Introduction and Highlights
"Building a 310 km/h car is not a particularly difficult challenge"
An independent transaxle and advanced four-wheel drive system that continuously adjusts torque front-to-rear depending on dynamic needs"The challenge is to build a car that is stable and quiet at that speed, a car that is comfortable and easy to drive at that speed, a car that has excellent straight-line stability at over 300 km/h, a car that can handle snow and ice and rain at high speed, a car that is also environmentally sound and has very high safety standards.
It is my belief that no car mixes these abilities like the Nissan GT-R."
Kazutoshi Mizuno, Chief Vehicle Engineer for the GT-R, former racing team director and racing chief engineer - Nissan
Like previous versions of the legendary race-winning Skyline GT-R, the Nissan GT-R continues to be a showcase for the company's technological and engineering talents.
Highlights of these talents deployed on the latest GT-R include:
- New six-speed paddle shift twin-clutch gearbox
- Hand-built 3.8-litre twin turbo V6 engine, combining great horsepower, a wide spread of torque but with good fuel economy
- An aerodynamic body designed to generate high-speed downforce front and rear
Chassis and Body
Built around Nissan's new 'Premium Midship' chassis, the underpinning of the GT-R features die-cast aluminium, carbon fibre and advanced steel. Within this chassis package lies an all-new four-wheel drive system and an independent transaxle (a world first) for greater agility.
The GT-R's four-wheel drive system is especially innovative. To save weight and improve packaging, the twin-clutch transmission, four-wheel drive transfer box and rear final drive (including limited-slip differential) have all been integrated at the rear. This compact solution improves weight distribution and boosts agility, ride comfort and braking performance. Weight is distributed evenly to all four wheels, giving the GT-R superb handling balance.
Built around the chassis lies the unmistakeable styling of the GT-R.
'We wanted to design a car that looked uniquely Japanese - it is very definitely not a European or American fast car,' says senior vice president of design Shiro Nakamura. 'We also wanted to highlight the functionality of the car - it is a car that is easy to use and easy to drive - and continue the proud heritage of the GT-R.'
Good aerodynamics were also key requirement for the high-speed GT-R. 'Designing a car is always a balance between engineering and aesthetics. But with the GT-R we had very little conflict. We knew this car had to be Nissan's technological showcase. Our designers worked very closely with the aerodynamicists to ensure excellent air flow and good downforce essential for a car that has such a high top speed and such excellent high speed stability.'
Drivetrain - Engine and Gearbox
The 530 PS V6 twin-turbo engine powering the GT-R is hand assembled by a single engineer at Nissan's Yokomama factory.
However 'more important than the absolute power, is the manner in which it is delivered,' says Chief Vehicle Engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno. 'The engine's very tractable and that means it's very easy to drive, a key quality of the GT-R.' Maximum torque is now 612 Nm and is delivered seamlessly from 3,200 - 6,000 rpm.
In addition to both high power and torque outputs the engine also delivers a high environmental standard due partly due its innovative plasma-sprayed bores, which improves cooling, boosting fuel efficiency and power. The plasma sprayed cylinder liner bores are just 0.15 mm thick, compared with conventional cast iron liners of 2.6 mm. Not only are they much better at dissipating heat, improving efficiency, they're also lighter - saving about 3 kg in a V6 engine.
Putting this huge amount of power and performance onto the tarmac is an all-new GR6-type transmission, exclusively developed for the car. The paddle shift six-speed twin clutch gearbox is highly efficient - unlike an automatic transmission with conventional torque converter, there is no power loss so response and fuel economy is improved.
In M (for manual transmission mode), the paddle shift gives quicker changes than any other production car, The lag between the shift and the delivery of power to the wheels can be as quick as 0.2 seconds. Such quick gear changing maintains the turbo boost, so acceleration is one strong powerful seamless burst.
