What will Nissan do about their 370Z and GTR performance cars? Will enthusiasts ever see another performance car out of Nissan? Will the GTR slowly shuffle off into the graveyard of cars sold way past their prime? Will it sell for so long Nissan will market it as a new car that’s so old it’s already collectible?
The latest GT-R R35 is known as “Godzilla” for its ferocious Japanese take-no-prisoners performance. But next year it will be a teenager–having seen few running changes since its debut in 2008. For 2017 some aero improvements and reinforcement of the chassis massaged the GTR a bit, but many enthusiasts want Nissan to develop a completely new GTR.
Its twin-turbo 3.8 liter V6 gets the job done at 565hp with 467 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. The GTR Nismo adds another 35 hp with 481 ft-lb torque and a tweaked suspension along with some improved aero aids. It can go head-to-head with 911 Porsches and Corvettes all day long.
Speaking with Motoring, the head of GTR development Hiroshi Tamura was not too encouraging about anything happening in the near future for the vaunted GTR. He says that while the team is ready to move on a new iteration, questions about what powertrain will propel the new GTR are being decided above his pay level.
At Least 20 Years?
He thinks the current GTR production could run 20 years without major changes to the powertrain. “This body construction I want to keep for as long as possible,” Tamura said. He points out that the original Godzilla, the R32 Skyline, remained basically unchanged under the skin through R33 and R34 iterations, which spanned over 14 years.
He says that there were many aero tweaks to the current R35 starting with the 2017 model year, and that more are planned for 2020, including improvements to the powertrain and chassis. We love the more aggressive fascia and skirts the 2017 received, giving the GTR a more modern, bolder look. Our hope for next time is that the changes will give a fresh look to the sheetmetal, rather than more added-on spoilers and ducting.
The problem Tamura sees for a completely new GTR is that technology has advanced quite a lot since the current GTR was first developed, and so the next one needs to be a platform that could possibly last for another 20 years. This might mean all-electric, or a combo of a conventional powertrain with hybrid technology tied into it, or something even more revolutionary. That’s our thoughts and Tamura never indicated anything–he can’t.
What Will Technology Be?
Looking to where we will be at in 20 years he said, “My point is what kind of technology do we need to install? Twenty years is the timing of the breakthroughs in technology. It’s easy to understand about some current expansion way, but if we need to break through then that’s a different story. It depends on the company direction.”
At least we have good news, and that is within Nissan there is a deep commitment to continuing the GTR for years to come, and that they are serious enough to think long and hard about what will take the next version into the middle of this century.