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Driven: 50th Anniversary leads Nissan GT-R update

Nissan commemorates 50 years of GT-R performance with special, broader upgrades

23 Aug 2019

NISSAN Australia has ushered in the MY20 update for its GT-R supercar range, which is punctuated by a celebratory 50th Anniversary variant that is steeped in history.


Revealed this year at the New York motor show in April, the upgraded GT-R is headlined by the inclusion of ‘Nismo technology’ that the Japanese brand claims gives it grand-tourer-like acceleration, braking and handling.


This is facilitated by updated turbochargers that adopt an abradable seal (taken from the GT-R GT3 racecar) to decrease compressor housing-blade clearance and therefore reduce air leakage and improve responsiveness at low engine speeds, especially when powering out of corners.


That said, the supercar’s 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine continues to produce 419kW of power at 6800rpm and 632Nm of torque from 3300-5800rpm in its ‘regular tune’.


The GT-R’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission has also been given a pull-through, with its R Mode delivering more aggressive downshifts by allowing gear changes when ABS is engaged. Nissan says this makes for better corner exits and less understeer.


Retuned suspension (front MacPherson struts and rear multi links with three-mode adaptive dampers) improves ride comfort and cornering ability, with the brand claiming “it is more linear and precise, requiring fewer corrections”.


The supercar’s steering angle has been tweaked for better cornering, braking and yaw response, according to Nissan, while a new brake booster – located within upgraded Brembo steel brakes – increases initial pedal response by requiring less stroke, enhancing stopping power and feel.


Twenty-inch Rays alloy wheels with a 15-spoke design (excluding Track Edition) are said to be the lightest rims yet to grace the R35 GT-R, while the titanium exhaust system now features blue-rimmed tips that are reminiscent of molten-hot items. The supercar’s front foglights have been redesigned, too.


While Ivory Pearl, Super Silver, Gun Metallic, Jet Black, Vibrant Red and Blaze Metallic carry over as paintwork options, Bayside Blue joins the colour palette as a heritage hue based off Wangan Blue that was offered with the R34 GT-R.


The Premium Luxury grade is also available with a new interior colour, Urban Grey, which joins Samurai Black, Amber Red and Tan, while the Track Edition variant is offered with the Nismo cabin option that bundles in the Nismo flagship’s carbon-fibre-backed Recaro front seats and Alcantara trim for $12,000.


However, all of these upgrades come at a cost, with the Premium and Premium Luxury rising by $4800, to $193,800 and $199,800 plus on-road costs respectively, while the Track Edition is now $8000 dearer, at $235,000.


The aforementioned 50th Anniversary grade costs $9500 more than the Premium Luxury but builds upon its specification with the choice of three exterior colour combinations (Super Silver with white, Ivory Peal with red, and Bayside Blue with white).


Either way, the contrasting hue is used for the 50th Anniversary’s livery that is applied to its bonnet, roof and boot lid in an ode to the GT-R racecar from the 1971 Japan Grand Prix.


‘50th Anniversary’ branding is also found on the alloy wheels and bootlid, with a complementing badge found to the right of the latter, below the ‘GT-R’ logo.


The 50th Anniversary’s interior is highlighted by exclusive two-tone Twilight Grey semi-aniline leather upholstery, which trims its steering wheel, seats, doors and dashboard, among most other touchpoints.


Further ‘50th Anniversary’ badging is found on the seats, centre console, tachometer and scuff plates.


Speaking to GoAuto this week at the GT-R 50th Anniversary national media launch at the Norwell Motorplex in Queensland, Nissan Australia general manager of product management, pricing, electrification and mobility Chris Schultz said only four examples of the special have been brought in so far, with the quartet to initially serve as press vehicles.


He added that the 50th Anniversary will therefore be built to order, with two buyers already putting down their hard-earned for a piece of history.


“I wouldn’t be surprised if we get another six or seven, probably,” Mr Schultz said.


He explained that the 50th Anniversary will likely remain available until “early next year”, with no hard cap on production believed to be in place.


Standard equipment in the Premium includes a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, a rear mechanical limited-slip differential, Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600 DSST CTT high-performance run-flat tyres, LED headlights, daytime running lights and tail-lights; a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors.


Inside, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, an 11-speaker Bose sound system, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, black leather-accented upholstery with synthetic suede inserts, and carbon-fibre trim feature.


Stepping up to the Premium Luxury adds semi-aniline leather for the seats and Nappa leather for other interior surfaces, both of which are stitched by hand.


The Track Edition goes further with its Nismo-tuned suspension and 17.3mm hollow rear stabilizer bar, black 20-inch Rays alloy wheels with a nine-spoke Nismo design, Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600 DSST CTT (NR1) high-performance run-flat tyres, wider front fenders, carbon-fibre rear spoiler, Recaro front seats and black and red leather-accented upholstery.


As reported, similar upgrades – plus more – are incoming for the GT-R’s 441kW/652Nm Nismo flagship, but the yet-to-be-priced variant is not due in showrooms for another “three or four months”, according to Mr Schultz. For reference, the previous model cost $299,000.


GT-R sales have taken a hit this year, with 20 examples sold to the end of July – a 37.5 per cent decrease over the 32 deliveries made during the same period in 2018. It is the 10th best-selling model in the $200,000-plus sportscar segment.


2019 Nissan GT-R pricing*

Premium (a) $193,800
Premium Luxury (a) $199,800
50th Anniversary (a) $209,300
Track Edition (a) $235,000

*Excludes on-road costs

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