*Introducing our newest member to the carBlogging team, Shamil*
At the Tokyo Motor Show a few years back, Nissan unveiled the GT-R Concept for the first time confirming that the GT-R legend would be continued into the 21st century. Later at another show, Nissan announced the next-generation GT-R would be rolled out in 2007, hence the first visible test vehicles have being spotted at the “ring” and in Arizona at the end of April 2007. This sent nearly every motor magazine, car website and blog into frenzy as they all posted spy shots of this icon being resurrected in this new shape and form.
However most of the articles written seem not to have concrete information on what this car will be all about and some articles have just speculated on performance figures and specifications. However as can be seen from the spy photos there are very few changes in appearance from the prototype first seen at the Tokyo Motor show. The car is still a 2 door coupe and still has the easily identifiable Skyline round tail lights but it is of course now upgraded to a more modern LED outfit.
Initially the rumours were that the new Skyline would incorporate a 500bhp (375kW) V8 engine. But the reports have come back that this engine would be too huge and heavy and this option was ditched for a 6 cylinder which would put a smile back on the faces of some of the purists of the RB26. All the reports agree on the fact that it will be a 6 cylinder and it will be high revving as the spy pictures indicate a redline at 9000 rpm but there are conflicting reports if it will be a 3.7L or 3.8L. There are some consensus from some articles written that the new GT-R will have 3 versions namely Standard, V Spec, and EVO Spec. The EVO version will be sold in Oct 2008 debuting in Japan, a year after the debut of the standard, and will be a limited production with all the bells and whistles such as carbon fibre body panels, ceramic brakes etc.
Irrespective if itâ€™s a 3.7 L or 3.8 L it is assumed it will be twin turbo and codenamed VQ37HR or VQ38HR respectively and to make it more complete to indicate itâ€™s a twin turbo, it should read VQ38HRTT. To be in competition with Porsche and the likes of the BMW M6 this engine will have to be pushing in the region of 400bhp to 500bhp in a standard outfit at least, which I am sure it will.
The price figures have also been speculated and with the current market it will quite cheap in Japan and US relative to the rest of the world. Prices should start at 67 000 US dollars (R470 000) to maybe 100 000 US dollars (R700 000) for the EVO in Japan. UK sources have predicated a starting price to be at 60 000 pounds (R820 000) in the UK. If we do a car per car price comparison between countries on a few samples we could mathematically predict this would start at a cost roughly at R950 000 give or take if this Skyline ever makes it to our shores.
So will this VQâ€”HRTT live up to its predecessor, the RB26DETT? Will the VQâ€”HRTT continue to be the weapon of choice for tuning houses? Will the reputation of new GT-R make it debut in console games and movies again? Will this car give a person who has roughly R1million to blow on a BMW M6 or Mercedes SL or Porsche another headache for choice? Could this be the halo car that puts Nissan back on the map as a great Japanese brand and rescue its declining sales figures over the past year?
With all these unanswered questions, we will just have to wait and see. But my personal opinion is that Nissan should rather focus on a hot hatch to put it on the map again to challenge the likes of the Golf GTI, Astra OPC, Focus ST, Mazda 3 MPS, Megane 225, Civic Type-R and Leon Cupra for us ordinary folk to enjoy as well. After all not everyone will be able to afford the Skyline.
The Skyline history
The Nissan Skyline, specifically the GT-R versions have reached cult status in many street racing and petrol head circles over the years and it even appeared in movies such as 2 Fast 2 Furious and in many computer console games such as Grand Turismo, Need for Speed series, Forza Motorsport and Street Racing Syndicate.
So why has the skyline become such an icon?
Some believe it’s purely because of its engine, namely the RB26 or more specifically the RB26DETT that made the car a legend. Although the likes of BMW are reknown for winnning competitions such as engine of the yearâ€ for technology advances quite frequently, it’s the RB26 that is widely known for its strength and extreme power potential. Although the engine only pushes out a mere 206kW in standard form in the base model R34 range, with proper maintenance, the RB26DETT has been known to produce as much as 450kW on standard internals (pistons, rods, crankshaft, etc.). Part of the reason why the RB26DETT responds well to modifications is simply because the block is made of iron. With regular maintenance this indestructible engine have been driven way past the 160,000 km mark with a few heading toward 320,000 km.
With extreme modification ventured by some world famous tuners, they have managed to extract power of 1 MegaWatt or 1,340 bhp (1000kW) from the RB26 and thus making it a weapon of choice for many of them.