Nissan Hyper Force concept is our first taste of the R36 GT‑R
Oh boy, this is the big one, isn’t it? The second coming of the 21st century Nissan GT-R, to be coded R36, is being foretold by this, the Nissan Hyper Force Concept, debuting for the first time at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show.
Yes, you’d be forgiven for thinking it looks a bit like an Italdesign R35 that has been forced through a Roblox filter. Like the other Hyper concepts Nissan has been fielding in Tokyo, the GT-R wield’s a bold, straight-edged design language that makes the original R35 look like a 250 GTO.
Okay, there are a few typical GT-R hallmarks. Just look at that floating roof, the circular rear lights (very Italdesign) and the enormous rear wing, which this time hangs from a swan neck. There’s a 2+2-looking cabin with four haunches pressing outward to define the car’s corners. It’s bluff of both nose and posterior, with active aero over the front arches and on the front bumper in the form of canards. It is incredibly futuristic but somehow, it still couldn’t be anything other than a GT-R.
It should make sense that this Hyper Force Concept looks a bit like it’s from the world of Gran Turismo, for Nissan claims it’s been designed for ‘racing enthusiasts and gamers, who crave the adrenaline rush of the racetrack but are also eco-conscious’.
Speaking of Gran Turismo, we move to the interior, which is a screen and light show quite unlike anything we’ve seen before and one that’s the result of a collaboration with Polyphony Digital. We have a yoke-like wheel festooned with buttons and adisplay, flanked by four displays each corresponding to a driven wheel showing vital temperature and pressure stats. That wheel display is showing sector times, with the central infotainment displays showing past times.
Of course, this is the car in its ‘R’ mode, which stands for racing. ‘GT’ mode – see what they did there? – as you’d expect, makes the cabin a much less racey, much more welcoming place in terms of ambience. It’s still a yoke-controlled screen fest but instead of tyre stats, you get drive controls for ‘winding’, ‘cruising’ and ‘city driving’, and climate, audio and contact controls. This one’s a bit more Tron than Revenge of the Sith. There are also some very sporty, intricate seats that are as geometric in design as the car’s exterior.
The elephant in the room is of course what powers this Hyper Force Concept. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is all-electric, with solid-state batteries and e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive. The power figures are spectacular, with 1,359PS (1,000kW) available. We of course know a GT-R would suit the instant bruit force of electric power and indeed the versatile power deployment such powertrains afford. The Skyline GT-R and its ATTESA system arguably gave us the first glimpse of the possibilities of torque vectoring we’re now exploring today in performance EVs. But we have to wonder what the personality of a silent GT-R will be like, given its ancestors were so defined by and celebrated for their immensely muscular and tuneable combustion engines.
Which brings us to the final question. Is this the next GT-R thinly-veiled, or are we a long way off? In terms of both styling and powertrains, I think there’s a long way to go. Just look at the GT-R Concept of 2001 and how much that changed by the time the production R35 came out in 2007. Our expectations are of a production car that has a bit more of a family resemblance to the R35, with some kind of internal combustion element to its powertrain. For now, at least, we’re encouraged that there is in fact more GT-R to come in the future, whatever form it may take.