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