Godzilla's Revenge: Next GT-R to Bring Class-leading Fastness, Brick-like Styling

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Nissan launched the GT-R as successor to the high-performance Skyline variant of the same name. Considering the old platform’s reputation as a giant slayer, expectations were incredibly high, but Nissan surpassed them when it launched the GT-R in 2007. The following year, “Godzilla” reached American shores to embarrass most everything on four wheels — getting a little faster every year until it plateaued around 2013.

While still one of the quickest vehicles most people will ever lay their chapped and quivering hands upon, the R35 GT-R is no longer impervious to counterattacks and remains fairly expensive. It’s also getting very old. A technological marvel when it debuted, the GT-R has lost its edge and has gone from a totally unbelievable sports car to one that’s just stunningly impressive.

Nissan can’t have that.

Speaking to Autocar at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Nissan design head Alfonso Albaisa said the next-generation GT-R absolutely must be disgustingly fast.

“Whether we go to a lot of electrification or none at all, we can achieve a lot power wise,” Albaisa 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.”

Since it sounds like the model is still in the development stage, Albaisa didn’t have much to share. After all, he doesn’t even know if it’s going to be electrified or not. But we did like the picture he painted. He claimed the next GT-R would have to exude power without catering to the sleek beauty of a supercar.

“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 said. “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.'”

The design head was clear that the R35’s successor wouldn’t take cues from the GT-R50 (pictured) that appeared at Goodwood over the weekend — which is a little confusing, as the concept definitely borrows from the current-generation GT-R. Presumably, that means the new car also won’t borrow from the vehicle it’s replacing.

Maybe it’s simply a case of office politics. Nissan probably can’t say it’ll borrow from the GT-R50 since that was designed in cooperation with Italdesign. Unless they have a hand in the new super coupe, using their work could be tantamount to theft. But, whatever it ends up looking like, Nissan will have to bump up its output well beyond the current GT-R’s 565 horsepower if it’s going to adhere to Albaisa’s lofty promises. It’s almost unfathomable to entertain the idea that the company could deliver another car like the R35, but the GT-R badge has been all about exceeding expectations since 1969. We think it’s entirely possible Nissan Godzilla will return angrier than ever.

However, such a vehicle is likely to be several years away from gracing a production line. “The challenge is on the engineer, to be honest,” Albaisa 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.”

Let’s wish them luck.

[Images: Nissan]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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3 of 20 comments
  • Blackcloud_9 Blackcloud_9 on Jul 17, 2018

    I guess I'm in the minority here but I think the car looks stunning. The original/current GT-R was never a beautiful car but this looks like a worthy successor. I hope they borrow heavily from it

    • Arach Arach on Jul 17, 2018

      I agree. Stunning and beautiful. But for some reason the general populous seems to like ugly cars that suck. "Give me a poop colored car that looks like a wedge of moldy cheese with a massive fake grille please" - General car buying populous.

  • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on Jul 17, 2018

    Looking back, the R32 is the best-looking Godzilla, but I guess the designers have decided that *overwrought* is the future of car design.

  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.
  • Crown Seems like they cut some cylinders too.A three cylinder...where are they planning on selling that??