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2009 Nissan GT-R

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by Kirk Bell

On Sale: June 2008
Expected Pricing: Low $70,000s

The 2009 Nissan GT-R, an all-new high-performance coupe, goes on sale next summer.

The name GT-R (for grand turismo racer) has been legendary in Japan since 1969 when Datsun applied the Skyline GT-R moniker to a four-door sedan. That car went on to win 36 races in four years, then disappeared. The name was reborn in 1989 as an all-wheel-drive production sports coupe with supercar performance. The last Skyline GT-R was offered in 2003.

Nissan will finally bring the GT-R to the United States as a 2009 model starting in June 2008. The Skyline name has been dropped (now used by Japanese home market versions of the Infiniti G35 sedan and G37 coupe).

A 2+2 coupe, the 2009 Nissan GT-R is based on a new platform Nissan calls PM for Prime Midship. Nissan says PM is an advanced version of the Front Midship (FM) architecture that is home to the Nissan 350Z and Infiniti G37 coupe, among others. Like FM, PM aims for balanced weight distribution by moving the engine back so most of its weight is behind the front axle. The GT-R rides on a 109.4-inch wheelbase.

The big news is power. No official numbers are available, but the 3800-pound GT-R is said to be capable of a 3.5-second 0-60 run, an 11.7-second quarter mile and a 193 mph top speed.

Providing the motivation is Nissan's new VR38DETT twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 that puts out 473 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 434 pound-feet of torque from 3200 to 5200 rpm. Nissan says the 3.8-liter is all new and is not related to the VQ 3.5-liter V6 that powers the 350Z so ably. The GT-R engine is a DOHC, 24-valve, aluminum engine that uses two IHI turbochargers and twin intercoolers. Each engine is built by a single craftsman.

The engine sends its power through a rear-mounted, twin-clutch, seven-speed automated manual gearbox that is operated as an automatic or a manual via steering wheel paddles. One clutch is dedicated to the odd gears and the other the evens, and one clutch holds the current gear while the other preselects the next. The transaxle also has synchro-rev control that blips the throttle between gears on downshifts.

The GT-R comes with all-wheel drive and an adjustable all-independent suspension. The front suspension is an upper and lower A-arm setup and the rear is a five-link. Nissan's ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system delivers half the power to the front and half to the rear under 25 mph and in slippery conditions. It defaults to 40/60 for most normal driving, though up to 98 percent of the grunt can go to the rear. Depending on conditions and to aid handling, this system can transfer power side to side as well as front to rear. The adjustable suspension has Comfort, Sport and Race modes for the Bilstein Damptronic shocks.

Tires are Bridgestone Potenza RE070 run-flat 255/40R20s up front and 285/35R20s in the rear. Brakes are 15.2-inch diameter cross-drilled Brembos at all four corners.

Nissan designed the GT-R to keep weight down and make it as slippery as possible. The 0.27 drag coefficient allows the power to move the car forward without having to work so hard to fight wind resistance. To reduce the final weight, Nissan used aluminum for the inner doors and several suspension components and carbon fiber for the driveshafts, front crash structure, and rear diffuser.

Inside, the GT-R has a Multi-function meter screen with readouts for water temperature, oil pressure, g forces, turbo boost, front/rear torque split, fuel consumption and a host of other measurements. The optional navigation system is paired with a 30-gigabyte hard drive to hold music files and navigation map information.

Neither the pricing nor the model lineup for the U.S. market has been announced, but judging by Japanese pricing, the GT-R should cost about $70,000 when it hits our shores in June.


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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.