger pump maintains turbocharger oil flow. The oil collecting structure inside the engine is optimised by a lateral wet and dry sump system, which helps secure stable oil collecting and oil pressure in various driving scenes.
A collector tank inside the fuel tank always stores enough fuel to maintain fuel flow even under strong g forces.
The engines, like the transmissions, are all hand made. One craftsman hand-assembles the entire engine. The dedicated engine builders work in a special Nissan GT-R 'clean room' area of Nissan's Yokohama plant.
The Nissan GT-R uses an all-new GR6-type transmission, exclusively developed for the car. The paddle shift six-speed twin clutch gearbox is highly efficient - unlike an automatic transmission with conventional torque converter, there is minimum power loss so response and fuel economy is improved.
In M range (for manual transmission mode), the paddle shift gives exceedingly quick changes. Such quick gear changing maintains the turbo boost, so acceleration is one strong powerful seamless burst.
The twin clutches make a significant contribution to shift speed. There are separate clutches for the odd (1,3,5) and even (2,4,6) gears. When the car is running in an odd number gear, the adjacent even numbered gears are pre-selected and are ready to make the shift immediately in the sequential-shifting gearbox. When downshifting, a synchronised rev control 'blips' the throttle precisely to synchronise engine speed for extra-fast downshifts. Borg-Warner triple cone synchronisers are used.
When R range - the sportiest setting - is chosen on the set-up switch, a computerised control predicts the driver's next gear change, based on throttle opening, vehicle speed, braking and other information.
The Nissan GT-R uniquely offers exceedingly quick gear shift speeds and full automatic transmission. In A (automatic transmission) range, the car changes gear automatically, in the most fuel efficient manner. Higher gears are used whenever possible, benefiting from the car's massive 588 Nm of torque, and its long and flat torque curve. The car can be driven in sixth gear for long periods at low speeds, and still offers good throttle response. Such docile behaviour is at odds with most equivalently fast supercars and is one of the many unique aspects of this technology flagship.
The E-TS electronic traction control and rear final drive with limited slip differential (for better power delivery) are both integrated into the surprisingly compact and light rear transaxle. By placing the input/output shafts diagonally, the transmission is flat and the car's centre of gravity can be lowered.
One highly useful and unusual feature is the Nissan GT-R's Hill Start Assist. On an uphill gradient, which the car automatically recognises, the system maintains brake pressure for about two seconds after the release of the brake pedal, making hill starts easy.
The Nissan GT-R has a new type of suspension offering excellent straight-line stability, even over 186 mph (300 km/h), plus top-class handling and braking in all situations - from urban commutes, to snowy and slushy roads, to the racetrack. The suspension is designed around the new 'Premium Mid-ship' package, and takes advantage of the perfect load balance of all four wheels.
A set-up switch allows the driver to access three different suspension modes: R (high performance), Sports (the normal setting) and Comfort (for city driving to absorb road bumps). The set-up switch electronically changes the settings on the Bilstein DampTronic dampers, specially developed for the Nissan GT-R.
In R mode, the Bilsteins ensure flat, hard cornering for high-speed and maximum feedback. In the other two modes - Sport and Comfort - the dampers are electronically controlled to produce the best possible handling/ride balance (depending on which setting is chosen). Special sensors measure 11 vehicle elements including vehicle speed, lateral acceleration speed, steering angle speed, demand torque, estimate torque, engine rpm, brake fluid pressure, normal acceleration, ABS anti-lock braking behaviour and vehicle stop information.
The Nissan GT-R has huge front and rear Brembo fully ventilated drilled steel disc brakes (Ï†380). They give superb pedal feel as well as immense stopping power.
The full floating rotors stabilise braking while also preventing heat distortion. The inner parts of the rotors have diamond-shaped ventilated ribs, to ease cooling, while the rotors are also cross drilled to run as cool as possible.
Brembo monoblock six-piston callipers are used in front and rear four piston type. To generate strong braking force and prevent calliper distortion, racing-style three bolt structures are used.
The new Nissan GT-R uses probably the most advanced four-wheel drive system on a road car ever used. The all-wheel drive (ATTESA E-TS) optimally distributes power to the front wheels when and if necessary. Though naturally rear-drive biased, up to 50 percent of torque can be fed forwards improving traction in difficult conditions - such as rain, frost, ice or snow. Front drive is also utilised to improve cornering performance on Tarmac, improving traction and stability.
Special computerised control automatically alters the front/rear torque split from zero torque at the front wheels, to 50 percent of total torque. The control is varied continuously, as various sensors on the car measure speed; lateral and transverse acceleration, steering angles, tyre slip and other road surface and yaw rate.
On the new Nissan GT-R an additional sensor is the yaw-rate feedback control, which measures the difference between the target yaw rate calculated from the steering angle, the actual yaw rate detected by the yaw-rate sensor and G sensor. Front and rear torque is automatically corrected accordingly.
The four-wheel drive system includes a Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC-R), the Nissan GT-R's electronic stability control system. This continually monitors the vehicle's behaviour. If off balance behaviour is detected - such as sliding or skidding - torque to the wheels will be altered to help stabilise the car. Electronic traction control is also fitted to rear mechanical limited slip differentials, preventing wheelspin and improving grip.
Hill Start Assist Function is added for assisting starts gradients. (On an uphill grade, the system maintains brake pressure for about two seconds after release of the brake pedal).