Home » The Generation-Defining R35 Nissan GT-R Is Dead

The Generation-Defining R35 Nissan GT-R Is Dead

Goodbye Gtr Ts1
ADVERTISEMENT

My fellow ghouls and goblins, I have gathered you here today to share the news that the Nissan GT-R is dead. The car that changed everything we knew about performance cars, rewrote the rulebook of street-legal speed, and influenced a generation of performance cars from America to Germany, is riding off into the sunset at the end of the 2024 model year. Seventeen years is one hell of a run, and while some may argue that Nissan’s flagship faded into irrelevance as every other automaker under the sun caught up to its speed, I’d reckon its influence is felt more than ever.

First, you know that the end of a performance car’s production run comes with some last-call special editions, and the Nissan GT-R is getting two. The $152,985 T-Spec Takumi edition includes iconic Midnight Purple paint, a Mori Green interior, a gold VIN plate, and a little red “R” on the engine. Then there’s the $132,985 Skyline Edition, which doesn’t have carbon ceramic brakes or pumped-up fenders but does feature Bayside Blue paint. Nissan’s bringing 200 combined units to America, and it’ll sell every last one of them.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Now, let’s talk a little bit about how the Nissan GT-R changed cars forever. Some cars scythe through corners with scalpel delicacy. The GT-R applied blunt force trauma. It would understeer mid-corner unless you swallowed a brave pill and fed in some throttle, in which case the whiz-bang Gran Turismo gizmos would shuffle torque distribution and claw you toward the apex. It was an elephant in Nikes that was quicker than the 911 Turbo. Love or hate the formula, it got results, and everyone noticed. Today, you can get a Golf that does just the same all-wheel-drive wizardry, or a big BMW coupe, or even a Jaguar F-Type. Sure, other cars used all-wheel-drive for speed before, but the Nissan GT-R made it mandatory that everyone do it. Talk about keeping up with the Joneses.

Nissan GT-R

Likewise, the GT-R’s slug of turbocharged torque was fairly uncommon for 2007. Sure, Porsche made the 911 Turbo, but the fast BMWs, V8 Mercedes-Benzes, Maseratis, and Ferraris were all naturally aspirated. Nowadays, the only automaker selling reasonably attainable naturally aspirated performance luxury cars is Lexus. After all, if you’re spec sheet racing, who could resist a slug of turbocharged torque?

ADVERTISEMENT

Nissan GT-R

Oh, and then there’s the presence of a dual-clutch automatic transmission in what can plausibly be called a supercar. Back in 2007, who did that? Nissan, sure, but who else? Every Italian automaker was still playing around with wretched single-clutch automated manuals, and America’s two ultra-fast sports cars were stuck with row-your-own gearboxes. Hell, Porsche’s PDK hadn’t even come out by the time the GT-R was unveiled. The only other car playing with a dual-clutch and brutal acceleration was the Bugatti Veyron, and that cost more than ten times as much as a GT-R. Now, the Corvette is dual-clutch-only, as is every Ferrari, every McLaren, and every new Lamborghini save for the Urus.

Nissan GT-R

Now, was the GT-R’s influence entirely good? No. Don’t get me wrong, it played a huge role in making today’s cars unbelievably, brutally, preposterously fast, but it also seemed to be a real-world case of throwing enough tire, damper, and electronics at a problem to beat it into the earth. There’s nothing delicate about a GT-R, nor any signs of delayed gratification, and the lack of those things is what we’ve come to expect of the current crop of performance machines. Think of the massive BMW M8, or the 4,343-pound Mercedes-AMG GT, or the 4,024-pound Mustang Dark Horse. These machines aren’t fast due to their construction, they’re fast despite it.

Lc3 4910 2

ADVERTISEMENT

So, allow me to extend a “thank you,” and also a little bit of a “fuck you” to the Nissan GT-R. Love or hate its brutal formula, we can’t deny that we all watched, and every automaker felt its influence. It was the flagbearer for the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive era of performance cars, reasonably accessible stupid speed, and absurd numbers, perhaps at the expense of ultimate engagement. As it does one last launch-control start into the sunset, let’s take a moment to recognize its importance. It really did change cars forever.

