Saturday, March 29, 2008

2009 Nissan GT-R

For years Nissan has been holding back it's flagship, techno masterpiece Skyline from the U.S. market. Little was known in the states about the Skyline series Nissan until the hugely popular video game "Grand Turismo" took off like a Zero in the late 1990's. Instantly the Nissan Skyline became the must have car for the playstation generation.

For years many in the U.S. begged and pleaded with Nissan to release it's previous generation Skyline (R34) in the U.S. market. Top exec's and Nissan still couldn't believe the U.S. market was ready for a 70K plus econo box with more digital gizmo's than a Las Vegas tech convention. Another problem that Nissan engineers realized was it was just to costly to reconfigure the car for left hand drive.

Finally after all these years, your dreams of a $70K+ Nissan have arrived!! And the beast from the east has affectionately been named the Nissan GT-R!! At first glance this car plays proportion tricks with the eyes. Body lines seems to abruptly start and stop at random. There are very few design hints from it's older Skyline GT-R R34 cousin. But, if you look really hard, it still looks like a Skyline. At first the design wasn't my favorite. Over time though, from when I first saw the concept drawings for this car, it really has grown on me.

The interior keeps with Skyline tradition with no over the top luxury items. Basically it's a sea of plastic, nobs and digital read outs telling you everything from oil pressure and G's pulled, to your most recent high score. Power is delivered from a rear mounted (remember the Porsche 928?) dual clutch (Audi DSG anyone?) 6 speed flappy paddle gearbox. Mated with a ultra high tech All-wheel drive system, the new Nissan GT-R is living up to it's techno showcase badge so far.

Now comes the real business of this car. Gone is the longtime inline 6 cylinder turbo from the previous R34 Skyline. Instead Nissan has elected to go with a twin-turbo, twin intake, 3.8 liter V6 pumping out an understated 480HP & 430 ft. lbs of torque. I emphasize understated because this car weighs in at over 3900 lbs! According to Car and Driver, the Nissan GT-R ran a 0-60 time in an eye popping 3.3 seconds!!!! finishing off the quarter mile in a mere 11.5 seconds at 124 mph. This is Enzo territory folks.

Nissan may have changed everything with the 2009 GT-R. If 70K can now buy you that kind of performance, it will have every fiery Italian car designer scratching their head. If your only concern is pure performance, and badge appeal with matching hand sewn luggage is not on your list of top priorities, I can't see why anyone would elect for anything other than this playstation racer dream come true!

(Thanks to Bryan for the great image from the Philly auto show!)

A great 5th Gear test video of the Nissan GT-R!

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