The twin clutches make a significant contribution to shift speed. There are separate clutches for the odd (1,3,5) and even (2,4,6) gears. When the car is running in an odd number gear, the adjacent even numbered gears are pre-selected and are ready to make the shift immediately in the sequential-shifting gearbox. When downshifting, a synchronised rev control 'blips' the throttle precisely to synchronise engine speed for extra-fast downshifts. Borg-Warner triple cone synchronisers are used.
When R (for race) mode - the sportiest setting - is chosen on the set-up switch, a computerised control predicts the driver's next gear change, based on throttle opening, vehicle speed, braking and other information.
Running Gear - Suspension, Brakes & Tyres
The suspension of the GT-R provides excellent straight-line stability, even at speeds only attainable on unrestricted autobahns in addition to top-class handling and braking stability in all situations - from urban commutes, to snowy and slushy roads, to the circuit.
The suspension is designed around the new 'Premium Midship' platform, and takes advantage of the perfect load balance of all four wheels.
A set-up switch allows the driver to access three different suspension modes: R (for racing, or high performance), Sports (the normal setting) and Comfort (for city driving to absorb road bumps). The set-up switch electronically changes the settings on the Bilstein DampTronic dampers, specially developed for the
In R mode, the Bilsteins behave like racing car dampers, ensuring flat, hard cornering for high-speed and maximum feedback. In the other two modes - Sport and Comfort - the dampers are electronically controlled to produce the best possible handling/ride balance (depending on which setting is chosen). Special sensors measure specific vehicle elements including horizontal acceleration, steering angle, torque fed to the wheels through the driveshafts, engine revs, hydraulic brake pressure, vertical acceleration, ABS anti-lock braking behaviour.
The braking system on the GT-R has been produced and developed in conjunction with Brembo. The full-floating discs stabilise braking while also preventing heat distortion. The inner parts have diamond-shaped ventilated ribs, to ease cooling, while the cross-drilled design enables the system to run as cool as possible.
Six-piston calipers on the front and four-piston on the rear are used to generate strong braking forces while preventing caliper distortion, racing-style three-bolt structures are also used.
As befits a very powerful car, so the tyres for the GT-R are unique. They offer an extraordinary combination of high-speed balance, high-grip cornering on the world's most testing racing circuits (such as the Nürburgring), great traction in the rain plus pliant comfort in the city. Their run-flat structures allow for 50 miles of driving at 50 mph - an amazing achievement.
Normally, run-flat tyres have very hard sidewalls, essential for maintaining shape after a puncture. The GT-R's tyres have unusually pliant sidewalls, improving steering, agility and ride comfort. They are filled with nitrogen rather than conventional air, which prevents temperature change during high speed running.
Variants and LifecycleLike the exterior, the GT-R's interior is stylish but highly functional. The cabin is unique, sharing no major components or design features with any other Nissan model.
Instruments are large, clear and simple, all directly in front of the driver for maximum legibility. The circular analogue instruments are ringed in chunky bezels and, as befits any sports car there is a rev counter in pride of place, red-lined at 7000 rpm.
Another key component of the interior is the multi-function display, in the centre of the dash, that not only gives you a detailed log of your driving behaviour - speed, g-force, fuel economy etc - but also gives details of the car's mechanical information (turbo boost, water and engine oil pressure, transmission oil, front/rear drive distribution etc) plus steering angles, braking and acceleration pressure, and also optimal gearshift mapping for best fuel economy.
The boot is large and easily big enough for two sets of golf clubs or for substantial holiday luggage. Luggage space is further improved by the car's run-flat tyres which obviate the need for a spare in the boot.
Since its launch onto the Japanese Market at the end of 2007, the Nissan GT-R has undergone a programme of continuous development. These areas are not solely limited to performance improvement but also ensure the everyday usability of the car is not ignored either.
As the GT-R is now produced as a world car, ensuring all markets receive these running changes (except those determined by country-specific legislation) ensures all potential GT-R customers are buying the latest version possible.