It’s hard to believe that someone shopping for a fast car could walk into a Nissan dealership and buy something that predates the Obama administration, the first release of Android OS, the first test of the Large Hadron Collider, and Justin Bieber’s music career, but the R35 GT-R is still trucking along. It’s old enough that early Japanese examples can be imported to Canada while the model’s still in production, but it won’t last forever. The automotive industry is going electric, and Yokohama’s terrible lizard will have to change with it. At the Japan Mobility Show, the world got a glimpse of where the GT-R is going with the Nissan Hyper Force Concept, an angular electric juggernaut with badging that’s as subtle as a sledgehammer.
Granted, the Nissan Hyper Force Concept isn’t officially a GT-R, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see the colors on the pixelated grille badge and picture what it would say. Come to think of it, pixilation in this context is extremely online, but that’s 2023 for you. Oh, and it has a set of side graphics that feel very ’80s Skyline, another nod to this car’s intentions.
Anyway, let’s zoom out for a second. The rebooted Nissan GT-R has never been a pretty car. It’s a flying brick, a cinderblock physicist hellbent on warping perceptions of speed. The Hyper Force Concept? Well, it takes the purposefulness of the R35, throws it in a Blendtec with a super silhouette car, then hits puree.
Unsurprisingly, the radically angular sheetmetal is shaped just as much by stylists as it is by the wind tunnel. Nissan’s keen to point out the front ducting optimized for cooling performance, a bi-level rear diffuser, and “a newly developed plasma actuator suppresses air detachment to maximize grip and minimize inner-wheel lift during cornering.” I’m sorry, what? Using plasma for flow control is fascinating stuff, and buzz around it is more commonly found in the aerospace industry than the automotive industry. Maybe it’s the next frontier for active aerodynamics, but either way, it feels perfectly GT-R.
Also GT-R? Absolutely crushing amounts of straight-line speed. The R32 was an unbeatable Group A monster, the R35 was a cut-priced supercar when it launched, and the Hyper Force Concept aims to turn things up to 11. How does 1,341 horsepower sound? Yep, that ought to scramble the odd pancreas. Nissan claims that a solid state battery feeds the bevy of electric motors, although given the non-driving nature of many concept cars, there’s a good chance it doesn’t really. Still, concept cars require a certain suspension of disbelief, and if Lamborghini rolled out a concept with laser beams for windshield wipers and spoiler-mounted swords, we’d still gawk at it.
The cabin of the Hyper Force Concept looks like a holodeck, and all the graphics were co-designed by the Gran Turismo magicians at Polyphony Digital. In GT drive mode, everything’s calm and blue, but flick the Hyper Force Concept into R mode, and everything glows red with violence. The suspension and active stabilization settings can be altered remotely on the fly, AR-enabled visors bring virtual racetrack ghosts into the physical world, and tiny screens flash with nerdy information from brake disc temperature to tire temperature to power distribution. Nissan claims that the Hyper Force Concept was designed with gamers in mind, and the sheer information overload is certainly on-brand for that.
After getting over the initial design shock, it’s easy to see why Nissan made the Hyper Force Concept. It’s powerful, purposeful, full of tech, and a bit ugly, all of which makes it a proper GT-R. The veiled badge on the front and the DR30 Iron Mask-aping sill graphics aren’t just there as lip service, because this is certainly a possible future for Nissan’s undisputed flagship.
(Photo credits: Nissan)
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