Godzilla Italiano: Driving Nissan’s $1.5-million Italdesign GT-R50 judgment car

Not many things have adequate pull to get me out of bed during 4:15 a.m. on a Sunday. But as Nissan member unpack a one-of-one, $1.5-million Italdesign GT-R50 concept out of an enclosed trailer and onto my street, something tells me a miss of nap will be value it.

Both a Nissan GT-R and Italian styling residence Italdesign applaud their 50th anniversaries this year, and a GT-R50 is a outcome of a arrange of triumphal partnership between a dual companies. It strictly debuted in Europe this summer, and following a series of media exam expostulate opportunities and several appearances during Monterey Car Week in California, a GT-R50 would make a final US appearance, not during an automobile uncover or other vital event, nonetheless during a Sunday morning cars-and-coffee meetup in Woodland Hills, California. That’s where we come in.

Godzilla in an Italian suit

A lot of cars don’t sketch well, and a GT-R50 is one of them. It’s tough to get a clarity of usually how prolonged and low a judgment automobile is, and how a new bodywork creates a new conformation that’s totally unique, nonetheless during a same time, admirably GT-R. Gold brightwork accents a hand-built, gunmetal physique panels, surveying a new nose and unconditional down a car’s liftback and back fascia. The hood’s distinguished energy gush retains a GT-R’s nostrils. The 21-inch wheels are equivocal comically oversized. And those floating taillights are some of a coolest lamps propitious to any car, prolongation or otherwise, ever.

Underneath this imagination skin is mostly batch GT-R Nismo using gear. That means energy comes from a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6, despite with new turbochargers borrowed from a GT-R GT3 competition car, incomparable intercoolers, stronger engine internals and axles, and a somewhat revised dual-clutch transmission.

This revised powerplant is pronounced to be good for 710 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, nonetheless Neil Reeve, a Nissan operative who’s also a judgment car’s handler, tells me this specific GT-R50 is usually origination about 650 horsepower. You know, only 85 some-more horsepower than a already-insane bottom GT-R. The Bilstein adaptive cessation has been retuned to hoop a GT-R50’s additional power, and incomparable Brembo brakes are propitious to stop all stupidity in a hurry.

The 50 has bower doorway handles like a unchanging GT-R, nonetheless they’re arrange of pointy around a edges and not as easy to grasp. You have to steep a bit some-more as we delicately step inside, a byproduct of a roofline carrying been chopped by 2.1 inches compared to a batch coupe. Sitting inside a automobile for a initial time during 4:45 a.m., it’s tough to see accurately how opposite a 50 is from a unchanging GT-R, nonetheless a initial elements we hold — a steering wheel, rigging shifter and that same freaking cosmetic spin vigilance petiole from any other Nissan automobile — feel totally familiar. The infotainment shade is gone, a lurch is finished in Alcantara and a immeasurable infancy of a interior panels are now done of CO fiber. Even a sign cluster is opposite — and totally digital, nonetheless indeed a bit 8-bit in a appearance.

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No infotainment screen, a digital sign cluster and CO fiber everywhere. The GT-R50’s interior might be familiar, nonetheless it offers a singular visible experience.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Unique, nonetheless familiar

Driving a judgment automobile is a uncanny experience, and we never unequivocally know what you’re going to get. Remember, these are hand-built prototypes mostly designed to expostulate on and off stages, and in and out of float trucks. So no matter how strong a internals, there’s still an overarching aura of infirmity to even a many entirely assembled concepts.

Yet a GT-R50 fires adult like any other GT-R, and for a initial few mins of my drive, it all feels remarkably similar. Merging onto a 10 turnpike streamer west toward Santa Monica, we can tell a float peculiarity is stiffer, sure, and a dull is a tiny louder, nonetheless this feels reduction like a hand-built plan automobile and some-more like a GT-R that’s seen some aftermarket tuning.

The biggest sign of a GT-R50’s unpractical standing is a miss of visibility. The reduce roofline, outrageous back pillars and decidedly tiny back induce potion opening all block my external steer lines, and a superthin, definitely-not-DOT-approved side mirrors are fundamentally useless. Oh, and it also doesn’t have headlights. Yeah, a GT-R50 has cool, horizontally oriented using lights, nonetheless like a LEDs on a prolongation car, they don’t yield adequate light to safely irradiate a highway in darkness. Of course, no one during Nissan had ever driven a judgment automobile during night before, nor had anyone ever dictated to.

On a comparatively empty, well-lit freeway, a miss of light isn’t a outrageous problem. But as we conduct northwest out of Santa Monica on Pacific Coast Highway toward a ravine roads of Malibu and Topanga, it’s usually advantageous that we let one of Nissan’s follow cars lead a approach — driven by an operative who’s not vouchsafing a fact that he’s in a composed Rogue crossover keep him from enjoying some of Southern California’s excellent backroads.

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Headlights? Not great. Taillights? Cool AF.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

A normal GT-R can conflict ravine roads with implausible poise, and a Italdesign judgment proves to be usually as rewarding. The automobile immediately responds to inputs, matched with good weight and high levels of communication by a steering wheel. The Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires offer some-more hold than I’ll ever need in this brisk-but-not-too-quick situation, and a adaptive cessation is both agreeable adequate to not shove a frail judgment too most over damaged pavement, nonetheless allows for GT-R-appropriate prosaic cornering characteristics.

Nothing about a impossibly able GT-R knowledge is mislaid in this one-off antecedent build. we can’t contend for certain if it provides an knowledge that’s noticeably improved — I’d need a longer exam to unequivocally suss that out — nonetheless a critical thing is that Godzilla’s imagination new Italian fit hasn’t watered down a experience.

Production intent

That’s a good thing, as Nissan has any vigilant of putting a GT-R50 into production. It’ll be super limited, of march — usually 50 will be done — and any one will be a bespoke creation. Reeve tells me any GT-R50 will be away customized by a buyer, and Nissan will not concede any dual to demeanour a same. Of course, during over a million dollars apiece, buyers should pattern zero less.

Nissan is looking for 50 well-heeled business to make deposits in sequence for a plan to get a immature light. If this happens, Reeve says prolongation can start as shortly as early 2019, with a final deliveries function before a finish of 2020.

Judging by a Woodland Hills cars-and-coffee crowd, there’s positively interest. But in reality, people are reduction carefree about a probability of a limited-run Italdesign GT-R50, and some-more extraordinary about what, if anything, this judgment foretells about a subsequent prolongation GT-R.

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If a GT-R50 goes into production, Nissan says no dual will demeanour a same.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

“I don’t consider we know nonetheless know we’re gonna go with a subsequent GT-R,” Reeve tells me. And vocalization of a GT-R50 when it launched progressing this year, Nissan Senior Vice President of Global Design, Alfonso Albaisa, simply called it “an sparkling jubilee of dual anniversaries in a provocative and artistic way.”

All we know is, a GT-R50 is a judgment that’s a correct reverence to a mass of Nissan’s iconic sports car, both in design, and generally in a feeling. It’s really value waking adult for.

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