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Up Close and Personal…

I got a phone call from my friend Nicky, who works at ST Wangan. It started out just like any other conversation, until he asked me:

“Eh, wanna come see the new GT-R ah?”
“The new GT-R la! Wanna come and see or not?”

He needn’t ask me a third time so I quickly grabbed a camera and made a dash for my car. It’s not everyday you get to see the new GT-R now is it?

As I walked up to the shop, the black GT-R’s lines sprung out at me. I never expected the GT-R to be this huge. I mean, the previous GT-R’s weren’t small either, but the new one is quite the monster. The GT-R has all the right exterior details, such as the GT-R badges, the finely crafted taillights and the monstrous 6-piston Brembos lurking behind the front forged wheels.

Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s chief creative officer, admits that the styling of the new GT-R is influenced by the popular Gundam anime and it sure looks like it. The GT-R is a fine meld of swoopy lines and hard edges, but I still think the R32 GT-R is the best looking one yet. Sorry Nissan.

I have to applaud Nissan for sticking with the Nissan GT-R Proto’s lines however, as many car designers have to contend with the marketing department, which normally results in a watered down profit friendly design. Looking back at pictures of the Nissan GT-R Proto which was unveiled way back in 2005, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two at a glance.

Inside, the GT-R is as a car should be; functional and purposeful, without the over-styled, designer feel that cars like the Mini and Fiat 500 possess. The GT-R’s interior is a true no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point real driver’s interior. The interior is very well built, using the best quality materials and the seats are very supportive and are wrapped in sumptuous leather and so are parts of the dashboard and door panels.

I then asked the owner to pop the hood, which he gladly did. Underneath the hood of the GT-R is the all new VR38DETT, which Nissan claim has about 473bhp. But Motor Trend of the USA took the new GT-R for a dyno run and found that the VR38DETT 3.8 litre twin turbo V6 engine puts out substantially more than that. It put out around 430bhp at the wheels, which equates to about 530bhp at the crank. Looks like Nissan aren’t giving us the full story.

The owner then gladly started up the engine for all of us to hear and there’s nothing that will beat the voice of a finely tuned V6 engine. After turning over, the engine finally caught and came to life. The exhaust note settled to a low, creamy 6-cylinder rumble idle and with a stab of the throttle, let out a satisfying “Whormp!” Silent, but satisfying.

The new GT-R is available only with a dual-clutch gearbox, similar to Vaolswagen’s DSG gearbox. Some enthusiasts may cringe at the thought of not having a clutch pedal (including myself), but if it means that the car is faster for it, then by all means, give us the new-fangled technology. The gearbox is mounted at the rear, which means a more even weight distribution for better handling and stability.

There have been a few problems trying to tune the GT-R, as its electronics are so complicated than tampering with just one part of the whole system will render the car undrivable. But the good news is that top GT-R tuners such as MCR, Mine’s, Top Secret, HKS and Power House Amuse have managed to hack into the GT-R’s ECU. It is also reported that Nissan themselves gave access to selected tuners, such as Mine’s and MCR.

This is seriously good news, as the new GT-R has so, so much potential. There have already been sightings of the new GT-R being tested by the aforementioned tuning houses at the Tsukuba Circuit and I just can’t wait to see what sort of monsters these guys will come up with…

But good things come to those who wait…so I will….very impatiently.

Car: R35 Nissan GT-R
Engine: VR38DETT, 3.9litre V6, twin turbocharged, 95.5mm bore, 88.4mm stroke, cast aluminum cylinder block with high-endurance/low-friction plasma-sprayed bores, IHI twin turbochargers, one per cylinder bank.
Power: 473bhp@6400rpm
Torque: 588Nm@3200-5200rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, dual-clutch automated manual, ATTESA ET-S All-Wheel Drive (AWD) with independent rear-mounted transaxle integrating transmission, differential and AWD transfer case.
Suspension/Chassis: 4-wheel independent suspension with Bilstein DampTronic system with three driver-selectable modes: Normal/Sport (for automatic electronic control of damping), Comfort (for maximum ride comfort), and R mode (engages maximum damping rate for high-performance cornering).
Brakes: 6-piston Brembos (front), 4-piston Brembos (rear), monoblock calipers
Wheels & Tyres: 20 x 9.5″ (front) and 20 x 10.5″ (rear) super-lightweight forged-aluminum wheels

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