(Photo credits: Nissan)

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

Relatedbar

Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
52 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bomber
Bomber
25 days ago

I absolutely love this car so let’s pour one out in honor of it’s passing.

Vee
Vee
25 days ago

The Skyline GT-R BNR32 took all of the things that the GT-R R35 did and applied them to go beat the shit out of Group A. The difference was that the BNR32 did it to enhance an already lithe and powerful pedestrian car in the Skyline ER32. Because it was never a basic pedestrian car first the GT-R R35 is the impostor to the throne and always has been. But because of the ’08 crash just a year after this car debuted paired with Ghosn having done what Ghosn does the impostor had to stick around and have far wider influence than it ever should have. The R35 should’ve died in 2010 and the Infiniti Essence should’ve been the proper replacement like when the G35 replaced the R34 as was heavily implied in 2009.

Many people want engines out of supercars because the output and design is the allure. For example the Viper V10 or the F131 V8. Nobody transplants VR38DETT because without the rest of the complex electronics that have to come with it and which will shut down if components are missing and the system isn’t tricked into thinking they’re there, it’s basically useless. The car is a whole package, you can’t take it apart or else you can’t do anything with it. That makes people less inclined towards it because part of enthusiasm is modifying and crossbreeding different parts to create your supposed “ultimate” example.

I respect the R35’s engineering. It is a perfect “theory” car. But I have never liked it. Because perfect theory often is unenjoyable in practice. Think of when you suck the fun out of a videogame by optimizing for maximums in efficiency, going well beyond min-maxing. The R35 is the car version of that.

Last edited 25 days ago by Vee
Pedro
Pedro
25 days ago

I have no fondness for super cars, but I love this thing – from the styling to the engineering brutalism, it was the guest whom everyone wonders how they got invited. But are conflicted by a certain sensual thrill.

The designer was questioned about the weight (quaint in the EV age), and said “weight keeps the car on the ground.” ahhh a refreshing counterpoint to the endless “add more lightness” trope.

Last edited 25 days ago by Pedro
Cerberus
Cerberus
26 days ago

I saw it as the threat it was to hasten the changeover of performance cars that are actually for drivers into sterile, pointless computer-controlled resource waste for insecure posers that was already underway at the time. Liked the earlier ones, hated this overweight video game project in every way—it’s even ugly AF.

Robby Roadster
Robby Roadster
26 days ago

Really enjoyed this article Thomas, it’s easy to cast off the R35 as overrated today because we’re so accustomed to it, but it was such a shocking car when it debuted.

However..

“Oh, and then there’s the presence of a dual-clutch automatic transmission in what can plausibly be called a supercar. Back in 2007, who did that? Nissan, sure, but who else?”

Uhh, Volkswagen, since 2004.

Anchor
Anchor
25 days ago
Reply to  Robby Roadster

*in what can plausibly be called a supercar.*

KES
KES
26 days ago

Loss Opportunity to put a manual transmission in it.
With the price of used exotic car with manuals going for loads more than the automatics, i bet they would sell at least a dozen manuals if they had it.
Going out with a “Now with Manual Transmission” Would be awesome.

Aron9000
Aron9000
26 days ago

I never cared for the GT-R, always thought it was too big, bulky, heavy and really goofy looking. Plus the whiz bang transmission would go BANG into oblivion if you used launch control regularly. At least the first few years were like that, I dunno how much more durable Nissan made later year trannies.

The GTR is like the Jackie Gleason of sports cars, that man could DANCE. Youd never guess he had the moves and was so light on his feet at first glance.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
26 days ago

This still seems like a new car to me

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
24 days ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

it’s weirdly brutal, but it has presence and the design has aged very well. I agree, it could be released now and not look dated.

Last edited 24 days ago by Ok_Im_here
Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
26 days ago

The R35 is one of those cars that I appreciate, but never wanted to own. The performance was great, the price when it debuted was an absolute bargain, yet I only found it fascinating and not desirable. I can’t really identify why, but it’s the case.

