At this point, it’s pretty much a requirement that any article relating to the Nissan GT-R mentions its age. That’s because the production version of this car debuted clear back in 2007 at the Tokyo Motor Show. It went on sale for the 2009 model year, and in the decade since, it’s received just two minor updates. Fortunately, it was an amazing performance machine when it launched, so on that front anyway, it’s still impressive in 2020. But in the face of ever-increasing supercar competition, why hasn’t Nissan evolved Godzilla to the next level?
A report from Roadshow attempts to answer that question, among others. The motoring outlet had occasion to chat in-depth with Nissan’s Chief Product Specialist Hiroshi Tamura, visiting him last year in Japan before Coronavirus gripped the world. Anyone familiar with Nissan performance knows Tamura-san as a proper GT-R enthusiast, and he offered some insight into future models that could include everything from traditional internal-combustion power to hybrids and fully electric models.
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Obviously none of that has happened yet, and according to this report, Nissan’s lack of GT-R development is rooted in affordability. Allegedly, keeping the GT-R relatively affordable is a key component for Nissan, at least according to Tamura-san. By not significantly changing the car over a decade, apparently it’s kept Godzilla from becoming a $200,000 piece of unobtanium for the masses.
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There’s just one problem with that logic – it has become at $200,000 supercar, at least in Nismo trim. We aren't just cherry-picking the most expensive model either, because the base GT-R's sticker price of $113,540 isn’t exactly thrifty either. Admittedly, power has increased over the years from 480 horsepower (358 kilowatts) to 566 hp (422 kW), and the Nismo gets you an even 600 hp (447 kW).
The bones, however, are still a decade old. The interior and exterior design is, for the most part, a decade old. Our recent road test of the Nismo found it could reach 60 mph in 2.9 seconds – a feat bested by the all-new Porsche 911 Turbo S with a base price nearly equal to the Nismo, never mind the vastly less expensive 2020 Corvette.
Perhaps a better theory on the GT-R’s age is that Nissan simply can’t afford to do anything new. The automaker’s financial woes are well-known at this point; earlier this year, the company closed all U.S. operations for two days simply to save a bit of cash. With Coronavirus taking a further toll, it’s hard to say what the GT-R’s future might hold. For that matter, it’s not clear how well Nissan as a company will weather the current financial storm. But for now at least, the good ol’ GT-R soldiers on.