The 2012 GT-R: A Tuner’s Perspective by Kristoffer Friberg

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2012 GT-R Black and Blue

Today ended up being a major day for GT-R fans worldwide as a comprehensive amount of new information went public about the refreshed 2012 GT-R.  Since everybody’s probably already seen all the nitty-gritty details, and I’m going to be discussing the car from an aftermarket perspective, I’ll just give a basic recap… Some of the predicted improvements include upgraded suspension, brakes, overall fit and finish, and of course more power.  However, perhaps the biggest highlights were the ones that came as a complete surprise, like the new, even lighter-weight Rays wheels (saving over 6lbs total unsprung weight) and the amazing, new 2WD mode that allows the GT-R to finally be driven in full RWD (can anybody say, ‘drifting’)!!

2012 R35 GT-R Nordschliefe

For the last year or so, many people were speculating that Nissan would only do minor updates to the exterior of the car; with the changes merely evolving the look, but not improving it much.  However, I personally was surprised to see that the changes the front fascia alone have drastically improved the look of the car (giving it a little more class in the process).  The rear under spoiler has been completely changed as well, with added side vents and a center diffuser that features an F1-style LED lamp.

2012 R35 GT-R Rear

From a tuning perspective, I think this new GT-R will have a big influence on current R35 owners.  From the reactions I’ve seen so far, it seems like the new exterior parts, carbon interior pieces, improved suspension and ultra light-weight wheels are all desirable upgrades.  Being in the aftermarket industry, I’m personally wondering just how many of the the newer parts will be a straight swap with 2008-11 GT-Rs. For example, while wheels are an obviously easy swap, retrofitting the new RWD only computer settings may prove to be a much more involved job.

Undoubtedly it will be interesting to see people start “upgrading/tuning” their first generation R35 GT-Rs with the some of the newer OEM parts (just like owners in the past have done with S13 and S14 Silvias, R32 and R33 GT-Rs, FD RX-7s, and Toyota Supras).  Conversely, it’ll also be interesting to see how creative owners can get with modifying the new GT-R, and how the car can be improved with already existing aftermarket parts (and which parts are compatible).

There’s always room for improvement over stock; which can even be said of Nissan’s “OEM perfect” SpecV GT-R (I’ve seen it already firsthand, as several of our customers have even gone as far as doing full motor builds on these ultra-rare toys).  With that said, I’m excited to see what kind of tuning potential this updated GT-R has when it finally goes on sale next Spring!

Credit goes to GT-R Blog for the tech info on the car.

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