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Nismo arrival finally confirmed

Worth the wait: Nissan will finally introduce the Nismo high-performance brand to Australia in February next year, lead by the most powerful road car produced by the auto-maker.

Nissan chalks 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour GT3 race for GT-R Nismo debut

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Nissan logo4 Oct 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

AFTER three years of tantalising teases and agonising forecast extensions, Nissan has at last confirmed an arrival date for the first of its mighty Nismo performance models, with the sledgehammer 441kW GT-R Nismo due to land in February 2017 priced from $299,000 before on-roads.

Its debut coincides with the Bathurst 12 Hour GT3 event where two track examples of the monstrous coupe will go toe-to-toe with other endurance racers using an engine closely related to the version found under the bonnet of the fourth and most potent GT-R variant.

The arrival of the supercar-slaying Nissan forges the Japanese car-maker’s high-performance sub-brand Down Under, which is set to grow with more, as yet, unidentified models – most likely the Juke small crossover and 370Z sports coupe.

At the official announcement of the Nismo launch date, Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery said the presence of the most potent GT-R in Australia was another key facet of its strategy to rebuild a romance for Nissan.

“We believe Nismo has a significant opportunity to provide an emotional connection to our brand that perhaps has been missing,” he said. “Nismo is a brand that’s well known, particularly in some younger generations – let’s call it the Playstation generation.” Mr Emery explained that other critical areas of the brand-sharpening plan includes a continued presence in motor racing and an ongoing commitment to local motorsport.

“We obviously have prepared the ground for this with the way we have branded our motorsport program and our GT3 program over the last three years so it has been a process of preparation and planning and we are pleased to be able to go to market early next year.” As previously reported, the company is not stopping at just one Nismo model for Australia and Mr Emery reiterated that the GT-R Nismo would be followed by “more of a mainstream product” within 12 months of the GT-R launch.

“We want to ensure that we had a Nismo product plan that didn’t deliver just one car so certainly our aspirations are for GT-R to be joined by additional models over the following years. We’re not just doing this off the back of one car and there will be follow-up models with the Nismo branding available in Australia in the near future.

“I would have an expectation that we would be adding another car to that within 12 months and that secondary car will obviously offer more volume and more exposure to the brand because GT-R is a very specialist product.” Mr Emery did not put a specific figure on the local GT-R Nismo allocation but explained that Australia had been offered a generous number compared with other regions and considering the worldwide supply constraints.

“We’ve probably got more than our fair share on a global scale in terms of the allocation that we’ve been given.

“Is it going to be enough in the initial two years in terms of enquiry and customer orders? Probably not, but I don’t think it will be far off the allocation we require to keep our loyal GT-R customers happy.” First time GT-R buyer aspirations will have to be reined in for at least 18 months for the new Nismo with long-standing GT-R buyers given first refusal on the car, and Mr Emery said he was confident a large proportion of the customers it approaches would take Nissan up on its offer to own a Nismo.

“In the initial 12 to 18 months we’ve prioritised the communication with some of our key clients as we lead up to the launch. I would suspect that our GT-R customer pool is probably going to swallow up the first year of allocation. In terms of free supply for clients outside of that I think we’re probably talking about calendar year 2018.” The Nismo will be available through the existing network of 12 Nissan high-performance dealerships that currently offer the GT-R variants, but Mr Emery said that expanding the showrooms to 20 outlets was a possibility over the coming 18 months, depending on the popularity of the Nismo brand.

GoAuto has been reporting the unfolding saga of the Nismo brand and its protracted arrival in Australia since 2013 when the first murmurings started, but Mr Emery said the delays had been necessary to pitch the performance halo at Australia at exactly the right time.

“It was about making sure that the timing was right and that we didn’t launch and then have a false start or a long gap between expanding the product offering”.

Customers lucky enough to make it on to the exclusive first allocation list will be taking delivery of not just the most capable performance car in its class, but one of the fastest cars in the world at any price.

Exact local specifications are yet to be announced but Australian versions of the GT-R Nismo are expected to differ little, if at all, from the car that broke cover in May this year.

Like the three updated versions that went on sale last month, the Nismo has a 3.8-litre V6 sending power to all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, but the Nismo engineers threw a bucket of equipment from the racing GT-R, including the same pair of turbochargers, lighter components and some carbon-fibre construction.

The net result is a mighty 441kW at 6800rpm and 652Nm between 3600rpm and 5600rpm, enough to blast Godzilla from zero to 100km/h in an unofficial 2.7 seconds.

The Nismo has some common features with the rest of the GT-R range such as the recently facelifted look and revised aerodynamics, but adds to the mix with some serious kit, including a carbon-fibre bootlid and front bumper, massive rear spoiler, extra bodykit and different wheels.

Suspension has also been fettled over the current top-spec Track Edition for even sharper handling, faster response and cornering speed.

On the inside, the Nismo gets front seats by fast-road performance specialist Recaro, upholstered in black leather with red Alcantara inserts.

2017 Nissan GT-R pricing*
Premium (a) $189,000
Premium Luxury (a) $195,000
Track Edition (a) $227,000
Nismo (a) $299,000
*Excludes on-road costs

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