After months of speculation surrounding luxury models and rear-wheel-drive performance modes, Nissan released the first official information and images surrounding the revised 2012 GT-R. True to the car’s unofficial namesake, the so-called Godzilla continues to evolve into an increasingly powerful beast.
Nissan officials describe the revised R35 GT-R as a “minor change,” although most revisions aren’t exactly cosmetic. Bystanders will be able to spot a 2012 GT-R by a number of slight visual cues, including enlarged grille openings, LED driving lights, new ten-spoke Rays aluminum wheels, and a new rear diffuser with an integrated LED fog tail lamp. According to Nissan, these mild tweaks actually help reduce the car’s aerodynamic drag while increasing front downforce.
The heart of Nissan’s beast remains a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter V-6, but a few revisions to the intake, exhaust, and control systems allow the six-cylinder to throw down considerably more power. Japanese-spec cars are now rated at 523 horsepower at 6400 rpm, and 451 pound-feet of torque between 3200 and 6400 rpm. For those keeping score, that’s roughly 38 ponies and 17 pound-feet more than the current car.
All that power is still channeled to all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, albeit Nissan has added a few new tricks. A new SAVE mode adjusts shift points to improve fuel economy on the highway, while performance (notably acceleration) of the so-called R mode has reportedly been improved. Rumors of a rear-wheel-drive mode are also true, although drivers will likely only experience a two-wheel-drive GT-R in parking lots. The front differential is disengaged when drivers are traveling less than 6 mph and crank the steering wheel.
Chassis changes are minor, but some revisions — including a new carbon fiber strut brace and an instrument panel brace — are designed to stiffen the GT-R’s structure. Spring ratios are also revised, while camber and toe-in are tweaked to increase stability and improve turn-in. New aluminum dampers are added in an aim to improve ride quality. Spec-V models continue to offer performance-tuned suspension tuning, but those after a true hard-core racer may want to spring for the new GT-R Club Track model. Designed only for track use, Club Track cars are stripped of most non-essentials (much of which lies within the interior), while adding a full roll cage, race seat and harness, and slick tires.
The new GT-R Egoist is a stark contrast to the Club Track model. In an attempt to bait customers accustomed to premium supercars (we’re looking at you, Ferrari), the Egoist is essentially a Spec-V loaded to the hilt with luxuries. Each Egoist model receives a leather-trimmed interior with quilted seating surfaces, but buyers can select their precise color from 20 different hues. The Bose audio system has reportedly been revised to incorporate active noise cancellation, while a special handmade lacquer emblem is applied to the steering wheel. Egoist models also receive the Spec-V’s six-spoke Rays wheels, along with a carbon fiber decklid spoiler. The cost? 15 million yen, or roughly twice the price of a base GT-R in Japan.
We’ve yet to see finalized information, specifications, or pricing for U.S.-spec cars, but Nissan’s North American operations tell us that information will be revealed come November, when the 2012 GT-R makes its official debut at the 2010 Los Angeles auto show. Look for the first production cars to arrive at U.S. dealers in early 2011.