We have lost count on how many times we have reported on what form the successor of the Nissan GT-R might take. Now, nearly 12 years after production of the R35 kicked off, we have a few more bread crumbs to feast on.
So, could it be that the next-gen Japanese supercar is close to making its long-awaited debut?
From what we know, the answer is a disappointing “no” – and that was recently confirmed by TopGear, who cite the absence of any concepts whatsoever that would preview the next GT-R as proof that its replacement is still some way into the future.
Still, they did speak to Philippe Klein, Nissan’s board member in charge of planning, about it, and he said that a new GT-R is indeed coming and will, in all likelihood, feature some kind of electrification without losing any of its fun-to-drive characteristics.
“Yes, you should keep the faith, because we do”, Klein stressed. “The driving experience is very high on our priority list. EVs are very fun to drive. And we’re moving our petrol powertrains to electrification with hybrid e-power. In the end, we would like the regulations to take nothing away from how fun the car is to drive.”
We gather that this means that the R36 (as we guess its internal code will be if Nissan keeps up its naming scheme) shall be electrified? “We’re still working hard on different options. I can’t give you an answer just yet”, Klein commented. “The regulations bring a lot of concerns, so the question is how to answer these constraints and still offer a car that’s fun to drive. There are different options and we’re working on them. We’re defending the sports car.”
That’s a “neither confirm nor deny” answer, but it does point to it being a hybrid. Perhaps more surprising, though, is the fact that it will feature autonomous driving. You might be asking why in the world would anyone want a supercar that can drive itself, but Nissan seems to be taking a novel approach.
“I like to think about turning up to the Nurburgring in your GT-R, and being able to select one of the famous laps and the car just taking over”, Richard Candler, engineer in the Global Advanced Planning Department, explained. “The latest Nismo did 7 minutes and 8 seconds with Michael Krumm at the wheel; you could just select the Michael Krumm setting, and you’re launched round the track. Something that most people could never achieve suddenly becomes very accessible.”
Thus, instead of actually driving, you’ll be driven around, say, the ‘Ring. Which will surely minimize the risk of getting up close and personal with the barriers, making it much safer – but is it really fun? Unless, of course, Nissan also allows you to actually helm the car, with the system intervening only to improve your driving instead of just taking you for a ride.
Note: 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo pictured