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
26 days ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

Agreed, but I think I know why. It’s stupid looks. It not only doesn’t look pretty, but it looks like it costs far less than it does. On top of being a $100,000+ Nissan. That’s nothing to aspire to.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
26 days ago
Reply to  Ariel E Jones

I don’t even think it looks bad, though I don’t care for the headlights, so the only thing I can think of is that it has no personality. I like cars with character or soul, and the R35 just never really had any in my eyes. That’s probably just me, but it has always given off “appliance” vibes rather than the emotional vines the R32-R34 had.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
26 days ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

It’s a car from a video game – it’s an amalgam of various performance car elements combined together into a generic, non-attributal “fast car” form.

That’s why though the performance is incredible, it doesn’t necessarily spark passion in people. I likewise appreciate it, but I don’t have strong feelings about it.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
26 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Well said.

121gwats
121gwats
26 days ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

For me, its because it wasn’t available in a manual. I drove Godzilla for a day when photographing one for a media shoot, and when flooring it after doing a U-turn on the highway all I can say is it felt like I was driving something much slower. It got up to 100mph way too easily, but even when gunning it doing a 180 turn it felt much too poised/computer controlled. No connection to the road + nannies galore.

The next gen should be an EV, its the natural successor if everythings going to be automated.

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
26 days ago

This is a car that combined the lack of mechanical connection, lack of character, and weight of a BEV with the performance limitations, mechanical fragility, and mechanical complexity of an ICE car.

Truly the worst of both worlds.

With this car getting smoked by well under six-figure BEVs, and not being able to offer the compensating character and mechanical connection of its predecessor, it was time for it to go away.

If there is an R36 I anticipate it will be a BEV with performance that far eclipses the R35, making the R35 a footnote between the R34 and R36.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
27 days ago

Another aspect of these that was incredible when they were new was the pricetag. It’s more than doubled since, but back in 07 these were similar in price to a base Corvette if I remember right which was incredible for the performance.

I remember reading a review in motor trend, automobile or C&D (yep, had all three back in the day) that one driver was chasing a Veyron through a canyon and the Veyron couldn’t get away, the GT-R was on his tail the whole way which just absolutely blew my mind and it was in that moment I knew it was a supercar and forgave it for not having a manual transmission

Jatco Xtronic CVT
Jatco Xtronic CVT
27 days ago

Good riddance. No CVT… how do they expect to get peak performance out of this trash?

James Carson
James Carson
27 days ago

Good riddance. Basta can someday build one I can fit in. The 240 was the last nissan sports car that I could fit in.

CivoLee
CivoLee
27 days ago

Maybe we’ll get a 2+2 version of the 400Z now…maybe I’m missing the point of both cars, but I always felt the reason there was no 2+2 Z is because of the Skylines.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
25 days ago
Reply to  CivoLee

The Q60 is still around, that’s what they’d prefer you buy if you want a VQ and a rear seat.

CivoLee
CivoLee
24 days ago
Reply to  Ricardo Mercio

Nope, just the Q50 sedan and a bunch of crossovers in various sizes/ride heights.

And Q60 would have lacked the practicality of a hatch, which a theoretical 400Z 2+2 would have. All 2+2s should be liftbacks, including the Toyobaru Twins and the Mustang. Designers realized this in the 70s-90s, not sure why it was forgotten.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
27 days ago

A fair amount of ink was spilled early in the G35s run that it was the hammer that made every race track a nail, but I never cared for the metaphor. Always struck me as more of a Leatherman. It still won’t beat a specialized tool at its job, but boy can you get a lot done with one without having to stop by your garage after work.

Toecutter
Toecutter
27 days ago

Good riddance. Even the lightest versions of this weighed as much as a Ford Expedition. Somebody call Jenny Craig, because this thing needs to go on a diet.

I’d like to see that engine used in a streamlined RWD car sized like a Versa. THEN Nissan would have my attention.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
27 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Im curious as to why you bemoan the weight of seemingly everything but adore Hellcats. They’re way, way heavier than a GTR and worse in pretty much every metric other than straight line speed.

