Car News

Nissan Celebrates 50 Years of GT-R, Z Cars

It’s hard to believe how time flies, but it’s been half a century since Nissan first built its GT-R and Z. The company unveiled the 2020 GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition and 2020 GT-R Nismo at an event on the eve of the New York Auto Show, and it was on display the next day at the show alongside the previously announced 50th Anniversary 370Z.

Nissan’s booth included the “Dream Garage”, with past GT-R and Z models on display, as well as a 2018 GT-R prototype customized by Italdesign.

While the Z was first available in North America in 1970, the GT-R stayed in Japan and didn’t arrive on these shores until 2008.

At a press conference, Hiroshi Tamura, Nissan’s chief product specialist for both cars, called the GT-R “a beast”, while the 370Z is “more like a dance partner.” He also emphasized that the GT-R is “not about chasing a power figure,” but “is about total balance management.”

Tamura said that an Australian magazine gave the car its “Godzilla” nickname, which the company immediately embraced.

GT-R: Premium, Track Edition, and 50th Anniversary Edition

In Canada, the 2020 GT-R will come in GT-R Premium and GT-R Track Edition trim levels. Three two-tone, heritage-era colour combinations will be available, including the popular “Wangan”, better known as Bayside Blue, which was retired in 2002 after gracing the GT-R R34. The other two available combinations are pearl white with red stripes, and silver with white stripes.

The 50th Anniversary Edition uses a grey interior colour scheme, and features a unique steering wheel, Alcantara headliner with unique stitching, and specially embossed seats clad in Nappa leather. The centre stack includes an eight-inch capacitive touchscreen. The Track Edition features a standard-carbon fibre roof.

Power comes from a 3.8L twin-turbo V6, making 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque in the Premium trim, and 600 horsepower and 481 lb-ft of torque in the Track Edition. Both use a six-speed dual-clutch transmission with shift paddles.

For track driving, there’s an “R Mode” that activates more aggressive downshifts, and allows shifts when the ABS is engaged to reduce understeer.

Tamura emphasized that the GT-R has been continually evolved to add more driveability and luxury, and the electronically controlled suspension has been tuned for a smoother ride. A new brake booster increases the initial braking response as well.

Fifty cars for 370Z’s 50th

The 2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition will be limited to just fifty cars in Canada, and will come in either white with red trim, or silver with black trim. The design is based on that of the Brock Racing Enterprises 240Z that raced in the United States following the car’s introduction, and Pete Brock was on hand at the show to help introduce the GT-R and 370Z.

The 50th Anniversary 370Z uses the car’s standard 3.7L V6 engine, making 332 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, with six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.

Pricing and on-sale date for both models will be announced later.

New Versa Sedan US-only

While it didn’t generate the same amount of attention as the sportier models, the all-new 2020 Nissan Versa Sedan was also on display. It now gets styling cues from the Maxima and Altima, including a new grille and lamps, and uses a new 1.6L four-cylinder engine.

Nissan recently announced that the Versa Note hatchback will be discontinued after the end of the 2019 model year, and we haven’t had a sedan version of the Versa since 2014. However, despite the 2020 Versa Sedan’s debut, Nissan Canada has confirmed that it won’t be coming north of the border.