Nissan, Italdesign team up for special GT-R prototype

The redesign of the GT-R has touched every body panel, with Nissan also lowering the roofline by 2.12 inches.
Jay Ramey is an associate editor with Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News.

Nissan and Italdesign have teamed up to create a special prototype of the GT-R to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of the design studio and Nissan's halo model.

Called the GT-R50, the special version has been engineered and developed by Italdesign, while the exterior and interior have been designed by Nissan Design America and Nissan Design Europe in London.

The result is a unique take on the GT-R that incorporates many special elements that pay homage to the early models.

Thin LED headlights now sit on the wheel arches, stretching from the outer cooling intakes. The hood has been reshaped with a power bulge, while the front fascia now wears a golden inner element that covers almost the full width of the car. Nissan has also added "samurai blade" cooling outlets behind the front wheels along with a gold inlay that stretches from the shoulder line to the bottoms of the doors.

In the rear, the taillights have been redesigned as a floating feature with hollow centers and thin ring shapes. The rear window stretches down farther than on a stock GT-R -- another custom element -- leading to a modest adjustable rear wing that sits on two pylons. The car is finished in Liquid Kinetic Gray with Energetic Sigma Gold accents, and unique 21-inch wheels wearing Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires complete this exterior design.

"Inside, the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign reflects its modern, high-performance pedigree," Nissan says. "Two different carbon-fiber finishes are extensively used across the center console, instrument panel and door linings, along with black Alcantara and fine black Italian leather on the seats. Gold accents echo the exterior treatment across the instrument panel, doors and the futuristic race car-inspired switchgear. The bespoke steering wheel's central hub and spokes are made of carbon fiber, while the rim features a flat bottom and matching Alcantara trim."


There's more to this unique GT-R than design elements alone -- Nismo has tweaked the familiar 3.8-liter V-6 engine to produce 710 hp and 575 pound-feet of torque by adding a heavy-duty crankshaft, larger intercoolers and large-diameter GT3 competition-spec turbochargers, as well as heavy-duty connecting rods and bearings. Nismo has also added higher-flow fuel injectors, high-flow piston oil jets and revised camshaft profiles.

Nissan's tuning arm has also tweaked the intake and exhaust systems and added a reinforced dual-clutch sequential six-speed rear transaxle that features stronger differentials. Nismo has also developed a new suspension for the car, fitting it with the Bilstein DampTronic I continuously adjustable damping system.

"How often do you get to ask, 'What if we created a GT-R without limits,' and then actually get to build it? This is a rare window in time when two big moments intersect: 50 years of Italdesign shaping the automotive world and 50 years of Nissan generating excitement through our iconic GT-R," said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan's senior vice president for global design. "So to celebrate this convergence, Nissan and Italdesign created this custom GT-R to mark 50 years of engineering leadership."

In all, the redesign has touched every body panel, with Nissan also lowering the roofline by 2.12 inches.

Nissan points out that this prototype is not the next-generation GT-R -- the next-gen version is expected to land around 2020. But as a design exercise that dials up the styling of the current generation, this coupe is a curious window into a parallel world.

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