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The Nissan GT-R is dead after 17 years

Alex Kierstein
MotorTrend

It’s a day we knew, eventually, would come. But did anyone imagine it would take 17 years to arrive? Nissan has announced the final R35-generation Nissan GT-R, which will bow out with two model-year 2024 special editions: the 2024 Nissan GT-R T-spec Takumi Edition and the Skyline Edition. Both will retail for north of $130k, and who knows if dealers will take advantage of their “final special edition” status to milk a few more bucks from customers. 

We’ll say one thing: Nissan sure milked some longevity from the R35 chassis itself. (in the U.S. as a 2009 model), with absolutely staggering performance figures and a somewhat polarizing focus on computer-enhanced hardware. Under the hood, the inline-six of previous generations was replaced by a VQ-series V-6 displacing 3.8 liters and breathing a ton of boost from twin IHI turbochargers. The initial GT-R made (an understated) 480 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque—monumental numbers for the time—and lunged to 60 mph in our testing in just 3.2 seconds on the way to a 11.6 quarter.

The R35 was (and is) impressively, and imposingly, complex. Its wild all-wheel-drive system takes a “complicate and add driveshafts” approach to its engineering, sending power from its front-mounted engine back to a rear-mounted transaxle, then sending it forward again through a second driveshaft to the front differential. 

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Over more than a decade-and-a-half, . It kept adding power, increasing the GT-R’s performance—and its price. The 2015 Nissan GT-R NISMO, for example, was boosted to 600 hp, 481 lb-ft, a 0–60 time of 2.9 seconds, and a flat 11-second quarter. The GT-Rs could handle, too, with the NISMO running a 22.9-second figure-eight time in our testing.

The R35 was so impressive when new, so novel and ferocious, . As we summed it up at the time, "Plainly put: No Nissan has ever been as formidable or as awesome as the GT-R. More significant, no other 2009 contender crushes our criteria like the GT-R. For that, it wholeheartedly deserves our Golden Calipers.”

So how do these special editions send the R35 off? The Takumi Edition, Nissan says, pays tribute to the takumi (master craftsman) that hand-assemble the GT-R. It features a gold VIN plate in the engine bay, acknowledging the takumi with red-etched script. Nissan says the engines of these models are balanced to a higher degree, although the specifics are vague. More importantly to enthusiasts, the Takumi Edition rocks a Midnight Purple paint job, a color that resonates deeply in Godzilla lore. The interior trim is Mori Green. A few upgraded parts abound: GT-R NISMO carbon-ceramic brakes, gold-painted 20-inch Rays wheels from the NISMO, wider front fenders, and a specially tuned Vehicle Dynamic Control System (also tuned by NISMO). The Takumi Edition will MSRP for $152,985.

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Meanwhile, the Skyline Edition is a little less expensive, painted in Bayside Blue with a Sora Blue interior. Bayside Blue, Nissan tells us, was retired after the legendary R34 Skyline GT-R bowed out, but was revived in 2019 as a 50th Anniversary Edition color. Now it’s back, as a send-off color. The Skyline Edition doesn’t appear to have any other changes. It retails for $132,985.

Nissan has been , or a GT-R like vehicle, at some point in the future. Nissan says to expect a “next era of exciting innovation in performance.” We hope that it builds on the R35 legacy in the right way. 

Photos by MotorTrend staff