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2008 Paris Motor Show – NISSAN GT-R : The Supercar for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

The Nissan GT-R is a multi-dimensional performance machine that lives up to the concept of “the ultimate supercar that can be driven by anyone, anytime, anywhere” yet it also achieved a lap time of 7:29 around the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife, one of the fastest times achieved by a production-spec vehicle to date.

“The new GT-R is an extraordinary car, a technological flagship for this company that demonstrates our passion for cars. It is designed for optimal high-speed performance in all road conditions. No car combines such speed, ease of driving, ability to excel in all road conditions, such exhilaration, value-for-money and distinctive style. As with its predecessors that have worn the famous GT-R badge, it is a technological wonder car, with an extraordinary breadth of ability. That’s why we say it’s for anyone, anywhere, at anytime.”
Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President for Corporate and Product Planning, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

At a glance

* New 3.8-litre twin turbo V6 engine producing 480 PS/353 kW and 588 Nm
* New six-speed paddle shift dual-clutch gearbox with full automatic function
* An independent transaxle and advanced four-wheel drive system
* Aerodynamic body of just 0.27 Cd – plus downforce front and rear
* New body using lightweight steel, carbonfibre and diecast aluminium construction
* Brembo drilled ventilated disc brakes offering immense stopping power
* Manually adjustable dampers, gear shift and stability control
* Multi-functional instrument display, designed by Polyphony, the creators of Gran Turismo, the iconic racing game
* Customer deliveries will begin in Europe in March 2009

The GT-R is built on an all-new Premium Midship platform. This new platform enables the use of a world’s first independent rear transaxle ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system, which optimises weight distribution and handling capability.

Under the bonnet, the GT-R features an all-new hand-built VR series 3.8-litre twin turbo V6 producing 480 PS (353 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 588 Nm of torque between 3,200 and 5,200 rpm, while meeting US ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) standards. The VR38DETT is backed by an all-new, paddle-shifted GR6 sequential 6-speed dual clutch rear transaxle, which can be driver selected to shift in a split-second. The sequential-shifting transaxle features separate wet clutches for the odd (1,3,5) and even (2,4,6) gears and pre-selects the next highest and next lowest gear for immediate shifts. It also features Hill Start Assist for easy starts on uphill inclines.

The GT-R will be available in three trim levels, GT-R, GT-R Premium Edition and GT-R Black Edition. All grades have the 480PS V6 twin-turbo engine, dual clutch transaxle gearbox, advanced all-wheel drive system, adjustable suspension, run-flat tyres and touch-screen multi-function meter. The Premium Edition features an 11-speaker Bose audio system, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dim rear-view mirror and automatic headlamps, while the Black Edition comes with Smoke Grey wheel finish, exclusive Super Black exterior paint and black and red leather trim.

Exterior Design

“It is clearly not an Italian, German or American car – it is unmistakably Japanese. It is very mechanical – almost like an animated robot – has big shoulders and looks strong and muscular. We didn’t want a nice elegant shape – we wanted an original shape. Some people who buy this car will also have a Ferrari and a Porsche. This car must be different from all others. I see it as a car influenced not by feminine beauty, like Italian cars, but by masculine beauty – it is strong, well toned, well muscled,” says Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, & Chief Creative Officer, Design and Brand Management, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

The new Nissan GT-R is a muscular, distinctive looking car. Chunky, edgy, wide shouldered, ground-hugging and flat-sided, it is also one of the most aerodynamic cars in the world (Cd 0.27) as well as being one of the most distinctive.

The style is based closely on the GT-R Proto shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. The only significant styling difference – apart from small details – is to the front styling, changed mostly to allow for superior crash test protection.

The new car also continues the proud GT-R design lineage. There are the four round tail lamps mirrored in the four chunky round exhausts directly below. Specific styling cues, borrowed from great Nissans of the past, include the edgy boxy shape of the PGC10 GT-R of 1969, the four round tail lamps of the KPGC110 GT-R of 1973 and the long thin slit grille opening of the R34 GT-R of 1999.

Interior design

Like the exterior, the GT-R’s interior is stylish but highly functional. The cabin is unique, sharing no major components or design features with any other Nissan model.
Instruments are large, clear and simple, all directly in front of the driver for maximum legibility. The circular analogue instruments are ringed in chunky bezels and there is a tachometer in pride of place, red-lined at 7000rpm. Within the tachometer is an easy-to-see gearshift position display.

More unusual is a multi-function display, in the centre of the dash that gives a detailed log of driving behaviour. The design of the multi-function display – which also includes the satellite navigation and audio controls – was done in conjunction with Polyphony Digital Inc, designer of the Gran Turismo video game series for Sony PlayStation.

