There are three letters, known worldwide, which have come to represent driving performance in almost mythical proportions – GT-R™. Since its original introduction in 1969, the cult of GT-R worshippers has grown completely beyond the small number of actual owners or those who have taken the wheel at speed.
As a world-class sports coupe sold only in its home market of Japan, car enthusiasts in other countries have had to rely on the words of the motoring press lucky enough to have experienced a test drive as proof of the GT-R's prowess. Others have had to settle for electronic simulated race laps behind the wheel of the GT-R in various popular video games.
Until now. Or more correctly, almost now.
With its surprise debut at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show last October and first United States showing at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January, Nissan is providing a preview of what may become the first truly international version of the GT-R in the guise of the new GT-R Concept.
"The GT-R has always been a car that crosses rational boundaries," said Mr. Carlos Ghosn, president, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. "Now, with left-hand drive, it is prepared to cross international boundaries as well. Though still under consideration and development, the GT-R Concept clearly signals our intention to maintain the GT-R's high position in the performance Supercar hierarchy."
Successive generations of the GT-R have incorporated superior levels of technology and performance. Its heritage of unrivaled power, providing outstanding acceleration and top speed, has been matched only by its superior handling and braking – resulting in ever-greater definitions of "quickness." From this genome mapping, the GT-R Concept has emerged as the once and future successor to the throne, its intentions clearly stated by its wide, low, aggressive stance, massive grille opening, muscular shoulders and shortened rear deck.
Inside, the GT-R Concept presents a unique four-place performance theater environment, with deep seating, full-length center console with integrated structural cage and a driver's command center.
"The GT-R Concept represents what we believe will once again be the world standard for technology and performance," said Mr. Ghosn. "This car raises the pleasure of driving to the realm of full sensual involvement, revealing a new dimension of driving performance. The GT-R – past, present and future – is the embodiment of this philosophy."
Following the North American International Auto Show, the GT-R Concept will be displayed at other major auto shows in order to gauge public reaction. Design development continues.