Car Reviews Motoring

New Nissan GT-R NISMO

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The latest Nissan GT-R NISMO is the culmination of two of Nissan’s most important nameplates: GT-R – representing 50 years of history, pedigree, success in racing and a global fan following – and NISMO, NISsan MOtorsports International Co., Nissan’s in-house tuning arm.

True to what NISMO stands for, the GT-R NISMO is a more extreme, track-oriented version of the GT-R that has matured through rigorous refinements, and become sharper and more rewarding as a street car.

The model is about total balance. New, race-proven turbochargers, improved gearbox shift control, lighter components, reduced overall mass and upgrades to the brakes, wheels and tyres contribute to a 2.5-second reduction in lap time around Nissan’s development track. Plus, improvements have been made to the GT-R’s inherent high speed stability.

Kaizen

The pursuit of perfection requires persistence. The constant need to evolve and fine-tune – this is kaizen. Kaizen is at the heart of the GT-R NISMO, a team wide mindset that has pushed the men and women behind this car to challenge themselves each step of the way. They show an inherent curiosity and “what-if” mentality when revisiting every minute detail. Small improvements may not seem important in isolation, but it’s when they’re combined as a whole that a difference becomes perceptible. That’s when a car’s character grows; it’s not all about numbers and performance but the holistic effect – how the GT-R NISMO becomes an extension of your body and mind as the vehicle carves a line through a favourite road.

Racing

Racing improves the breed, and that is very much the case with the GT-R NISMO. The car’s new turbochargers are the same ones used on the GT3 race car version of the GT-R. These employ a 10-vane turbine wheel, where the vanes are 0.3 millimetres thinner. This accounts for a 14.5% reduction in mass, and therefore inertia (24%), allowing for an increase in transient response.

Special attention was also given to the actual design and profile of the vanes. Their new shape optimises efficiency with exhaust gases to boost flow rate resulting in improved boost response and acceleration as well as in gear “pickup”. While power remains unchanged at 600ps, the result is a sharper feeling. 

What’s more, a revised titanium exhaust system now has a more emphatic – yet not intrusive – tone coming through to the cabin. Handcrafted burnished tips are a signature touch of the lightweight system. And, when in R-mode, the improved six-speed dual-clutch transmission now shifts gears more aggressively and intuitively. This is thanks to a new algorithm for the adaptive shift control (ASC). It selects the best gear for any driving scenario and can especially be felt during braking and approach into a corner, where the driveline feels more precise with faster downshift reactions to help reduce understeer on entry. With engine speed kept at a higher rate thanks to lower gear engagement, acceleration also improves when powering out of a corner.

Aerodynamics

With aerodynamic gains in mind, the design of the up to the minute GT-R NISMO has undertaken an evolution. The changes are completely functional, increasing cooling of key areas like the engine bay and brakes, all without negatively affecting the drag coefficient value of 0.26.

Further setting the most potent and exclusive of all GT-Rs apart from the rest is the amount of carbon fibre found throughout the car. Each component has been improved to cut weight, increase downforce and enhance aerodynamics. Combined, these exterior parts alone have resulted in a total weight saving of 10.5 kilograms, joining the nearly 20-kilogram reduction through upgrades and new components. 

The most significant piece of carbon fibre application is the roof. It removes a substantial amount of weight where it counts most, lowering the car’s centre of gravity for improved handling and feel. The roof panel is made by using a world-first technique of combining a Prepreg Compression Molding process with a carbon plate and lightweight hard foam sandwich structure. This gives the carbon structure a tighter and lighter weave, improving sound insulation. Other changes in the carbon fibre construction are the NACA ducts on the bonnet, which are now incorporated into the composite structure.

The GT3 GT-R race car heavily inspired the design of the new front wings. They now sport louvres that increase front downforce by 7 kgf without creating additional drag. The wind tunnel-tested vented wings also help smooth airflow along the rest of the body and avoid creating turbulence at the rear wing, promoting even greater high-speed stability. As a multi-functional feature, they also help funnel hot pressurised air out and away from the engine bay.

Colour choices for the latest Nissan GT-R NISMO include Solid Red, Jet Black Pearl, Super Silver Quadcoat and Pearl White Tricoat. All shades feature black side mirrors that differentiate the car from other GT-R models.

Brakes

Nissan collaborated with Italian brake manufacturer Brembo to create an all-new brake package for the GT-R NISMO. Special large callipers join carbon ceramic rotors, the biggest ever fitted to a Japanese performance car at 410 mm in the front and 390 mm at the rear.

The six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers are exceptionally rigid. Their construction brings a significant improvement to brake reaction time. This delivers a more responsive and progressive brake pedal, full of feedback to allow precise modulation of braking force. The result is the ability to shed speed quicker and more effectively while staying resistant to fade.

Handling, Grip and Steering

The GT-R NISMO’s suspension tuning improves cornering stability (lateral G), with enhanced yaw-rate response and smoother ride quality. The steering features better linearity and precision than ever, requiring minimal corrections even at speeds reaching 196mph (like, that’s possible in the UK, right, dads?).

The exclusive 20-inch RAYS forged aluminum wheels incorporate a nine-spoke design that enhances rigidity. A diamond-cut white-and-red NISMO logo on the rim marks their exclusivity.

The newly designed Dunlop tyres feature a fresh rubber compound, boosting grip by 7%, and a tread pattern with one fewer groove for the fronts, which increases the contact patch by 11%. The tyre’s shoulder shape is slightly rounder so that when the car leans during cornering, more rubber surface makes contact with the ground, generating more grip. Overall, tyre cornering force is up by 5%. This also improves the steering response in terms of straight-line tracking and stability without impacting rolling resistance performance.

Comfort

Inside the cabin, the exclusive GT-R NISMO front seats created by Recaro have been enhanced to offer better containment for you and your passenger. This is achieved through a three-layer structure in which carbon fibre sandwiches a main inner section to improve the way your upper body is supported. The addition of a core frame structure to the carbon shell has increased the torsional rigidity of the seats (approx. 20%), helping fight against flex when pushing hard through the corners, as well as giving more general support when actuating the brakes.

Only one interior colour combination is available, a NISMO-specific black leather with red accents. The seat inserts are Red Synthetic Suede, and there is Dark Grey Alcantara on the steering wheel, dashboard and roof liner.

Dads, if you need a weekend car for getting away from the kids, then this could be it. And even if you can’t afford the mere £180,000+ GT-R now, then there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to own the model. You know those twisty roads and tasty track days are waiting for you!

Fast Facts:

  • Price: £180,095
  • Engine: 3.8-litre V6 turbo petrol, all-wheel-drive
  • Power: 600ps
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch auto
  • 0-62mph: 2.8 seconds
  • Max Speed: 196mph
  • MPG: 19.2
  • CO2: 325g/km

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