Nissan is preparing to unveil this dramatic concept, badged GT-R Proto, at the Tokyo motor show later this month and insiders confirm that it previews the long-awaited replacement for the R34 Skyline GT-R.
Sources at Nissan say the concept’s styling is very close to the final car, which will make its debut in production form at the Tokyo show in two years’ time. As Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn confirmed in 2003, the new car will go on sale in 2007, but UK buyers mourning the demise of the final Z-tune version of the R34 earlier this year will have to wait until 2008. Though based on a version of the Skyline/350Z platform, the new car will be known simply as ‘Nissan GT-R’ in recognition of its status as the a global supercar.
Gone is the current car’s boxy saloon-derived shape, replaced with an aggressive coupe profile fronted by a gaping mouth. Dark slash headlights recall the 2001 GT-R Concept, and Nissan’s engineers have been undertaking careful aerodynamic testing to maximise airflow over the car and around the wheels. Styling highlights include the distinctive creased rear pillar – which designers claim aids entry to the cabin – and at the rear the familiar quartet of round taillights returns, with quad exhausts beneath.
While the styling department works on the final look of the car, engineers are pounding the Nurburgring in their mission to provide GT-R buyers with ‘Ultimate driving pleasure’. The benchmarks are said to be the Porsche 911 GT3 on the track, and Nissan’s own Infiniti G35 Coupe – softened sister car to the 350Z - on the road.
Autocar's spies timed a GT-R mule, sitting beneath an Infiniti shell, putting in an 8min 15sec lap at the ‘Ring – two years before the production version is ready. He also reported that the turbocharged V6, reportedly based on the 350Z’s unit and producing around 400bhp, makes a spectacular amount of forced induction noise. Engineers chose a V6 over the V8s preferred in the USA to improve the balance of the GT-R, which is likely to use a development of the old car’s ‘Intelligent’ four-wheel drive system.