In the centre of the dashboard, below the multi-function display, is a cluster angled towards the driver. It contains switches for the air conditioning, audio and set-up switches. The centre console, which sweeps through the middle of the cabin, contains the red start button, gear selector and parking brake.

Seats are especially designed for the Nissan GT-R. They’re heavily side bolstered for maximum lateral support and comfort. To relax the lower legs during longer drives, the front edge of the seat is unusually flat. The seat has three colour schemes: black, grey or black with red highlight.

Like many high-performance four-seat coupes, the rear seats are more ‘occasional’ seats than full-size chairs, intended for children or for carrying bags, jackets and other goods.

The trunk is large (VDA: 315L), easily big enough for two sets of golf bags.


Nissan’s VR38DETT is a brand new engine specially developed for the Nissan GT-R. The 3.8-litre unit uses twin IHI turbochargers. Its maximum power is 480 PS (353 kW) at 6400rpm. This makes the Nissan GT-R one of the world’s most powerful road cars and the most powerful production car ever built by Nissan.

“More important than the absolute power, is the manner in which it is delivered,” says chief vehicle engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno. “The engine’s very tractable and that means it’s very easy to drive, a key quality of the Nissan GT-R.” Maximum torque of 588 Nm is delivered seamlessly from 3200-5200rpm.

It is also a very efficient engine, reducing emissions and fuel consumption. Environmental performance is further reinforced by its satisfying US U-LEV (ultra low emission vehicle) standards.

The engine’s efficiency is partly due to the innovative plasma-coated bores, which improve cooling, boosting fuel efficiency and power. The plasma sprayed cylinder liner bores are just 0.15mm thick, compared with conventional cast iron liners of 2.6mm. Not only are they much better at dissipating heat, improving efficiency, they’re also lighter – saving about 3 kg in a V6 engine.

The fully symmetrical intake and exhaust systems increase air intake and reduce exhaust resistance, producing a smooth and fast gas flow. The twin IHI turbochargers are highly responsive.

Emissions are improved by a secondary air system, featuring an air pump, which promotes faster catalyst reaction, better to cleanse the exhaust.

The engines, like the transmissions, are all hand made. One craftsman hand-assembles the entire engine. The dedicated engine builders work in a special Nissan GT-R ‘clean room’ area of Nissan’s Yokohama plant.


The Nissan GT-R uses an all-new GR6-type transmission, exclusively developed for the car. The paddle shift six-speed twin clutch gearbox is highly efficient – there is minimum power loss so response and fuel economy is improved.

In M setting (for manual transmission mode), the paddle shift gives exceedingly quick changes. Such quick gear changing maintains the turbo boost, so acceleration is seamless.

The twin clutches make a significant contribution to shift speed. There are separate clutches for the odd (1,3,5) and even (2,4,6) gears. When the car is running in an odd number gear, the adjacent even numbered gears are pre-selected and are ready to make the shift immediately in the sequential-shifting gearbox. When downshifting, a synchronized rev control ‘blips’ the throttle precisely to synchronize engine speed for extra-fast downshifts. Borg-Warner triple cone synchronizers are used.

When R mode – the sportiest setting – is chosen on the set-up switch, a computerized control predicts the driver’s next gear change, based on throttle opening, vehicle speed, braking and other information. The gear changes are carried out even more rapidly in R mode.

The Nissan GT-R uniquely offers quick gear shift speeds and full automatic transmission. In A (for automatic transmission) range, the car changes gear automatically, in the most fuel efficient manner. Higher gears are used whenever possible, benefiting from the car’s massive 588 Nm of torque, and its long and flat torque curve.

The E-TS electronic traction control and rear final drive with limited slip differential (for better power delivery) are both integrated into the surprisingly compact and light rear transaxle. By placing the input/output shafts diagonally, the transmission is flat and the car’s centre of gravity can be lowered.

One highly useful and unusual feature is the Nissan GT-R’s Hill Start Assist. On an uphill gradient, which the car automatically recognises, the system maintains brake pressure for about two seconds after the release of the brake pedal, making hill starts easy.


The Nissan GT-R has an advanced suspension set-up offering excellent straight-line stability, even over 300 km/h (186 mph), plus top-class handling and braking in all situations – from urban commutes, to snowy and slushy roads, to the racetrack. The suspension is designed around the new ‘Premium Mid-ship’ package, and takes advantage of the perfect load balance of all four wheels.

A set-up switch allows the driver to access three different suspension modes: R (high performance), Sports (the normal setting) and Comfort (for city driving to absorb road bumps). The set-up switch electronically changes the settings on the Bilstein DampTronic dampers, specially developed for the Nissan GT-R.

