After the sudden retirement of GT-R R35 chief engineer and chief project manager Kazutoshi Mizuno, a source within Nissan revealed some interesting information to our people in Japan. The next-generation of the GT-R, named the R36, is under way, and that it could make its debut as early as 2015!
So it seems like rumors of the demise of the GT-R has been greatly exaggerated. The rumors started when Mizuno, before his retirement, said that the current GT-R would continue until 2015, leading some to believe that the model was doomed after 2015. Then came the sudden departure of Mizuno, which threw even more gasoline to the flames. But we discovered that the GT-R will live to see at least the year 2020.
We wrote here at GTChannel that an Infiniti branded GT-R may be created, which is still a possibility with the R36, especially a hybrid version, which will certainly be added to the GT-R lineup. Sports cars all over the world are now evolving into fuel-efficient machines. Aside from the likes of the Lamborghini Veneno, limited to just three in the world, we saw at this past Geneva Motor Show that Porsche, Ferrari and even McLaren are introducing hybrid concepts that would not only reduce emissions, but also improve fuel efficiency. There will be new emission regulations in Europe starting from 2015, limiting them to 130 grams per kilometer per vehicle, which is accelerating development of sports hybrids. Of course a future GT-R must also comply. Sooner or later, Nissan will need to have a relevant strategy, so it is assumed that development of a next-generation GT-R was in motion before Mr. Mizuno’s departure.
We aren’t sure that the final direction of the next-generation R36 GT-R has been decided, but according to Nissan officials, the basics have been determined, and research is already under way. The two paths the R36 could take are: A more advanced version of the current GT-R; and the other is to build a completely new European-style, luxury GT-R.
The design of the R35 GT-R expresses heft and aggressiveness. Taking that image further would likely mean a move toward a race car image. The other design would likely be in the mold of the Emerge or Infiniti Essence. Elegant styling would be a major feature. However, the Emerge and Essence are reminiscent of Jaguar. It’s a cool look, but the market would likely say that they’ve already seen the design somewhere else, and the model would lose its originality and its Japanese image.
If the new GT-R does indeed make its way into the Infiniti brand, the design would have to be a breakthrough image leader as Infiniti seeks success in Europe. Assuming the accuracy of rumors, we can say the next GT-R would have a slightly larger body, with a width of about 75 in. and a lower overall height of about 53 in. There would also be a power-assist electric motor, to achieve a total power output of 550 hp. In this case, we can expect a fuel consumption improvement of more than 30 percent compared to the current model.
The price will of course surpass $100,000. At the earliest, the debut would be at the end of 2015, replacing the current R35 GT-R. Naturally we should see a prototype of the next generation GT-R well before the debut. We will keep you informed.