Nissan is in the very early phases of designing and engineering an all-new platform for the next-generation GT-R. However, the carmaker still has to decide on how much electrification the car’s powertrain will adopt.
At the Goodwood Festival of Speed our sister publication, Autocar UK, had an exclusive interview with Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa. He said that the car won’t take cues from the limited-run GT-R50 special edition which was on show at the Festival, this weekend past, but he did say that it “has to be its own special car”. Albaisa said it has to be “the fastest super sports car in the world” and retain a visual identity which is unique amongst cars of its kind.
Although he’s constantly reviewing sketches for the car, Albaisa also said that his team cannot begin serious work until final decisions are made regarding its powertrain and the car's new platform is finalised. “The challenge is on the engineer, to be honest,” he said. “We will do our jobs when the time comes to make the car something really special – but we’re not even close to that, yet.”
This suggests that the new GT-R is still several years from production readiness, and is likely to arrive early in the next decade.
Albaisa also said that while Nissan was undecided on the powertrain, he would admit that electrification was likely, albeit not confirmed. “Whether we go to a lot of electrification or none at all, we can achieve a lot, power-wise,” he said. “But we are definitely making a new ‘platform’ and our goal is clear: GT-R has to be the quickest car of its kind. It has to ‘own’ the track. And it has to play the advanced technology game; but that doesn’t mean it has to be electric.”
The electrified powertrain of Nissan’s hybrid LMP1 GT-R racing car – which was developed for the 2016 World Endurance Championship but never raced – could provide a glimpse of what’s to come. The LMP1 GT-R used a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine and hybrid-electric system; Nissan pulled the plug on the project before the race.
If a similar system were used in the next GT-R, the boost of torque should ensure that it has an overall output that could make it the most potent production version of the super coupé family – despite a loss of around 800cc in engine capacity, as compared with the current GT-R. The current car produces 562bhp in standard form, suggesting that it may be possible to increase the next car's power figures to significantly more than 600bhp.
“We simply have to reflect people’s dreams; and I think people dream that the next GT-R will be the hottest super sports car in the world,” said Albaisa. He said that the next car would have a muscular character like the R35 in order to retain the GT-R “beast”. “It’s an animal; it has to be imposing and excessive. Not in terms of its wings, but rather its visual mass, its presence and its audacity.” he added. “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.'”
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