After a few years in the making, the GT-R50 is getting pretty close to production.
While the order book for the 50 cars being built is being filled, Italdesign and Nissan have been busy finalizing the spec of the production car. The version you see here is – as the writing on the hood and sides reveal – the test car; a close-to-final-homologation model that has been put through a rigorous set of tests in Italy.
The car is in Japan for the next few months, and proudly being display at the Nissan Crossing gallery in Ginza, a two-minute walk away from the old Nissan HQ, before all the offices moved to Yokohama a decade or so ago.
Having spent some time with the original GT-R50 concept three years ago at one of the most epic Cars & Coffee events ever held at Daikanyama T-Site, I was very curious to see how this crazy project has survived the transition over to an actual production model. So I made my way to Ginza armed with my mask and personal alcohol disinfectant, and spent a little time taking in the details.
Just before closing time the gallery was pretty deserted, which was never really the case before COVID-19. Have I just found one positive aspect in all this mess?
I was quite happy to see that – for the most part – the GT-R50 production version has retained its wild exterior. That said, there have been some mild toning down from the concept car, mainly the front and rear lights, which although similar to those on the concept have been brought up to road legal spec.The Details
On the GT-R50 concept car, gold highlights – to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GT-R and Italdesign – were all around the car, including the recessed inner section of the massive gaping grill. But the production model does away with this detail. Overall, the front treatment remains unchanged; it’s just less in-your-face than it originally was as the carbon fiber exterior has been mostly left clear-coated or wrapped stain white.
The car was penned by Nissan’s London and San Diego design studios, while Italdesign oversaw the actual engineering, creation and development of this very exclusive model.
This daring design has truly transformed a car that we’ve known for many years – 14 years this year – into something that can really be considered a hypercar.
To get your hands on one of these future collectables you will have to fork out ¥145,305,60, which at today’s exchange rate equates to just over US$1.4 million. But before we even touch on value-for-money, let’s continue with the details and changes over a standard R35.
The back end has been given a slight nip and tuck, and boy does it look different without all that gold. Still, exposed carbon is probably even better.
Compare it to the concept and you will notice that the taillights are not visually attached, but rather seem to float and extend into the bodywork. The twin air outlets on each side of the deck lid remain, but sport a slight variation.
I was pretty happy to see that the roof-mounted ‘samurai blade’ third brake light has been retained.
If you’re wondering where the indicators are, both the front and rear LED lights are of the switchback type, changing between red and orange when you make use of the stalk. This is something I wish more manufacturers would do to enhance their headlight and taillight designs.
With such an intricate rear end conversion, what’s become of the trunk?
Lifting the rear deck lid gives you access to the Alcantara-clad trunk space, which is shifted forwards compared to the base car. Also, you can see how dramatic the roof chop has been, really reducing rearward visibility.
The active spoiler has slightly been redesigned to fit into the altered rear end, too.
Looking at the struts that support and move the wing, I noted that their design has also been refined. They remain an absolute work of art, using a mix of carbon fiber and brushed billet aluminum. Stunning.
There’s still one splash of gold on the production GT-R50 – the ‘R’ on the rear badge.
Random Fact: When ordering a GT-R in Japan, you can spec – and could always, even on the 32/33/34 Skylines (not to mention most cars on the market), the ‘gold pack’ which gives you gold Nissan and GT-R badges.
The Italdesign skirts are the most beautifully-contoured side-steps I’ve ever seen. Aftermarket kit-makers often get these wrong, but these are just stunning, don’t you think?
The 21-inch wheels are carried over from the concept, and feature color-customizable carbon inserts on the spokes. Seeing the GT-R50 is based on the 2020 Nismo GT-R, larger Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes come standard front and rear.Inside
The interior is where the shift from concept to production car has seen the biggest changes.
In the GT-R50 concept, the way the unique carbon fiber dashboard sculpted around a MoTeC dash display with no other distractions was one of coolest aspects. It was clean, focused and special. But for the production car, Italdesign and Nissan are sticking with the stock GT-R interior, albeit with a few nice touches and possibly even more (remember, this is still a test vehicle).
First up, there’s a long carbon rib running along the entire length of the dash. It’s not just a trim piece, but a proper redesign that extends outwards and is capped off with a thin aluminum highlight that continues over to the door trims. The main dash hood is also used as a design feature, with a carbon center and trimmed in the same light gray Alcantara used on the headliner of the custom roof and trunk.
I thought it was cool that the language setting for the MFD has remained in Italian. I actually think they should lock that and maybe do all the other writing for the analogue dash gauges in Italian, too.
Most GT-R50 buyers will end up custom-speccing their exterior and interior colors, so it will be cool to see what they come up with.Lifting The Hood
Right, onto the engine…
I expected hinges on the back of the carbon hood, but it’s still technically just a cover that has to be removed by two people.
Visually, the engine in the GT-R50 Test Car looks like a stock 2020 GT-R Nismo unit, but it’s actually been built separately built by one of the ‘Takumi’ at Nissan’s engine plant in Yokohama. Thanks to components borrowed from the GT3 version of the R35 engine, Italdesign have been able to bump up power and torque to 720hp and 780Nm respectively. The transmission has also been ‘reinforced’, but what this means isn’t really known.
Out of it all, I just hope they have spent some time refining the suspension settings and the management system for the ATTESA E-TS. I also hope we see some changes in the engine bay; carbon piping and air boxes, a composite engine cover, as well as some design elements. It really needs to look special when you lift the lid.
There is then a custom exhaust rear section that connects up to the Nismo’s titanium system, and a very hypercar-like oval-cut pair of pipes that exit downward and are beautifully integrated into the bespoke rear diffuser.
The GT-R50 Test Car will be on display at Nissan Crossing in Ginza until the end of March, and then there may be a possibility for media to get behind the wheel of this car. It would be nice to see how it feels, as the 2020 GT-R Nismo is already a beast to drive and this has an additional 120hp to play with.
However, when talking about this car the cost will always come into play. It sits at a price point where it makes little-to-no sense for a lot of people, but then again, Nissan and Italdesign never expected to sell many. It will go down in history as the most expensive official GT-R ever created, and surely will be a sought after collectable in the future. We currently live in an age where a pristine R34 GT-Rs can fetch US$500,000, so maybe $1.4 million isn’t that crazy after all? You tell me. I look forward to your comments and opinions below…
Dino Dalle Carbonare