October 25, 2007 Perhaps the biggest buzz we’ve seen yet at the Tokyo Auto Show has been around the official launch of the new Nissan GT-R performance car, which packs a 3.8 litre, 480-horsepower twin-turbo engine, electronically adjustable suspension, shift and stability control modes, and the world’s first independent twin-axle 4WD. Looking sharp, the GT-R is clearly aimed at the Porsche 911 Turbo, which it has apparently beaten around both the Nurburgring and Laguna Seca in racetrack testing.

Since we got a peek at the GT-R prototype in 2005, we’ve been very much looking forward to seeing Nissan’s performance flagship hit production – and the Japanese supercar was finally unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show earlier today. Its performance credentials are borne out by 911-beating racetrack laptimes (check out this onboard hot lap of the Nurburgring), and its standing as a well-regarded supercar was borne out by the enormous throng of press photographers fighting for position at the unveiling.

So here’s the details:

Packaging and Driveline Suited for a Supercar

The all-new Nissan GT-R uses a Premium Midship package, an all-new platform which enables the use of the world’s first application of an independent transaxle 4WD system. The transaxle’s layout places the dual-clutch transmission, transfer case and final drive at the rear of the vehicle (instead of the usual front location), which enables vehicle weight to be evenly distributed throughout the car. This gives GT-R a superb front-to-rear weight balance, while enhancing leg and foot space and allowing for an optimal pedal layout.

Under the hood, GT-R features an all-new 3.8-litre twin turbo V6 “VR38” engine, featuring plasma-sprayed bores and a special twin-turbo exhaust manifold system. A secondary air management system enables the newly designed power-plant to provide approximately 40kgm of torque during ordinary low-rev driving, which provides for an optimum air-fuel ratio for around-town efficiently and helps GT-R meet ultra-low emission vehicle (U-LEV) standards in Japan.

GT-R’s new engine produces 480PS (353kW) at 6400rpm and maximum torque of 60kgm (588Nm) from 3200 to 5200rpm. Putting the power to the ground is an all-new GR6-type dual clutch transmission, with paddle shifting and a Borg Warner six-plate dual clutch for direct control.

Suspension duties are handled through a special Bilstein DampTronic system, which utilises all pertinent vehicle information to provide appropriate damping forces for all situations and helps maintain a high level of control for straight-line driving, cornering, and braking.

Braking is essential for a daily-driven supercar and GT-R features large Brembo full-floating drilled rotors, low steel high stiffness brake pads and Brembo monoblock six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers, which in combination minimise fade and provide stable braking. Run-flat tyres, exclusively designed for use on GT-R, balance high grip and all-weather capabilities and a comfortable ride in all driving situations. The tyres are designed to maintain their integrity for 80km of travel at 80 km/h and also provide a level of performance after a loss of pressure.

High-Performance Safety and Environmental Technologies

Standard safety equipment includes a pop-up engine hood system for enhanced pedestrian safety, driver and front passenger SRS Air Bag System, front seat belts with tension reducer, front seat belts with load limiter, and three-point rear seat belts. Driver and front passenger SRS Side Air Bag System and SRS Curtain Air Bag System are also offered.

Environmental technologies include extensive work to create an U-LEV certification in Japan for the 3.8-litre twin turbo engine and reduced levels of volatile organic compound in the cockpit.

Functional Design – High Performance Aerodynamics and Style

GT-R’s undeniably hot styling follows the function over form theory. Every styling aspect, from the overall design to the smallest details, is created to maximize the vehicle’s driving experience – as well as suggesting GT-R’s “supercar” level of performance. Utilizing advanced aerodynamics, GT-R’s aggressive styling evokes the lines of a well-trained athlete, combining strong character lines with smooth and solid areas.

GT-R’s body is created with a combination of steel, carbon fibre and aluminium, providing a unique combination of stiffness and lightness. GT-R features a low drag coefficient of 0.27 which enhances fuel efficiency, which is balanced with high levels of front and rear down-force, which provides GT-R with enhanced grip in all weather situations.

Three-mode drive settings

Adjustability is central to the daily-driver nature of the GT-R, with a special “set-up switch” located in the centre of the instrument panel. This switch enables the driver to adjust transmission shifts, shock absorbers and the Vehicle Dynamic Control in three settings – Normal, Comfort or R, the high-performance setting designed for trackwork and hard driving.

A high-speed, high-capacity CARWINGS navigation system is available in Japan, with a powerful 30GB hard disk drive, featuring an easy-to-use touch pad, as well as traditional navigation switches. The screen interface features not only the navigation system, but also an entertainment system with a Music Box hard drive, DVD and CD player, and Bluetooth audio function.

The multi-function display also includes mechanical and driving information for safe high performance driving, including accelerator opening, brake pedal pressure, and steering angle. It also includes an “optimal gearshift map,” to encourage economical vehicle operation.

A specially designed BOSE sound system includes two forward-facing woofers in the rear centre armrest area combined with traditional door speakers. All speakers are mounted in rigid aluminium die cast panels, which combined with the design of the system itself, provide sound quality suited for a supercar owner.

The GT-R will be available mainly through Nissan High Performance Centres nationwide in Japan on December 6th. It will hit America in 2008.

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