The automotive press has spent five years hypothesizing about the next-generation Nissan GT-R, and the prognostications won’t stop soon. Autocar spoke to Nissan head designer Alfonso Albaisa, who revealed that the design team hasn’t yet begun working on the car in earnest because the powertrain isn’t decided. There’ll be a new platform, and there are exterior sketches, but until the internals get locked in, the shell remains a mystery. The most important consideration, Albaisa said, is that the next GT-R be “the fastest super sports car in the world.”
How will the GT-R achieve that? The designer would only say the new coupe would “play the advanced technology game,” adding, though, that said game didn’t necessarily mean hybridization. It’s possible Godzilla could omit an electric motor. However, we’d be shocked if that happened when the primary competition — the Porsche 911 and even the C8 Chevrolet Corvette — have hybrid options planned or rumored over the lifecycles of their next-gen models, and super sports cars like Lamborghini and Ferrari are already confirmed for hybrid conversion.
Years ago, during the dark days of the LMP1 GT-R LM NISMO, sabers rattled about the next GT-R getting some version of the 3.0-liter V6 in the race car, and assumed electric assistance. Former Nissan EVP Andy Palmer said there was the “very real prospect of enhancements coming from [the race car] and ending up on a sports car like the Nissan GT-R,” and, “I’d expect to see some form of hybridization on the next generation of car.” The design would be a toned-down version of the 2020 Vision Gran Turismo, and power would stand at around 786 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque, shifting through a new eight-speed dual-clutch. But the race car died an awful death, Palmer’s now the head man at Aston Martin, and the Vision Gran Turismo never left the video game.
Even more confounding, Albaisa’s comments make it sound like the new GT-R might need to overcome its own bodywork on its way to being “the quickest car of its kind” and owning the track. The new coupe won’t shrink from its heavyweight stance, with Albaisa saying the visual mass and “audacity” will need to communicate that “It’s an animal; it has to be imposing and excessive.” We should expect a cohesive design that does its aero work without a lot of extra appendages. Said the designer, “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.'”
A 2016 report from Autoevolution ties into Albaisa’s comments. We were told not to expect major weight loss, with GT-R father-figure Kazutoshi Mizuno suggesting in interviews that the coupe’s corpulence “ensures a correct level of handling for all customers.”
So all we think we know now is that we’ll get 2+2 seating, a twin-turbo V6 in front, a transaxle layout, and an all-wheel-drive powertrain. And based on this latest insight, and what the competition’s doing, we can probably expect a healthy price increase for the standard model whenever it finally gets here.