Following its appearance at Goodwood, the GT-R50 made a cameo appearance at Spa in Belgium before it was shipped to the US to be displayed during Monterey Car Week to gauge interest for a production version. Global product communications manager Neil Reeve says if Nissan finds 50 “hand-raisers" among the world’s elite car collectors, he’s optimistic that it can reach production in 2019. Next, the GT-R50 is headed to Japan, where potential buyers in Asia will be canvassed.
The exterior of the current GT-R is dominated by its front fascia. That gets toned down a bit in this version, but it is fashion-forward with its Energetic Sigma Gold accents. Looking at the car’s side profile view, something appears a bit different. That’s because the roof has been treated to a subtle 2.1in height drop. The car also features the most unique centre third brake light we've ever seen — a translucent fin on top of the roof that is hard to miss when the brakes are applied.
The rear quarters are dominated by the deck painted in Energetic Sigma Gold, while a new pop-up spoiler has been installed. We asked the representatives from Italdesign to raise the bonnet — something that's a two-person job.
Speaking of the engine, output has been taken a bit beyond the production car’s 592bhp. Massaged by Nissan's performance tuning department, Nismo, the twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 now boasts 700bhp and 575lb ft of torque.The upgrades include enlarged competition-spec turbochargers and intercoolers, a heavy-duty crankshaft and new pistons. The transmission remains a dual-clutch sequential six-speed, but with upgraded front and rear differentials.
The interior has been tweaked as well, but not to the same degree as the exterior. Higher-quality materials dominate, while the exterior’s gold accents are carried through. The biggest change? The car discards the GT-R’s instrument cluster, replacing it with a digital panel that would look at home in a racing car.
The racing-style bucket seats are sumptuously trimmed in leather and Alcantara, with carbonfibre almost everywhere you look. And unless you’re sitting inside the car, you would not know that the GT-R50 retains the production car’s plus-two occasional rear seats. The GT-R is hardly a run-of-the-mill place to sit, but this feels truly special.
What's the Nissan GT-R50 concept like to drive?
It's scary, driving an essentially priceless concept car on public roads. And we found that out immediately, crawling out of the hotel driveway and hitting the front spoiler with a resounding crunch. Neil thankfully tells us we’re not the first ones to do that as we head out onto the streets around Agoura Hills, California.