Here's an unexpected but welcome addition to the weekend: Nissan and Italdesign have teamed up to create a special edition GT-R. The first collaboration between the Japanese automaker and the Italian design house, the GT-R50 is a custom prototype celebrating 50 years of both Italdesign and the GT-R. The stunning piece of 710-hp artwork leaves us asking, Why haven't these guys been working together for the entirety of the past half century?
The Nissan GT-R50 has the look of an all-new, ground-up concept car being previewed ahead of a major auto show, perhaps a look at a next-generation GT-R. However, it's actually a production 2018 GT-R Nismo at heart, all wrapped up in a sleek new wardrobe. Nissan design teams in America and Europe penned the interior and exterior while Italdesign engineered and built the prototype.
The GT-R350 is immediately identifiable from the production GT-R thanks to the weighty gold grille surround and long, thin LED headlights that alter its facial DNA. The prototype also enjoys a revised power-bulge hood up front.
Working our way back, the GT-R50 gains a sleeker profile, as the roofline has been lowered by a touch over 2 in (54 mm). The roof itself has a shallow channel down the middle, lending a more defined appearance. The "samurai blade" air outlets behind the front wheel arches have been extended and trimmed in gold.
We'd say the rear view is really where the GT-R50 separates itself from the common GT-R, the lustrous "liquid kinetic gray" bodywork of the flanks and roof working as a sort of shell encompassing the even more lustrous "energetic sigma gold" bodywork around the tiny windshield and re-sculpted rear fascia. That field of gold is further punctuated by the prominent adjustable rear wing. The roofline also extends deeper, in near-fastback style, and the taillights enjoy a more 3-dimensional look, appearing as two pairs of rings floating atop a sea of gold.
Even the regular Nismo powertrain wouldn't be enough for this radical anniversary car, so Nismo pulled a page out of the GT3 playbook, upping the output of the 3.8-liter V6 engine to 710 hp and 575 lb-ft. Engine mods include the addition of twin GT3-spec high-flow turbochargers, upsized intercoolers, higher-flow fuel injectors, and a heavy-duty crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods and bearings. The six-speed dual-clutch transmission was also reinforced to handle all that output.
Nismo also upgraded the performance suspension system around a Bilstein DampTronic I continuously adjustable damping system. The GT-R50 rides on 21-in wheels rolled in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires measuring 255/35 R21 up front and 285/30 R21 in the rear. The bright red calipers of the Brembo brake system wink at onlookers from inside those wheels.
The performance-focused interior uses a mix of Alcantara and Italian leather on the seats and two different carbon fiber finishes around the instrument panel, console and doors. Delicate gold accents echo the gold trim of the exterior. A custom, Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel with a carbon fiber hub and spokes finishes things off.
In case you're thinking this might be a sneak peek at a future GT-R, Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan senior VP for global design, dispels that notion: "Although this is not the next-generation GT-R, it is an exciting celebration of two anniversaries in a provocative and creative way – wrapping one of Nissan's best engineering platforms and Japanese design with Italian coach building."
Nissan plans to host an official debut in Europe next month. In the meantime, you can immerse your eyes in all that gold and liquid gray in the clip below and the photo gallery.
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