To that end, the rumor mill in Japan says that the production GT-R will have a front-mounted, twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-6 engine that's a development of the 350Z's unit. Nissan's original plan to do a V-8 has been axed because the engine is too big and heavy to provide the dynamic balance the engineers want. The V-6 will reputedly produce 450 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque. The power will be sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed transmission. The all-wheel-drive system will feature a development of the GT-R's famed, torque-sensing, electronic ATTESA E-TS, matched to four-wheel steering.
We've heard that the 2008 GT-R will be an inch shorter, an inch lower, and three inches wider than today's G35 coupe, thus putting a much broader footprint on the road. One reason for this latest GT-R taking so long to reach fruition has been the decision to base the car off a totally new platform, likely the successor to the FM platform that underpins the Nissan 350Z and the Infiniti G35 and FX35/45. Nissan is apparently aiming for a 0-to-60-mph time of 3.8 seconds, with a top speed north of 180 mph.
Straightline performance isn't the defining feature of the upcoming Skyline, though, according to Tavares. GT-R mules-G35 coupes with bulging bodywork and odd proportions-have regularly been spotted lapping the Nrburgring. "One thing I can tell you," says Tavares, "is that one of the standards we use is time. Our targets will be expressed mainly as time targets on reference circuits." And, yes, the 'Ring is one of those reference tracks.
The R33 Skyline GT-R was credited with setting a production-car lap record, breaking the eight-minute barrier, back in 1995, so Nissan would now be looking at a time of around seven minutes. "Well, you don't expect us to be worse than the previous one, do you?" asks Tavares, deadpan. "We will be very competitive. If we are not, we will do it again." To illustrate how passionate his team is, Tavares relates that when he asked some questions about the car recently, the chief engineer pulled out his laptop to show him the 240 parameters that are being measured during Nrburgring testing.
Ironically, the new GT-R will mark the beginning of a new Japanese supercar race. Honda has let on that it is planning a V-10-engined replacement for the NSX, and Lexus is contemplating production of the edgy, V-10-powered LF-A coupe. Against these, the GT-R may end up suffering from cylinder envy.
One thing is for sure, though. The GT-R is going to look great, and Nissan is confident that it will be a rival to the Porsche 911 Turbo, for the same sort of money as a Porsche 911 Carrera. There's some debate inside the company whether it will be called a Nissan-which makes sense, bearing in mind the heritage-or an Infiniti, which also has merit, in light of this being the most expensive car Nissan will have sold in America. Whatever it's called, we reckon that, if it has the kind of searing performance and soul of the last generation, it will be worth its rumored $70,000 or so asking price.