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Nissan GT-R to be revised for Europe

Published: 01 May 2008

Nissan is fettling its GT-R before it goes on sale in the UK in April 2009. It might have just announced a new lap record at the Nurburgring – chief test driver Tochio Suzuki shaved nine seconds off the GT-R's previous record of 7min 38 – but Nissan's engineers are already working on upgrades to the everyman's supercar.

Chief vehicle engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno told CAR Online that the GT-R models bound for the American market would benefit from a range of small tweaks, including three harder engine mounts and a stiffer transaxle mount to stop the mechancial parts from moving under extreme cornering. It's detail like this that enabled the new 7min 29sec...

Nissan GT-R: detail changes

'The new mounts make the car feel more together in extreme circumstances,' he said. 'We've also changed the spring rates front and rear – it's a minute change, they're just 0.1kg/sq mm stiffer. But it means the movement of the suspension and powertrain are more perfectly tuned.'

The same changes will be rolled out to every GT-R; this is a global model and one week after the US-spec modifications were made, they were applied to the domestic market cars. You'd still be a bit gutted if you bought one of the very first models off the line though...

Click 'Next' to find out what further changes are planned for European GT-RsSo what's changing on the GT-R for Europe?

Mizuno told CAR Online that Euro-spec GT-R models would probably gain further modifications. The team will decide in September 2008 exactly what to change, but he said it was likely that the rubber bushes in the steering system would be revised and the rear differential could be recalibrated.

It might seem surprising that such a landmark super-coupe could be improved so quickly – it has only just been launched and CAR hailed it champion over the Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8 and BMW M3 – but Mizuno san said that it was a programme of continuous improvement.

'The GT-R is my son,' he explained. 'A son grows up and it's my duty as father to keep improving it.' Quite.

So when can I get my mitts on a Nissan GT-R?

Take a deep breath. After all the excitement since the GT-R's world debut in October 2007 at the Tokyo motor show, there's still a wait of nearly a year before the car finally lands in UK dealers in March 2009.

New UK managing director Paul Willcox said that Nissan took 700 orders in the UK in the first two days – and there were now 1000 deposits down. Which is a problem when the Tochigi factory in Japan can only build 1000 cars a month for the whole global market.

'Our original plan was to import 600 cars in the first year,' said Willcox. 'But the UK demand has been massive. Across Europe, there are 1400 orders and 1000 of those are in the UK. We are speaking to the factory to see if we can increase supply.'

Click 'Next' to find out about more about the GT-RSo why has the UK gone so GT-R mad?

Nissan's local MD said that the UK was one of the few markets that had officially imported the R33 and R34 Skyline models, bringing in around 400 cars over four years. He said this had raised awareness and said that the UK's enthusiast scene and the car's popularity on computer games had also played their part in drumming up excitement.

The company is vetting orders to make sure that speculators aren't block-buying GT-Rs. Grey imports are already fetching over the UK list price of £52,900 and if you walked into a dealer today, you'd be quoted an 18-month wait.

The GT-R specialists

Just 13 dealers will sell the car in the UK – each one has to stump up around £70,000 in diagnostic equipment, training and showroom equipment to qualify.

'We've left lots of the dealer network disappointed, but we will fill any geographical gaps by offering a concierge service to collect cars for servicing and the like,' added Willcox.

Nissan GB is about to contact all those with deposits down to advise them of their place in the queue – and it's preparing a series of events at the Nurburgring and Silverstone to keep punters happy and interest high in the coming year.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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