Aside from powertrain tweaks, changes to the sixth-generation GT-R will be focused on bringing it visually and technically in line with Nissan’s future line-up.
Nissan is likely to stick with a combustion engine as part of a wide-reaching overhaul to the GT-R supercar in the coming years – though electrical assistance is highly likely.
Next-gen GT-R could get retro-inspired styling
Expected to continue with twin-turbo V6
Current GT-R is already 14-years-old
Next-gen Nissan GT-R: What could it be like?
The V6-powered coupé has been on sale largely unchanged – save for subtle model year updates and a plethora of special editions since it arrived 14 years ago. The introduction of the next-generation ‘R36’ model is unlikely to bring much in the way of significant technical overhaul – although the introduction of a new platform could see it adopt a degree of electrification.
Speaking to our sister publication, Autocar UK, about the future of the super sports car, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida recently said, "We are looking at how we can do electrification. It’s a really professional sports vehicle with no compromise. The Z is for someone like me who enjoys sports cars. The GT-R is a professional machine and we need to work it out for the future.”
He echoed earlier comments from Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa, who told Autocar UK in 2018 – when development work had already begun – that the ultimate priority is for the R36 to be “the fastest super-sportscar in the world”.
He elaborated that this title could still theoretically be achieved without a hybrid system. “Whether we go to a lot of electrification or none at all, we can achieve a lot power-wise. But we’re definitely making a new platform, and our goal is clear: the GT-R has to be the quickest car of its kind. It has to own the track and play the advanced technology game. But that doesn’t mean it has to be electric,” he added.
Nissan recently launched its new Z sports coupé in the US, with upgrades over its 370Z predecessor extending to a wide-reaching design overhaul and chassis enhancements, rather than the adoption of an electrified drivetrain – it uses a 400hp, twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6. Whether that will be the case for the more highly strung GT-R remains to be seen.
Nissan previously created a hybridised 3.0-litre V6 for use in a short-lived World Endurance Championship prototype in 2015, and if that powertrain were to be carried over to the GT-R, it would allow for a substantially increased total output. However, that racecar was front-driven – an unlikely format for the GT-R.
Crucially, the current GT-R remains a competitive performer against fresher rivals – including the Porsche 911, which has entered two new generations since its Japanese rival arrived. The GT-R produces 592hp from its twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 in its most potent form, sending the hardcore GT-R Nismo from 0-100kph in around 2.6sec. This comfortably makes it one of the quickest accelerating internal-combustion engined cars on sale.
Next-gen Nissan GT-R: styling direction
Aside from any powertrain tweaks, changes to the GT-R for its sixth generation will no doubt be focused on bringing it visually and technically in line with Nissan’s future line up. The 240Z-inspired retro styling of the new Z hints at Nissan’s intention to recognise successful models from its past, and the GT-R’s storied history means a similar tactic could be employed for the R36.
Albaisa hinted at an old-school angular approach to the design. “It doesn’t care what every other supercar in the world is doing. It simply says: ‘I’m a GT-R, I’m a brick, catch me.’ It’s the world’s fastest brick, really. And when I review sketches for the new car, I say that a lot: ‘Less wing, more brick'.” Therefore, the straight-edged silhouette of the R32 GT-R (1989-1994) is likely to have an influence on the R36.