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By: Rick Walker

Driving the 50th Anniversary GT-R was simply a privilege. 


As an automotive journalist I am given access to a variety of new vehicles to test drive, and recently while picking up a test vehicle i noticed a GT-R 50th Anniversary edition at the media fleet compound. I took a few snap shots and went upstairs to speak to the person in charge of the fleet. I asked some questions about the vehicle to confirm the size of the engine, the power ratings, and other details, and let him know I wanted to post some images on our social media platforms. I was shocked, thrilled when he offered to let me take the car for a spin. Yes, I was given the chance to drive what Nissan calls "THE SUPERCAR".  


I had the car for a short time in the afternoon and was able to drive through city streets, navigating my way through traffic.


There was no way to really put the car through its paces, because of course I had to obey all traffic laws, but the experience did give me a taste of what it would be like to live with a Nissan GT-R as a daily driver, or even a weekend cruise machine. Regardless of how the drive is justified the entire experience was to say the least a treat.


This is a car that many refer to as "GODZILLA" and for good reason. This vehicle has 565-horsepower. It is a monster. It has special badigng with two - 50th anniversary badges on the back.  The titanium exhaust system has tail pipes that are burnished, so they have a blue tint, at least that was the case with this test car which was finished in Bayside blue, which was last seen on the R34 GT-R. The blue version of this car has a graphics package pays homage to the 1970s GT-Rs which won 52 races in their first three years of competition. The paint is heat treated and has a special coating for durability.  The GT-R 50th Anniversary edition is available in three different color combinations: peal white, blue, and super silver with black.


One of the first things that stood out for me was the beautiful blue 20 inch wheels. They have a special finish and they really pop. This car is as much about style as it is about performance with interior accents that add a touch of luxury and refinement to a car that will run with almost anything on the road or track. The test car GT-R interior came in high grey, with a 50th anniversary logo on the center console.


The 2020 Nissan GT-R will come in three trim levels in most markets: GT-R Premium, GT-R Track Edition and GT-R NISMO. In select regions, there will also be the Pure, Prestige and Black models, but it is the 50th Anniversary Edition that truly celebrates the GT-R's rich heritage.


As much as this car has style, it is also fully functional, and by that I mean that  it has two functional inlets on the hood. Yes all the vents on this car are functional, so they all serve a purpose and mainly cool down key components like the engine and brakes.


Aluminum door skins, and aluminum hood and trunk lid all reduce weight.  The track edition has more carbon fibre to make it even lighter.  The trunk has a surprising amount of space. It's actually practical because there is enough for a a little luggage or groceries.


The dual power seats are comfortable and supportive. They are sport seats but unlike a full racing seat they are designed for fairly easy entry and exit from the vehicle, so in that respect the 50th Anniversary Nissan GT-R is a car you can live with everyday.  It also has a tilting steering wheel, but it does not telescope..


Check out the speedometer and you will see it goes all the way up to 340 kilometers per hour.


In this car you do not feel the speed. When you start to cruise the speed creeps up on you so watch yourself, or you will end up with a speeding ticket.  The styling on this car is very aggressive and it stands out so you will be targeted by police if you exceed the posted speed limit.


There is large tachometer with the 50th anniversary logo on it. The center infotainment screen is easy to use.  i was able to figure out how to move through the menu very quickly so the interface is intuitive. You also get dual climate control on this beast. The transmission, suspension, and traction control settings offer a customized ride, so you can adjust things to suit you preference and current situation.  Of course it has the center shifter and paddle shiftters on the steering wheel. All the stitching on the steering wheel, seats and trim is hand crafted.

Additional 50th anniversary features include unique steering wheel and shift knob trim, special embossed seats, an Alcantara® headliner with unique stitching, Alcantara®-wrapped sunvisors, and more.


It has a back seat, but it's cramped. Yes you could put your kids back there but there really isn't much space and it is very difficult even for kids to to get in there.


The Nissan 40th Anniversary GT-R is a supercar, but it is tame enough to drive everyday. This is a car that will run with Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Corvettes, Mclarens, and practically anything else. It has a lot of torque and horsepower, but best of all it handles well.  The 3.8 twin turbo V6 is hand assembled with a signature plate on every vehicle. In this car you get  565 horsepower, and 467 pound feet of torque.  Overall, the new turbo chargers, provide even sharper engine response in and out of corners, making the driving experience more rewarding and richer than ever before. The exhaust manifolds, inspired by racing technology, have optimized turbo flange attachment points, which allow for easier servicing and potential tuning, without touching the exhaust manifold.


When you start it up, it goes by default in normal mode, for ever-day driving on the street, but as mentioned you can customize the settings for different driving conditions, including performance mode for a visit to the track. The transmission can be set for "Normal" for everyday driving. "R" is for performance and "Save" will help you in slippery conditions.

Nissan GT-R Steering Wheel
nissan gt-r - with Rick Walker "SST Car Show" Host.jpg

The Bilstein suspension is computerized. It pulls information from sensors on various systems to determine the load on each wheel, your speed, engine rpms, and so on, and transfers all that information to adjustable dampers, which can be set for current driving conditions. 


The brakes are by Brembo. They are beefy, but still refined enough for street use.


The engine seems to hit just the right tone. It has a very distinct growl. It really sounds like a GT-R and only a GT-R. However you can in fact can adjust the exhaust note keeping it quiet around town, but if you find a track where you can open it up you can let out all the power and the sound from the exhaust. 