In R mode, the Bilsteins ensure flat, hard cornering for high-speed and maximum feedback. In the other two modes – Sport and Comfort – the dampers are electronically controlled to produce the best possible handling/ride balance (depending on which setting is chosen). Special sensors measure eleven vehicle elements including vehicle speed, Lateral acceleration speed, steering angle speed, demand torque, estimate torque, engine rpm, brake oil pressure, normal acceleration (front axle and rear axle), ABS anti-lock braking behaviour and vehicle stop information.

Four-wheel drive

The new Nissan GT-R uses a super-advanced four-wheel drive system (ATTESA E-TS), which distributes power optimally to the front wheels when and if necessary. Though naturally rear-drive biased, up to 50 percent of torque can be fed forwards improving traction in difficult conditions – such as rain, frost, ice or snow. Front drive is also utilised to improve cornering performance on tarmac, improving traction and stability.

Computerised control automatically alters the front/rear torque split from zero torque at the front wheels, to 50 percent of total torque. The control is varied continuously, as various sensors on the car measure speed; lateral and transverse acceleration, steering angles, tyre slip and other road surface and yaw rate.

The GT-R also features a yaw-rate feedback sensor which measures the difference between the target yaw rate calculated from the steering angle, the actual yaw rate detected by the yaw-rate sensor and G sensor. Front and rear torque is automatically corrected accordingly.

The four-wheel drive system includes a Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC-R), the GT-R’s electronic stability control system. This continually monitors the vehicle’s behaviour. If off balance behaviour is detected – such as sliding or skidding – torque to the wheels will be altered to help stabilise the car. Electronic traction control is also fitted to rear mechanical limited slip differentials, preventing wheelspin and improving grip.


The Nissan GT-R has huge front and rear Brembo fully ventilated drilled steel disc brakes (φ380mm). They give superb pedal feel as well as immense stopping power.

The full floating rotors stabilise braking while also preventing heat distortion. The inner parts of the rotors have diamond-shaped ventilated ribs, to ease cooling, while the rotors are also cross drilled to run as cool as possible.

Brembo monoblock six-piston calipers are used at the front and four-pistons at the rear. To generate strong braking force and prevent caliper distortion, racing-style three bolt structures are used.

As befits a very special car, so the tyres for the GT-R are unique, specially developed for Nissan’s flagship. The tyres offer an extraordinary combination of high-speed balance, high-grip cornering on the world’s most testing racing circuits, great traction in the rain plus pliant comfort in the city. The tyres’ run-flat structures allow for 80 km (50 miles) of driving at 80 km/h (50 mph) following a loss of tyre pressure – an amazing achievement.

Specially developed by Bridgestone and Dunlop, the tyres have very stiff treads, essential for high-speed driving. They are also excellent at dissipating water, important for a car designed to perform equally well on smooth racing circuits or winter country roads.

Normally, run-flat tyres have very hard sidewalls, essential for maintaining tire shape after a puncture. The GT-R’s tyres have unusually pliant sidewalls, improving steering, agility and ride comfort. They are filled with nitrogen rather than conventional air, which prevent pressure change during high speed driving.

The tyres are 255/40ZRF20 front and larger 285/35ZRF20 rear. The 20-inch alloy wheel rims have special knurling better to secure the tires during especially hard acceleration or braking.


The GT-R was engineered to offer superb high-speed stability, excellent ride comfort for a performance car and top levels of safety. Its body is a mix of lightweight and advanced steels, carbonfibre and diecast aluminium for the key structural components.
Carbonfibre is used for the front end of the body structure, including the radiator support and the front of the engine bay. The advanced lightweight material gives great strength, especially in any front-end impact. Carbonfibre is also used for the rear aerodynamic diffuser undertray. Special glassfibre is used for the engine undertray, and helps give the GT-R a virtually flat bottom, further improving aerodynamics (Cd is an excellent 0.27 and that’s matched to good downforce, crucial on a high-performance car).

Light and very strong diecast aluminium is used for the front suspension strut housings, and the rigid cross brace members for both front and rear suspension further to improve rigidity. The door inners are also made from diecast aluminium, giving superb side impact safety protection.

From basic assembly to sealing, the GT-R body is built with far higher precision and lower tolerances than any previous model.

Multi-function meter

To allow the driver to get maximum enjoyment from the new Nissan GT-R, Nissan is offering more mechanical and driving information than ever before. The new multi-function meter, developed in conjunction with Polyphony Digital Inc, designer of the Gran-Turismo series for Sony PlayStation and Xanavi Informatics Corp (Navigation), is sited in the central part of the dashboard. It serves up a wealth of useful information, including:

* Mechanical information – including engine water temperature, oil temperature, oil pressure, transmission oil temperature, transmission oil pressure, turbocharger boost and front/rear torque split.
* Driving information – including accelerator opening, brake pedal pressure, steering angle and g-force both longitudinally and transversely.
* An optimal gearshift map is shown for fuel efficiency. It shows best gearshift points using easy-to-understand graphics. The monitor also includes a log covering the previous 20 minutes.
* Driving records – including routes used and duration time

The system is easy to use thanks to both a rotary selector switch, as well as it being a touch screen.