Toecutter
Toecutter
27 days ago

I adore what Hellcats stand for: vehicular mayhem.

I do wish they were much lighter and more aero, but with the same engine.

To its credit, the GTR has a Cd value of 0.26, which is better than anything else in Nissan’s lineup.

Evan Finn
Evan Finn
25 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

The Juke GTR has entered the room

Toecutter
Toecutter
25 days ago
Reply to  Evan Finn

The Juke is about a half of a ton LIGHTER than the GT-R “sports car”. It would actually be an improvement from the standpoint of mass… That’s how screwed up things are in today’s auto industry.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
27 days ago

The GT-R arrived here barely a year after Taylor Swift’s debut. See if you guess which one I wish had been discontinued.

Last edited 27 days ago by Canopysaurus
Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
27 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

You do apparently know when her debut was, sooo….

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
27 days ago

I was a girls track coach throughout those years. Couldn’t escape Swifty.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
27 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I find that the best approach to handling the omnipresence of Taylor Swift is to simply be indifferent. Do I think the fanfare around her and extreme popularity she’s achieved are in line with how talented she is? Not really, but whatever. Her music is pretty much inoffensive across the board and I’m sure the people that can recite all of her lyrics by memory would think we were pretty weird if we started listing chassis codes or quarter mile times.

They can enjoy their hobby and we can enjoy ours. As long as no one is getting harmed it’s all good in my book. It takes more effort to dislike Taylor Swift than it does to not care, IMHO.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
27 days ago

Tell me how’d you feel about Taylor Swift after repeatedly having to listen to a bus load of teen girls singing her songs for two hours to and from a track meet a dozen times per season for 10 years.

Cerberus
Cerberus
26 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

You have my sympathy. I know I’ve heard her music, but it’s so generic to me that none of it has stuck in my head and I couldn’t tell you one song, though I could probably ID one if it were played. I can easily ignore her (except for the shots of her in the background of a football game) and shrug at what I see as weird popularity and ubiquity of what sounds mediocre pop music to my ears and—as far as I’m aware from comments I hear or read—inane subject matter, but I also don’t have kids and my teenage nephew is definitely not the Taylor Swift type.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
26 days ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Strange thing, I can’t name any of her songs either. I’m definitely not in her demographic, but I could usually identify at least one song of anyone that popular whether I liked the artist or not. Not hers, or Beyoncé either. Clearly, I am no longer relevant.

Ron888
Ron888
21 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

A whole decade?! That’s really kind of impressive.
I guess i should be more thankful the teens i worked with had passing fads.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
21 days ago
Reply to  Ron888

Yes, she seems to transcend different generations of girls and women, so was a constant irritant. Never want to hear another Taylor Swift song or eat at a Chik-Fil-A again.

WasGTIthenGTOthenNOVAthenGTIthenA4nowS5
WasGTIthenGTOthenNOVAthenGTIthenA4nowS5
27 days ago

As someone with a heavy AWD turbo V6 car, I can only respect and thank the GT-R for it’s service. It’s crazy how a child born the day the GT-R came out can almost legally drive one.

Last edited 27 days ago by WasGTIthenGTOthenNOVAthenGTIthenA4nowS5
Mechjaz
Mechjaz
27 days ago

Pouring one out for a real one today. So long, GT-R. You’ll always be the car I hoped I was seeing when I saw an Eclipse from a long way away, and the three times I was ever right it was so worth it.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
27 days ago

I appreciate that you shared both perspectives on it here. I personally love Godzilla, but not for any rational reason. If you grew up with the first couple of Fast movies and played racing games, various Skylines were ubiquitous. Of course the R34 is the one everyone lusted after then and still do now, but when we actually got the GTR here in the US it was a BIG DEAL.

The thing was a monster in 2007 and it’s still a monster today. It’s also one of those rare unicorns that managed to infiltrate the minds of normies as well. EVERYONE knows what a GTR is. It was in movies, shows, on countless bedroom posters, etc. It’s about as ubiquitous as a non exotic car can get outside of the legacy icons like Mustangs, Jeeps, etc.

