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Nissan GT-R (2010) scooped

Published: 19 March 2007

What Japanese madness is this then?

Feast your eyes – we’ve caught Nissan’s GT-R virtually undisguised undergoing final track testing before making its public debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. With an anticipated £65,000 price tag, we just can’t wait to get out hands on this 500bhp twin-turbo, all-wheel-drive rocket, complete with a double-clutch paddleshift transmission and active aerodynamics.

It looks just like the show car

Correct. Visually, little has changed over the GT-R Proto, the Nissan concept that was unveiled in Tokyo two years ago – gone are the busy bewinged looks of the previous model, replaced by cleanly creased sheetmetal, neat detailing and smaller overhangs. The Proto’s gaping chin, ‘waterfall’ headlamps that cascade from bonnet to bumper, nostrilled bonnet, louvred front wheelarches, squat stance, four LED taillights and quad exhaust pipes are all carried over. Thank goodness.

So what's that under the bonnet?

Despite Nissan’s engineers keeping tight-lipped about its engine, our sources claim the GT-R will run a version of the 350Z’s V6 powerplant. Nissan initially looked at using its 4.5-litre V8 but its size and weight increase spoiled the GT-R’s chassis balance, so the smaller V6 was selected instead. Bored and stroked to a full 4.0 litres, the all-alloy unit is breathed on by two ultra-responsive twin-scroll turbochargers, to develop 500bhp, which is handled by an uprated version of Nissan’s all-wheel-drive system. Expect a nigh-perfect weight distribution and exceptional chassis balance.

So will it give Porsche's 911 a bloody nose?

You bet. When Nissan declared that the GT-R would deliver 911 Turbo performance at 911 prices, they weren’t bluffing – during the GT-R’s shakedown, it played cat-and-mouse around Sears Point and Laguna Seca circuit with a current 911 Turbo. Expect the GT-R to scorch to 60mph in less than five seconds, and, now that Japanese manufacturers have dropped the industry-wide top speed limit on their cars, the GT-R should max out at 185mph.

What's the cabin like?

This is our first peek at the GT-R’s low-slung 2+2 cabin. Nestling behind the chunky three-spoke steering wheel you can clearly see the alloy paddle shifter for the six-speed double-clutch transmission. A manual version will be offered but there will be no automatic. That large instrument nacelle is angled towards the driver and houses bold dials for engine and road speed, turbo boost and g-force. Driver and front passenger are gripped by huge winged buckets that feature shoulder-height apertures for fitting four-point harnesses.

Is it still an all-wheel-driver?

Yes, the GT-R will use a revised version of the R34 Skyline’s Attesa-ETS Pro intelligent all-paw drivetrain, which can shift torque to whichever wheels have the best traction. It's capable of shifting torque front, back, left and right for incredible grip, irrespective of road or weather conditions.

What's with that rear wing?

The GT-R features an array of advanced aerodynamic aids. The coupe’s cliff-faced nose features an air dam that, along with the rear diffuser, will suck the GT-R to the road as speed increases. The proposed active wing, which rose and fell according to speed, has been ditched in favour of this fixed rear spoiler, which enhances high-speed stability.

So just how quick will it be in the real world?

In a very un-Japanese move away from headline-grabbing figures, Nissan has resisted publishing power outputs and top speeds, and has instead honed the GT-R to lap the Nürburgring in under eight minutes, which it feels is a far better indicator of the car’s overall performance, rather than straight-line speed. And the use of a European rather than Japanese circuit is a clear indicator of just how significant the European market will be for the GT-R.

What's with that rear wing?

The GT-R features an array of advanced aerodynamic aids. The coupe’s cliff-faced nose features an air dam that, along with the rear diffuser, will suck the GT-R to the road as speed increases. The proposed active wing, which rose and fell according to speed, has been ditched in favour of this fixed rear spoiler, which enhances high-speed stability.

So just how quick will it be in the real world?

In a very un-Japanese move away from headline-grabbing figures, Nissan has resisted publishing power outputs and top speeds, and has instead honed the GT-R to lap the Nürburgring in under eight minutes, which it feels is a far better indicator of the car’s overall performance, rather than straight-line speed. And the use of a European rather than Japanese circuit is a clear indicator of just how significant the European market will be for the GT-R.

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars

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