The twin turbos provide an incredible amount of power throughout the power band.  There is almost no turbo lag. In fact the turbo chargers were redesigned for this model year. They are five-percent more efficient, and that increase in efficiency will really help propel the car coming out of corners.


The GT-R has an independent rear transaxle. It drives like a rear wheel drive car under normal conditions putting all of the traction to the back wheels, but it can also distribute traction and power to all four wheels putting it right where its needed when the car is being pushed in performance mode.  GT-R features a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission.   It features more aggressive downshifts to better anticipate swift cornering exits, with gear selection happening during ABS engagement, resulting in reduced understeer and a more driver-intuitive feeling. 


The six speed dual clutch transmission feels strong. It has to be. There is a lot of torque here. It's snappy. When set in performance mode it will hit hard going into each gear.


Nissan engineers spent a lot of time testing this design in the wind tunnel. The shape of the car provides track worthy down force, but with functional air inlets key components are also kept cool. That's what a real Supercar does.


I didn't look up when i was driving the car. I was too fixated on the car itself and the watching the road, but after i finished with my test drive, I was told the headliner is quilted.  Nice touch Nissan. Of course you get stability control, rear view monitor, air bags, connectivity for your smart phone. It has all the bells and whistles.


0-60 time is under three seconds.


It has all wheel drive, so there is almost no slip when you launch it, and just so you know it does have "launch control" so you can rev-up that engine and build the turbo boost if you find yourself at the drag strip.  When all the power is transferred to the pavement and you accelerate to sixty miles per hour literally in the blink of an eye.


The real secret behind this GT-R;s refinement in my opinion is the steering rack. It is a a speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion design with an aluminum steering rack, four-point mounting and stiff insulators – which provide sharp response during hard driving, but around town everyday on the street reduced effort for steering is needed while still providing exceptional feedback from the road to your hands on the open highway. The steering is more linear and precise than ever, requiring minimal corrections at speeds of up to 186.4 mph (300 kph). A new brake booster increases the initial braking response by engaging with less pedal stroke, resulting in enhanced stopping power and feel.


The other secret to the GT-R's refinement is the noise cancellation system and sound insulation that is used to keep the cabin quiet. It is surprising how quiet it is inside the car.There is also a special sound damper in the exhaust system. All 2020 Nissan GT-Rs come with the NissanConnectSM integrated audio, navigation and communication system in select markets. It allows users to remotely lock or unlock the doors, activate the alarm, summon emergency services or track the car's whereabouts using smartphone apps.


In many was this is a car that hits a sweet spot. It has tons of power, but in some cars when you break through that 500-horsepower barrier the vehicle can become a bit beastly and tough to live with every-day. This car is refined though. In higher end performance cars the power coming from the engine is reserved at idle and when driving in the city, with no lumpy cam feel like an old school muscle car. The 50th Anniversary Edition Nissan GT-R is tame when handled gently, but when you stomp on it Godzilla will let our a roar and come to life breathing fire.

You could described this as an every-day Supercar.  Some say it's almost like a go cart but I would not describe it that way. This car has some weight to it. It's a serious machine.  Lighter cars like a Civic Type R or even a 370z have more go-kart like attributes in my opinion but this vehicle is more substantial. It's a road machine, a track machine, it is a real Supercar, but it's one you can actually live with every-day.


"A GT-R is about total balance management," said Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist for the GT-R. "It is not about chasing a power figures, but creating a new GT-R, where no aspect has been overlooked. This is appropriate to celebrate the GT-R 50th anniversary."


if you are looking for even more power, go for the Track Edition of the GT-R, which has an engine taken straight from the NISMO and offers 600-horsepower.  Optional on the Track Edition are special Brembo carbon ceramic rotors and calipers. The brake rotors are made of carbon and silica carbide, and are – 16.1 inches (410 mm) front and 15.3 inches (390 mm) rear – and are nearly as hard as diamonds.  


It's a head turner. It will get you a lot of attention. Just like a Lamborghini, a Ferrari a McLaren, or any Supercar, people will be thrilled if you just let them sit in it, because even just sitting in it is an experience people will remember their entire life. This is not a car the average person will every own, or even have a chance to get into for a ride. It is without question a flagship vehicle for Nissan, and it sets the bar for the rest of their line up in many respects. This is the car that adds the real sizzle to the Nissan brand these days.


With the Nissan GT-R you are getting a Supercar and more though. You are driving Nissan heritage, and the 50th Anniversary edition pay tribute to everything that brought us to this point with Nissan performance and it does it with real style. Some call the GT-R Godzilla. It really is a beast, but the 50th Anniversary Edition is also a beauty.


Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition Specifications

2020 GT-R specifications (U.S. spec)



Engine: VR38DETT, V6 Twin-Turbo charged DOHC

Displacement: 3.8 Litres

Power: 565 hp

Torque: 467 lb-ft /3300-5800 rpm

Overall Length: 185.4 in. / 4710 mm

Overall Width: 74.6 in. / 1895 mm

Overall Height:  53.9 in. / 1370 mm

Wheelbase: 109.4 in. / 2780 mm

Track Edition

Engine: VR38DETT, V6 Twin-Turbo charged DOHC

Displacement: 3.8 Litres

Power: 600 hp

Torque: 481 lb-ft /3600-5600 rpm

Overall Length: 185.4 in. / 4710 mm

Overall Width: 74.6 in. / 1895 mm

Overall Height:  53.9 in. / 1370 mm

Wheelbase: 109.4 in. / 2780 mm

nissan gtr anniversary edtiion on racetrack.
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