Nissan GT-R at 50: here's every generation of GT-R

By topgear, 19 April 2019

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Witness just how far the GT-R has come to be today’s 562bhp AWD nutjob

The Nissan GT-R has been around a while now - and we’re not just talking about the current R35 generation. Its family tree traces its way back five decades, to a time when dual-clutch paddleshift gearboxes, ATTESA-ETS all-wheel drive and even a Bluetooth connection would’ve been as credible as the contents of a sci-fi comic.

(If you're looking for Part 1/7 of our GT-R 50th anniversary features, click HERE)

As of its most recent facelift, the GT-R punches 562bhp from its bi-turbo 3.8-litre V6. But while it remains a sensationally fast coupe capable of bullying anything from a British country lane to the Nordschleife, it’s also gone ever so slightly softer on us.

Nissan’s worked to fine-tune the acoustics, removing some of the gnash and whirr of the transaxle powertrain, and dialling the ride down from'what did I ever do to you, car?’ harsh to merely'my, that’s firm’. It’s even been treated to an entirely new dashboard, so you can view your g-meter, lap times and gearbox oil temperature in a cabin that doesn’t look like the result of a shelving collapse in the hi-fi aisle in Curry’s.

Priced at just under S$600k, it’s tricky to brand the GT-R a bargain, especially when the R35 started life in the UK as a M3 rival. But even in the context of 2019’s supercar class you’re getting Porsche 911 Turbo S performance for sub-Carrera money. A fitting follow-up, then, to the GT-Rs of time gone by, which also wore that particularly evocative name: Skyline. Here are the greatest hits.

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Nissan Skyline GT-R - C10
The first Skyline to bear the famous badge, but in its own way, just as brutal-looking. You get the feeling this 2.0-litre, 160bhp old-timer is rather proud of how the family has grown up…

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Nissan Skyline GT-R - C110
Real unicorn, this. Thanks to the 1973 oil crisis, just 197 examples of the second-gen Skyline GT-R were sold, all in Japan.

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Nissan Skyline GT-R - R32
Here’s the car that set the template for the modern GT-R. Variable all-wheel drive, 310bhp once the factory’s 276bhp limiter was junked, and many, many gauges. A grey box that’d terrify a Ferrari, in the late Eighties.

(One of our faves... click HERE to read about it)

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Nissan Skyline GT-R - R33
You can see the familiar GT-R cues starting to really bed in now. The legendary RB26 engine is present with its nod-nod-wink-wink 276bhp, and back in the day, that proved enough to see this model of GT-R become the first production car to lap the Nürburgring in less than eight minutes.

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Nissan Skyline GT-R M Spec - R34
A bona-fide Gran Turismo hero. Well, possibly not this one, because it’s a more comfort-orientated M-Spec car featuring more compliant suspension and heated seats. Not ideal for a time attack on Trial Mountain.

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Nissan GT-R - R35
The current car, which has been around for years and must, therefore, surely be nearing the end of its life. Still tremendous, though. More than a match for today’s crop of sportscars thanks to all the outrageous tech on-board.

(A pal drove his R35 GT-R to Everest Base Camp... click HERE to read about it)

STORY Ollie Kew

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