2015 Nissan GT-R NISMO
After cutting its teeth on the Nissan 370Z and the Juke, Nissan’s recently unleashed in-house tuner NISMO screwed up the courage to take on Godzilla. The resultant GT-R NISMO, which debuts at the Tokyo show, is essentially a weapons-grade, more-hard-core version of what’s already one of the most extreme cars on the planet. Sales of the GT-R NISMO will begin in February in Japan, but we remain about a year away from U.S. deliveries. It seems the wait will be worth it, in no small part because output is up from 545 horsepower and 463 lb-ft to 595 horsepower and “more than” 480 lb-ft. The bumps come courtesy of revised intake and exhaust systems, reworked ignition timing, and larger turbochargers swiped from the GT-R GT3 race car. Peak horsepower is available at 6800 rpm versus 6400 in the regular car. Nissan coyly admits that it could extract even more power from this new setup, but say it drew a line to prevent the transmission from returning itself to its constituent bits. The health of the NISMO powerplant is ensured by a new higher-capacity oil pump. Nissan tells us that adding a NISMO version allows the standard GT-R to mature slightly, and it will become a bit softer and quieter and a touch friendlier should you want to subject it to daily use. On the flip side, the existence of a softer “base” GT-R allowed NISMO to really dial in this new version for track duty, and it gets stiffer springs and dampers, as well as larger anti-roll bars that include a 17.3-mm hollow piece out back. While the new car’s dampers are also electrically adjustable through three settings, NISMO has renamed the settings from Comfort, Normal, and R to Track, Race, and Race Plus. Even the softest Track setting is said to be quite firm. The chassis changes didn’t stop there, however, as the front forged Rays wheels are half an inch wider than the stock units and are therefore wrapped in more rubber: 255/40RF-20 run-flat Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 DSST tires, the same label as before, but we’re told that the compound is stickier. The broadened front meat is a clear attempt to improve front-end grip and decrease low-speed understeer. To keep the suspension laser-focused on its most important task, NISMO versions will incorporate more adhesive bonding and structural seam welding to increase overall rigidity. In the interest of decreasing lift and drag, the NISMO version gets a special body kit that incorporates new front and rear bumpers, side skirts, and a towering rear spoiler that work together to increase downforce, Nissan says, by more than 220 pounds at 186 mph. A new matte gray paint is exclusive to the NISMO. But that’s not the end of the NISMO GT-R story: Nissan set itself a goal of breaking a 7 minute, 10 second lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, and to do so the team developed a lighter and even more intense GT-R, one which it will offer to customers. This version hasn’t been officially named yet, so Nissan is referring it the “GT-R NISMO with the track package” for now. (As opposed to the GT-R Track Edition.) Equipped with that package and running the stock Dunlop tires, the GT-R posted a stunning time of 7:08.69 on September 30 with former FIA GT1 champion Michael Krumm behind the wheel. The powertrain will remain the same as the NISMO’s, but it has its own aero kit with a front splitter and an extra-bodacious rear spoiler. A smattering of carbon fiber parts—single-piece race seats that Nissan says will come here as accessories, front fenders, trunklid, and hood—sheds a claimed 143 pounds overall.