The Nissan GT-R marks its 50th anniversary this year, so the Japanese automaker decided to celebrate in style. Nissan teamed up with legendary design firm Italdesign — which also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year — to create a one-off custom GT-R, appropriately named GT-R50.
First off, we can tell you that this isn’t the much-discussed next-generation GT-R. While the car hasn’t had a full redesign in about a decade, Nissan isn’t ready to roll out a new model just yet. The GT-R50 was just an excuse for designers to flex their creative muscles and build a car outside the constraints of normal production vehicles, Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa said in a statement.
“Although this is not the next-generation GT-R, it is an exciting celebration of two anniversaries in a provocative and creative way — wrapping one of Nissan’s best engineering platforms and Japanese design with Italian coachbuilding,” Albaisa said. Nissan’s in-house design team actually came up with the ideas. Italdesign, whose previous hits include everything from the Maserati Merak to the original Volkswagen Golf, was tasked with making them a reality.
So what did a design team let loose on one of the world’s most potent production performance cars come up with? Like the standard GT-R, the styling of the GT-R50 will likely get mixed reviews. The GT-R50 retains the same general outline of the standard GT-R, and adds a little more flair. The roof is lower, the body sides are curvier, and the taillights stand proud of the body, giving the rear end a resemblance to the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo from 2014. Gold accents ensure that heads will turn when this car drives by.
On the inside, the changes weren’t quite as dramatic. The interior looks similar to a standard GT-R cabin, but is dressed up with a different mix of materials, including carbon fiber trim, and gold accents to match the exterior. Nissan and Italdesign also fitted a new steering wheel and a race car-style digital instrument cluster.
Under the skin, the GT-R50 is based on the GT-R NISMO, the most powerful production GT-R variant. But the hand-built 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 now produces 710 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, compared to 600 hp and 481 lb-ft in the stock GT-R NISMO. That’s thanks to larger turbochargers borrowed from the GT-R GT3 race car, and a host other changes to the engine. The six-speed dual-clutch transmission, differentials, and driveshafts were beefed up to handle the extra power, and the suspension was revised as well.
The Nissan GT-R50 will debut at an event in Europe in July. We wouldn’t be surprised if some of the one-off car’s styling elements make it onto the next-generation GT-R production model, whenever it arrives.