Since the introduction of the R34 Nissan Skyline GTR in 1998, the question of whether the GT-R would survive the near future or not, was highly discussed in the automotive world - especially among Skyline enthusiasts. With the revelation of the GT-R Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show 2001, Nissan has finally ended these discussions.
The radical GT-R Concept gives an impression of what the replacement of the Nissan Skyline GT-R might look like. If the car will still be called Skyline GT-R is not sure, yet, but chances are high the Skyline part of the name will be dropped and the car will simply be badged Nissan GT-R.
Thanks to computer games like Gran Turismo, the Skyline GT-R has become famous the world over during the past few years, so there is no more reason to reduce GT-R sales to domestic shores, only. Hence, Nissan finally plans to sell the car globally (maybe badged Infiniti in the US), in left-hand- and right-hand-drive form.
Radically different to the R34 GT-R, the GT-R Concept's front facia appears impressive due to its width, but otherwise quite featureless. Narrow headlights flank each side of the body and blend into black cooling vents to the bottom, thus enhancing the impression of a wide and low body. Apart from the black grille and bumper assembly with its vast air intake openings, there is no distraction of the even body surface. Following the sweep of the wheel arch, the lights extend to the back, onto the long hood. Basically, what the face lacks is a definition of characteristic features instead of the current simple facia. The headlights' design is a nice feature, but the front could still use some more dedication to give it a more distinctive and balanced appearance.
Standing on huge wheels, the Nissan GT-R Concept's side view is really pleasing, but still aggressive. Distinctive front-wheel arches start off copying the hood's lines and then abruptly descent into small side-vents. The rear-wheel arches are reminiscent of those seen on the Aston Martin Vanquish. Similar to Nissan's new Z-Car, the waist-line is rather high, leaving space for relatively narrow side windows only. The roof extends all the way back to the rear, which is dominated by the characteristic round tail-lights and wide exhaust pipes on either side below them - a little like a 1968 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
Nissan says, the stage of design is similar to that of the Z-Car when it was first introduced as a concept, so detail changes to the exterior are very likely. Hopefully Nissan won't change too much.
The engine choice is still much of a speculation. Rumors vary between turbocharged V6 and V8 or normally aspirated V8 (at least for international markets), which are expected to produce between 335 hp and 450 hp. Unfortunately, the days of the fabulous RB26DETT appear to be counted, but at least the new car will continue to use ATTESA, the GT-R's computer-controlled all-wheel-drive system. New for the coming GT-R will likely be variable damping control for the suspension and a paddle-shift six-speed gearbox.
The GT-R Concept is dominated by light-weight materials like aluminium and carbonfiber which will hopefully make it onto the production model. Thanks to its lower kerb weight and (hopefully) more power, the new Nissan GT-R should be even quicker than the current version.
Looking at the new V35 Nissan Skyline Sedans, one quickly notices they have lost all similarity with Skylines of the past, whereas the GT-R Concept keeps the round taillights, which had been the most easily identifiable trait of previous Skylines, and other mechanical features we had known from the Skyline GT-R so far.