The GT-R’s audio system is best described as a state-of-the-art entertainment system. It is equipped with a 9.5GB hard drive which automatically copies and saves the music tracks that are played on the CD player, allowing drivers and passengers to create a digital music jukebox without carrying lots of CDs in the car.

Nissan has continued its collaboration with the leading audio system specialists, Bose. A tailor-made audio system for the GT-R has been jointly developed by BOSE and Nissan engineers. The sound reproduction is tuned to the exact acoustic requirements of the cabin, including shapes and materials. The 11-speaker system includes tweeters, squawkers and woofers. There are also two woofers in the rear centre armrest facing forward. The innovative layout uses the trunk for speaker enclosure. This rear centre woofers and door speakers mounted in rigid aluminium die-cast panels, which improves sound quality especially tight bass sound.


The GT-R achieves the world’s best level paint performance, in terms of resistance to chipping and scratches. It comes with lustrous paint sheen when new – partly through the application of a ‘double clear coat’ – and maintains this finish due to its uniquely tough paint. Tests have shown that the Nissan GT-R continues to have a blemish-free lustre long after rival paints are peppered with stone chips and small abrasions.

A new colour, ultimate silver, is also available on the GT-R. All GT-Rs get an electro deposition first coat, which bonds especially well to the metal, a special anti-chipping coat, primer, colour bases and then clear coats, both hand polished by craftsmen to achieve an exceptional finish.


When you own one of the world’s most desirable cars you want to keep it – which is why the new Nissan GT-R has one of the auto industry’s most advanced anti-theft security systems fitted as standard. The new system is designed to meet the highest standards of security to achieve a high Thatcham score, the prestigious British automotive security rating.

The sophisticated engine immobilizer uses an electronic ID signal between the key and the immobilizer system installed in the BCM (body control module) for code verification. If the system is verified, the BCM then signals the ECM (engine control module) to start the engine. If the electronic ID is incorrect, the engine is immobilized.

When a vehicle is locked with a keyless remote control or Intelligent Key, the system car is dead-locked, meaning it can’t be opened or started from inside. This prevents forced entry by handling door knobs inside the vehicle to unlock.

A wheel lock nut – an anti-rotation shroud – is also needed to undo the wheels, preventing theft of the valuable and attractive alloy wheels.

GT-R customer experience

To reflect the premium nature of the GT-R, Nissan has developed a suite of activities and services which will ensure that customers receive the highest levels of care between ordering and taking delivery of their GT-R, and when they have the keys in their hand.

The GT-R VIP Service for customers waiting to take delivery of their GT-R will provide a dedicated call-centre for handling all order enquiries. In addition, customers will be given access to a “Your GT-R” section of the website, allowing them to manage their experience via the web while waiting for delivery.

Then, after delivery a subscription based VIP Aftersales Service will be available, providing a five-star travel information and organisation service (including taxi service, train, car rental, hotel and reservation facilities), as well as Home Assistance (including locksmith, plumber, electrician and glazier) in some countries.

Plus, all customers will benefit from a free Pickup Service for their GT-R for all scheduled service and warranty repair appointments while the vehicle is under warranty. Customers can specify any pick-up and delivery point (subject to certain conditions).

Manufacturing and pre-delivery testing

The Nissan GT-R benefits from production procedures that include higher precision tolerance control for all body parts, vibration testing of all bodies to ensure superb torsional rigidity and strength, the use of specially designed precision machine tools and extra assembly steps that reflect the high technology and premium nature of the vehicle. All Nissan GT-Rs are built in Nissan’s Tochigi factory in Japan where Infiniti models are built. In addition, much of the Nissan GT-R’s assembly is done by hand, reflecting the complex nature of the vehicle and its hand crafted precision. Engines (built at Yokohama) and transmissions are hand made. In every case a single engineer hand assembles each engine and transmission.

Each car is conducted a break-in drive before shipping in addition to its regular inspections, so the very earliest use of the brakes, transmission and suspension will be smooth for the customer.

“With the GT-R, Nissan is confident it will join the ranks of the world’s great supercars thanks to its high performance and dynamic prowess. However, we believe that this car will eclipse some of the existing benchmarks on the market by combining this performance with an ease of driving and value for money which has never been seen before.” Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product Planning, Nissan Europe.

2009 Nissan GT-R – Hi-res. Images

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