But it was also the beginning of sports car bloat. GTRs are absolute pigs and they’re massive. They weigh in at nearly 4,000 pounds and have a similar footprint to the current CRV. They are BIG cars. Someone had one out at the track last weekend and a 992 911 looked svelte next to it. Also, I’m sure MANUAL GANG is going to show up en masse and throw an insufferable tantrum over how angry they are that performance automatics are a thing now and BOO THE GTR AND R32 GOLF FUCK PDK I’D NEVER DRIVE A CAR THAT ISN’T STICK! and such but I don’t care.

DCTs and other performance autos were inevitable and if people prefer them that’s perfectly fine and valid. Anyway, a lot of folks bemoan the size and weight of sports cars today and I’m inclined to as well. I don’t understand why the M2, Mustang, etc. need to be 2 ton cars. Performance all wheel drive is cool too, but is it going to make you a better driver or help you hone your skills? Maybe, but definitely not like a RWD car will. We really are in an age where you just push a few things in a menu and the car can make any driver faster than supercars from a decade ago regardless of skill.

And you know what? I get why people don’t like that. Some folks might want to drive a video game, but I personally don’t. I’d rather have a car that takes time, effort, and patience to learn how to drive well and will make you pay for your mistakes…because that’s how you learn, and when you have to respect your car you’re less likely to drive it antisocially. So I can certainly see why the GTR has a bit of a mixed legacy…and when sports cars die off in this day and age we usually get to have a “they’ll never make em like this anymore!” collective moment of sorrow and nostalgia.

But for better or worse there are dozens of cars on sale today that can give you what the GTR did. Hell, for like 50 grand BMW will sell you an M240i x drive that hits 60 in the mid 3s and can probably keep up with a GTR if you option the extra performance parts. For similar money to one of these final GTRs you can get a 911 Turbo S that’s significantly faster. Or an E Ray.

So…I’ll mourn its demise as an icon, but we aren’t exactly losing a driving experience that’s all that unique anymore. Depending on your perspective…Godzilla is either where it all started or where it all ended.

Last edited 27 days ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
27 days ago

I’ve run with GT-R’s at the track. They are wicked fast (Do the kids still say wicked?). I don’t particularly want one though.

You hit the nail on the head. Modern performance cars will definitely make you faster. But they won’t always make you better.

I see more bad form out there now than I used to, so I guess that’s the GT-R’s true legacy.

Last edited 27 days ago by Matt Sexton
Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
27 days ago

I had the lighter, RWD, naturally aspirated, manual transmission, sedan version of this car and it was fun.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
27 days ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

They made a RWD Altima?

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
27 days ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

Saying a G35 sedan is like having a “sedan version” of this GT-R is like saying that a 1979 Fairmont sedan with a V8/manual is the lighter “sedan version” of a 2000 Mustang Cobra R… just because they share a platform that was modified greatly underneath both.

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
27 days ago

That is a poor analogy because the G35/37 (Nissan Skyline in Japan) was a contemporary to the GT-R that was so lame Japan did not keep it to itself.

Although wow, Ford sure did milk the Fox platform.

A much better analogy is to the BRZ and WRX. Except in this case the BRZ was offered as a practical sedan, and the WRX was only offered as a piggy coupe and had no manual transmission option.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
27 days ago

Too bad there’s no R36 coming out 🙁

Phuzz
Phuzz
27 days ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

I’m expecting Nissan to announce the R36 in 5-10 years

AMGx2
AMGx2
25 days ago
Reply to  Phuzz

If Nissan is still around in 5-10 years… They’re really not doing well.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
27 days ago

Lots of good points here. I guess we’ve all kinda taken the existence of the R35 GT-R for granted. It was a big deal when it came out, but I admit I kinda forgot it existed.

I’d love to drive one someday.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
27 days ago

Same. Over the past few years, I’ve always been surprised when I’m periodically reminded it was still being made. A lot like the Chevy Malibu or the Dodge Durango.

But what really upsets me here is that it’s too easy to forget that Nissan’s other legendary sports car is still being made. Nissan seems this close to being known solely by memes.

52
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x