Nissan and Italdesign team up to celebrate 50 years of GT-R with 710bhp stunner

28th June 2018
Bob Murray

It’s Godzilla like you’ve never seen it before. This dramatic makeover of Nissan’s performance icon, unveiled today (June 29th), is to mark 50 years of the GT-R nameplate – and also 50 years of Italdesign, with whom Nissan collaborated to beautify the beast.


And, wow, what a result. We can hear the cries of “build it!” from here, but alas for the time being at least this is a one-off prototype, a dream machine to demonstrate what the GT-R could be like “without limits”, as Nissan design chief  Alfonso Albaisa puts it.

“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,” adds Albaisa.

The current generation of GT-R, known to enthusiasts as “Godzilla” but officially R35, has become one of the most familiar performance car shapes on the road (and track) since it first appeared in 2007. The 50th anniversary version takes things an enticing step forward.


The car is based around a 2018 GT-R Nismo and stays true to the GT-R wedge profile and proportions but with a roofline lowered by 54mm and given some “double bubble” contours.

The car of course keeps signature GT-R styling cues – such as the grille, headlights, round rear lights, “blade” air outlets aft of the front wheels – albeit in reimagined form and with plenty of gold-coloured trim inlays, unmissably so in the front grille insert and the new rear section, with its  longer and deeper screen. Godzilla with a touch of bling? You bet!

The new thin LED headlights stretch up over the wheelarches while the bonnet gets a more pronounced power bulge. The rear arches bulge more than ever and taper in around the base of the new rear screen – behind which is… a big wing. Of course. This one’s an adjustable affair mounted on two uprights.


Inside, carbon-fibre and Alcantara are the materials of choice, along with more gold accents, and there are new switches and steering wheel, but fundamentally it’s familiar GT-R. As it is underneath: the prototype gets a new version of the twin turbo 3.8-litre V6 courtesy of Nismo.

The engine boasts 720PS (710bhp) and 780Nm (575 lb ft) of torque. The power boost is thanks to GT3 competition-spec turbochargers and larger intercoolers, heavy-duty crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods and bearings, and revised camshaft profiles. The six-speed dual-clutch auto has been beefed up for the job, as has been the suspension which features Bilstein’s latest continuously adjustable damping system. Probably lots of clues here as to what the next production GT-R will be like…

The car, to make its European debut in July, is officially called the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign. But it wasn’t designed by the VW-owned coachbuilder; that was done in Nissan studios in London and the US. Italdesign developed, engineered and built the car. It is the first time ever that Nissan and the famous Italian design house have collaborated on a project.

On the evidence of this first go, they should get together more often!

  • Nissan

  • GT-R

  • GT-R50

  • Italdesign

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