Nissan unveils a couple of new flavors of the racing-inspired Nissan GT-R for the ’20 model year at the New York auto show.
The top-of-the-line GT-R NISMO, the raciest of the GT-R variants – the NISMO name is derived from Nissan Motorsport – is the hot-sauce flavor. It’s now distinguishable on the outside by extensive use of carbon fiber.
Under the hood, it’s still got a potent 600-hp engine, like the ’19 model, plus a list of tweaks for 2020 aimed at better acceleration, steering, handling, braking and stopping. Improvements include new turbochargers from the NISMO GT3 race car, improved transmission control, updated suspension tuning and a carbon-ceramic brake system.
It’s a year for 50th anniversaries at Nissan. The other new twist on the GT-R is the ’20 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary appearance package (below, left). It commemorates the Skyline GT-R race car program. The GT-R won a record 50 Grand Prix races in less than three years starting in May 1969, Nissan says.
Besides the new ’20 models, the Nissan stand at the New York show is heavy on the brand’s racing tradition. It includes a “Dream Garage” display of historic Datsun and Nissan race cars and performance models.
Some fans still are nostalgic for the Datsun brand. Parent Nissan Motor Co. phased it out in the U.S. beginning in 1983 but announced in 2012 it was reviving the Datsun brand for basic-transportation models in emerging markets. The first new Datsun was the Datsun Go, a 5-door hatchback which debuted in India in 2014.
The ’20 Nissan GT-R NISMO is at the other extreme from basic. The ’19 model has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $175,540 plus $1,695 destination and handling. Pricing for the ’20 model will be announced closer to its summer 2019 market launch, the automaker says.
The biggest visual change is the carbon fiber throughout the ’20 model, including the front and rear bumpers, front fenders, hood, roof, side sill covers, trunk and rear spoiler. The company says those components represent weight savings of about 23 lbs. (10.4 kg), plus increased downforce at speed and better aerodynamics.
Other tweaks and new, lighter-weight components reduce the ’20 model by another 44 lbs. (20 kg) pounds, Nissan says.
Like the ’19 Nissan GT-R NISMO, the ’20 model gets 600 hp from a 3.8L twin-turbo gasoline V-6, delivered to the wheels via advanced all-wheel drive.
As noted, the ’20 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary model is more strictly an appearance package, with unique exterior and interior treatments. In terms of standard trim and equipment, it’s a close equivalent to the ’20 GT-R Premium model.
The 50th Anniversary model gets special seat embroidery, Alcantara faux-suede headliner with unique stitching, and special coloring and badging. Three 2-tone exterior color options are offered, with special 50th-anniversary stripes, badging and wheels. The colors, based on vintage color schemes from the Japan Grand Prix series, are blue with white racing stripes, white with red stripes or silver with white stripes.
Like the ’20 GT-R NISMO, pricing for the ’20 GT-R 50th Anniversary will be announced closer to launch this summer. For 2019, the nearest equivalent, the Nissan GT-R Premium model, has an MSRP of $110540, plus $1,695 destination and handling.
U.S. sales of the GT-R in 2009 totaled 1,534, steadily dwindling to 698 in 2016, according to Wards Intelligence data. In 2018, U.S. sales were 538, down 6.9% from a year earlier.
Also in New York, Nissan unveils the ’20 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition appearance package in recognition of the first Datsun 240Z, also in 1969.