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Nissan GT-R gets light upgrades for new model year

Mon, 05 Nov 2012

Nissan revealed the next iteration of the Japanese-spec GT-R supercar last week. The 2013 model will enter that market sometime this month, but those sold in the U.S. will debut in January and be sold as 2014 models. Improvements span the engine, chassis and interior, along with some trim upgrades. The only thing Nissan didn't specify is the base price, which could break the six-figure mark this year.

Output stays the same from the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 at 545 hp, but new high-output fuel injectors improve midrange response and acceleration at higher rpms. A relief valve has been added to the turbocharger bypass, which helps sustain acceleration at high rpm. A new baffle in the oil pan stabilizes oil pressure during high-performance driving.

For the chassis, Nissan engineers lowered the vehicle's center of gravity and adjusted the front shocks and stabilizers. Cam bolts improve camber accuracy and longevity of alignment settings. Frame reinforcements were added to improve suspension performance and increase body rigidity.

Three trims are offered—pure, black and premium. Nissan says interior quality has been improved, with thicker seams on the instrument panel and doors. On the black edition, a new red and black steering wheel spices things up. Buyers specifying the premium trim will get the option of a two-tone cabin. Rays wheels are offered on the black edition, and a rearview monitor now comes standard on black and premium GT-Rs.

The chief engineer for the GT-R, Kazutoshi Mizuno, recently spoke to Nissan's internal news agency about the new model; we have reprinted the transcript below.

How has testing at the famed German circuit of Nurburgring had factored into the 2013 Japanese market model?

Every year in spring and fall for around a month, respectively, we develop the car intensively in Germany. The Nurburgring circuit puts the car into twice the performance stress of a track like this one.

We work on specific issues such as heat or the forces acting on the car, aiming to make a car road-capable in all global conditions - and not only the tough conditions of Nurburging, but even on winding German mountain roads where the speed limit is 100 kph. There are many cars that cannot make that speed limit, so it is very important to put our car into such tough conditions.

Another thing is endurance. When we go to Nurburgring, we test drive the car over 3,000 km, about the same as driving 400,000 km on public roads twice a year. So, this year our themes were enhanced quality and consistent upgrades, and by testing in Germany we can achieve both aims.

What is the outlook for GT-R production and sales?

To prepare for the launch of the 2013 model year, the Nissan Tochigi plant line is on full operational mode. We already have pre-orders for the 2013 model, and we are now asking the plant to increase their production capacity.

What are your plans for global auto shows?

This car will be displayed at global motor shows in the U.S. and Europe. This year in particular we are offering a version with a fashionable interior, called “amber red.” This is intended to increase our customer base of women or slightly older drivers, and we intend to display this special interior version at global auto shows.

What are the merits of this GT-R model to competitors?

What is important for Nissan as an automaker is our commitment to areas such as safety. We not only contend that in a GT-R a normal car conversation is possible at 300 kph on the German autobahn, or that the car can do a lap at Nurburgring in 7 minutes 18 seconds, but we consider areas that other competitors don't.

'How do we design a car to endure a flat tire at 300 kph that can make it to the repair shop?' or 'how do we protect the passenger in case of an accident at 200 kph?' or 'how do we activate the VDC (vehicle dynamics control) system at over 250 kph?'

Overall, besides just marketing tag lines, we need to develop technologies of trust that other manufacturers don't. That contributes to the Nissan brand and what I want to push.

By Jake Lingeman