It had to be one of the strangest places I’ve ever been for a new car unveiling; Nissan decided that the best place to see the new GT-R was in a vast – and immaculately new – underground car park.
The car park was hidden away in Tokyo’s bay area and the only access to it was an anonymous silver block with a single door.
A couple of hundred journalists were crammed into one place to see the covers pulled off in semi-gloom, before being invited to walk around an extensive exhibition that stripped the car right back until all of its extraordinary technology was revealed.
I spent a happy hour talking to the engineers and admiring the attention that’s gone into creating the mighty steel chassis. It was also an eye-opener to see the GT-R’s four-wheel drive transaxle set-up – probably a first in the history of the automobile. This car has two propshafts.
Put simply, the set-up has a large carbon fibre propshaft running from the engine to the rear-mounted transmission. There’s then another propshaft, which runs from the transmission, back to the GT-R’s front axle, from where it drives the front wheels.
The GT-R put me in mind of the Japan of the late 1980s. It showed Japan’s burgeoning confidence returning and as Nissan chief stylist Shiro Nakamura told me, this car was shaped by both being a modern Japanese vehicle and by the under-skin technology.