In a few month’s time Nissan’s legendary R35 GT-R will celebrate its 8th birthday, after being launched in Japan all the way back in December 2007, but to say it is getting long in the tooth might be pushing things a little. Sure, the design is no-where near as fresh as it once was, and it might not be as easy to live with as the current 2015 crop of supercars with their adjustable suspension setups and the like, but in terms of dollar outlay and the amount of acceleration and speed on offer, the GT-R can and is still hold its own.
Rumours have circulated about the next-generation GT-R which should replace it sometime around 2018. Some say it might feature a variation on the GT-R LM Nismo endurance racer’s hybrid powertrain, which runs a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6, or at the very least an evolution on the current model’s VQ36DETT engine. No matter it ends up looking like, Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn wants to sell more of them every month.
So if Nissan aren’t going to replace the current GT-R for another three years, what are they going to do to freshen up the existing model? According to a chat Top Gear had with Phillipe Klein, the company’s head of product planning, Nissan believe they can still do more with the R35.
Klein said, “We are very serious about this vehicle and its future,” and, “There is still development potential there, always.”
This could mean a few things for the current model GT-R. For one, we could see revised front and rear styling which could offer design hints as to what the next generation model might look like, perhaps in an effort to help smooth the transition between models in 2018. Or perhaps Klein is talking about engineering more performance and efficiency out of the existing car’s 3.8L twin-turbo V6, for faster Nurburgring times and bragging rights against the likes of Porsche. But lets be honest, the GT-R has never been wanting for speed, so I believe their focus could perhaps be on the driveability of the car.
The current model GT-R is hardly a friendly vehicle to live with and enjoy on a daily basis. Its dual-clutch gearbox might feel right at home when driven at speed or on a track, but on the road it has proven to be noisy, clunky and a little hit-and-miss on steep inclines, where it can roll back as if in neutral before thunking into gear and lurching forward. The suspension too, despite being adjustable, is hardly accommodating. The GT-R features three levels of adjustability, Comfort, Normal and R – but I consider these to be a bit misleading. Perhaps “Firm”, “Crashy” and “Rock Hard” would be better names, but I’m sure Nissan’s PR department wouldn’t agree.
We’ll probably hear about Nissan’s plan for the current model GT-R soon, considering the new car in 2018 isn’t really all that far away now…