This past week I realized a motoring dream of mine, when I drove the iconic Nissan GT-R model. Long time, a fan of Nissan cars, this one has eluded me, and lets be honest, few vehicles in the world can be instantly identified by just three letters. But to motoring enthusiasts everywhere, “GT-R” has become synonymous with excitement, high performance and unparalleled refinement.
The athletic GT-R has just turned 50 years from a heritage point of view. And the current generation is 12 years old, so it was with trepidation that I looked forward to my drive, partly to see what the fuss had been about, as well as see whether the GT-R is still relevant in this high tech age.
According to Hiroshi Tamura, a product specialist for GT-R, “A GT-R is about total balance management,” “It is not about chasing a power figures, but creating a new GT-R, where no aspect has been overlooked. This is appropriate to celebrate the GT-R 50th anniversary.”
A Half a Century- And still looking Great.
The 2020 Nissan GT-R will come in two trim levels in the South African market: GT-R Premium and GT-R Black Edition. In select regions, there will also be the Pure, Prestige and NISMO models, but it is the 50th Anniversary Edition that truly celebrates the GT-R’s rich heritage.
The special edition car will come in three heritage-era, two-tone exterior colour combinations meant to represent the GT-R’s liveries from the Japan GP series – of which the original GT-R was born to dominate in. The Bayside (Wangan) Blue makes a return, complete with white racing stripes and is my pick of the bunch. Although the Pearl White with red stripes and Super Silver with white stripes, are pretty good looking as well. In terms of looks, the GT-R stands back for no one.
Into the Cabin
The special Edition grey interior colour scheme, certainly gives the cabin a sense of luxury, reminiscent of the atmosphere of the night sky after the twilight hour. Additional 50th anniversary features include unique steering wheel and shift knob trim, special seat embossing, an Alcantara® headliner with unique stitching, Alcantara-wrapped sunvisors, and more.
The cockpit is very driver focused , and has comfortable yet supportive seats for both front and rear passengers. The dashboard is designed to convey a “horizontal flow,”and soft touch materials are the order of the day. The Nappa leather is hand stitched with takumi style precision. And it has an 8-inch screen for navigation and audio controls. Mounted to the sporty steering wheel are shift paddles that allow drivers to change gears in mid-turn without taking their hands off the wheel.
Performance & Handling.
Of course, with the new Edition GT-R, it was always going to be about the individually hand built engines, and the output therof. And the GT-R’s 550-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine delivers a few surprises.
Amongst them being new turbochargers, which help increase the engine’s low rpm response due to an abradable seal, providing tighter clearances and a 5 percent increase in efficiency. Overall, they provide even sharper engine response in and out of corners, making the driving experience more rewarding and richer than ever before. The exhaust manifolds, inspired by racing technology, have optimised turbo flange attachment points, which allow for easier servicing and potential tuning, without touching the exhaust manifold.
GT-R features a revised 6-speed dual-clutch transmission with a refined “R mode,” made for both road and track. It features more aggressive downshifts to better anticipate swift cornering exits, with gear selection happening during ABS engagement, resulting in reduced understeer and a more driver-intuitive feeling. We drove the GT-R out to the Hartbeeshoek satellite road near Magaliesburg, and then launched the cars from standstill.
The acceleration was breathtaking, and we reached in excess of 280 km/h in pretty rapid succession. The handling around corners seemed good, but it’s a heavy car, and I can assume it would be a handful on the Simola hill climb, where it is the undisputed king. We got to drive in some of the previous edition Godzilla named models, which was fun, but the 50th Edition to me seems to epitomise the GT-R brand. It’s brash, bold, assertive and says come take me on, even though I know Im ageing, I am still as quick as lightning.
2020 GT-R specifications (SAF spec)
Engine VR38DETT, V6 Twin-Turbo charged DOHC
Horsepower 550hp or 410kW
Torque 632Nm @ 3300-5800 rpm
Overall length 4710 mm
Overall width 1895 mm
Overall height 1370 mm
Wheelbase 2780 mm
Premium Edition: R 2 250 000
Black Edition: R 2 360 000
GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition
- Pearl White with Red Decals: R 2 405 000
- Ultimate Silver with White Decals: R 2 405 000
- Bayside Blue with White Decals: R 2 415 000