Nine years after the launch of the R35 GT-R, Japanese car major Nissan is finally ready to launch its most iconic car, the GT-R or the 'supercar killer', in India. Just a few months after launching its updated 2017 GT-R in its home market, the company recently announced pre-bookings for the same in India. The pre-bookings for the GT-R 2017 Europe-spec premium edition start at Rs 25 lakh in Delhi. The final price is likely to be close to Rs 2 crore. India will be the eighth country where GT-R has been launched for sale so far.
In its previous avatar—the Nissan Skyline GT-R—it became the ultimate performance car of the 1990s. Fans of video games like Need For Speed and Gran Turismo series would recall the GT-R, as these games fuelled the iconic status of the car. On a straight line, the GT-R has the reputation of being faster than a bullet train by 1/100th of a second. It has beaten supercars, like Audi R8, Lamborghini Gallardo, Porsche 911 Turbo and even its close competition, Mitsubishi Evo. Its winged fender gives the GT-R better in-turn stability. These iconic features of the Skyline have not only been retained in the 2017 version, but also been bettered.
Retaining the European and Japanese design of Skyline and featuring the new R35 chassis, the GT-R was born in 2007 with great performance features. Since then, the GT-R has earned nicknames like 'Godzilla' or 'zero competition' from motoring and racing publications. It got cult status after taming the formidable Nürburgring track with record timings every year at GT500 world championship races, even on wet or frosty conditions.
At the heart of this race machine sits an engine hand-built by traditional Takumi craftsmen at Nissan's NISMO facility in Kaminokawa, Japan. A number of racing technologies, from rally track to Formula One, have all gone into making the GT-R what it is today. The GT-R is, no doubt, built as per race car specifications, from the 20-inch wheels to the rally race car feature of having the gear box at the same level of the steering wheel so that you do not need to take your hands off the steering.
Nissan built the 2017 GT-R keeping the essence of the Japanese culture in mind. For instance, the front bumper has been built lighter and stiffer using advanced carbon materials. The underskirt of the bumper emerges like a samurai sword, which gives the crucial edge (downforce) that the car needs on tracks at high speeds. Sample this: the GT-R can achieve more than 300km/h top speed with ease. It can corner at 200km/h with a downforce of more than 1G, and can drift over tracks and streets at over 100mph easily.
Those who have been at the wheels of the GT-R swear that the machine can be tuned to any kind of track and can achieve even more, but without the bars set on the engine's performance by the electronic controls, programmed deep into the engine's electronic control unit chip. The programme on the ECU is considered unhackable, making it impossible to make any after-market modifications. Desperate GT-R fans in Japan and the US markets, however, have tried to modify it and some have even sold aftermarket GT-Rs.
In India, the GT-R has famous owners like Sachin Tendulkar. Those who have taken to the passion of racetracks in India are known to have their GT-Rs super tuned to achieve up to a 1,000bhp on tracks. The latest model is likely to be even more powerful and luxurious, promises Nissan. The company believes that there is already a market for the GT-R among performance car enthusiasts here, and wants to provide after-sale service to all GT-Rs currently used in India.
At a recent preview of the GT-R held in its Gurgaon facility for select 30 pre-booking customers from the Delhi NCR region, the 2017 GT-R wowed buyers, and Nissan witnessed a higher turnout of probable buyers, said Nissan India officials.
Guillaume Sicard, president, Nissan India Operations, had said that the GT-R 2017 will bring more excitement to the Nissan range in India. Sources in Nissan say that the GT-R’s official launch in India will be in November. The company promises that the improved performance, versatility and the more premium and luxurious interiors will complement the everyday driving aspect with the performance side. The car will be made available in seven colours, including the new katsura orange.
If you are still sceptical about buying, consider this: the GT-R has zoomed past competition in one more race. For its owners, in the last one decade, the car’s value has increased at a rate higher than most blue-chip stocks listed on the US, European and Asian markets.