By Steve Laser reporting from Tokyo, Japan
Our series of on-the-spot reports from the floor of the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon continues with the Nissan display. While Nissan has a long history with performance and sports cars, it’s a major player in the Japanese market offering a full lineup of sedans, hatchbacks, vans, mini-vehicles and the all-electric Leaf. It’s also making inroads in the series hybrid market with its new e-Power system.
The Skyline is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Thanks to enthusiasts, the nameplate is known worldwide as a symbol of Nissan performance. Yet what some folks may not realize is that the Skyline is still in production in Japan.
This four-door sedan looks similar to the Infiniti Q50 and even wears Infiniti-style badges on the grille and decklid. Yet Infiniti doesn’t exist as a separate brand in Japan. Thus the car is sold here as the Nissan Skyline.
Take a closer look at the Skyline Premium Sport Concept in our video from the Nissan display at the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon.
This Premium Sport Concept takes the 60th Limited production version of the Skyline to the next level with customized items like dark chrome trim, special leather-trimmed seats and wood accents inside the cabin.
The Skyline 60th Limited is offered in 350GT Hybrid Type SP models with rear- or all-wheel-drive powered by a VQ35HR V6 hybrid system. While the 200GT-t Type SP comes in rear-drive only with a 2.0-liter gas engine.
Nissan’s premium flagship sports car, the GT-R was well represented at the Tokyo Auto Salon this year. Our video shows the Premium Edition.
The newly restyled 2017 GT-R features a fresh look inside and out, as well as major driving-performance enhancements and new features – all of which Nissan says represent the most significant changes made to the model since it was introduced in its current form in 2007.
Inside, the GT-R receives a redesigned dashboard and instrument panel. The Premium Edition features semi-aniline leather-trimmed sport seats along with an 8-inch touch-panel display monitor. The new Ultimate Shiny Orange exterior paint on the display car is applied with a multi-layer process for added depth.
The GT-R’s 3.8-liter V6 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine, each unit handcrafted by its own Takumi technician, now delivers 565 horsepower (419 kw / 570 PS) at 6800 rpm and 467 lb-ft (637 N-m / 65.0kgf-m) of torque.
Nissan says the improved output, which is the result of individual ignition-timing control of the cylinders and extra boost from the turbochargers, gives the new GT-R superior acceleration in the mid- to high-ranges. It’s teamed with a refined 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that features smoother shifts and less noise.
At the other end of the performance spectrum, the new Note e-Power (above), a series hybrid introduced to the Japanese market last year, has a 100 percent electric powertrain. Unlike the Leaf, e-Power adds a small gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger. The wheels of the Note e-Power are completely driven by the electric motor powered by the gasoline engine.
e-Power delivers massive torque almost instantly, which enhances drive response and results in smooth acceleration. Because e-Power relies on the engine much less frequently, Nissan claims its fuel efficiency is comparable to that of leading conventional hybrids, especially during around-town commutes. The e-Power system “allows customers to enjoy the benefits of an EV without having to worry about charging the battery.”
NISMO turns up the heat for the GT-R with a new generation N Attack Package for the Japanese market. This includes parts similar to those used by the record-braking GT-R NISMO at the Nürburgring circuit and combines them with assembly at the NISMO Omori factory. It’s an update of a similar package offered in previous model year GT-Rs.
The exterior of the new GT-R NISMO N Attack Package offers enhanced sporty styling cues including a tall carbon rear wing.
NISMO says package contents available for Japanese market models includes features such as a dedicated engine ECM, front and rear limited-slip differentials, shocks and springs, stabilizers and brake pads. On the outside, there are carbon-fiber front fenders, an add-on spoiler and a carbon rear wing. The interior offers Recaro seats, a quilting cross-mat to cover the space when the rear seat is removed, and a carbon rear bulkhead.
Moving along the display we spotted more NISMO models. Since the release of the Juke NISMO in 2013, the linenup of Nissan’s specialty division has been expanding with the addition of the March NISMO, Fairlady Z NISMO (above) and GT-R NISMO.
The NISMO line now offers a broad range of models in Japan from compacts to SUVs to sports cars all armed with the sporty DNA derived from NISMO’s motorsports activities. Above and below is the cool-looking Nissan Note e-Power NISMO that we saw at the show.
The new Note e-Power NISMO is based on the production model launched last year in Japan and tuned to offer more driving fun. Mods include custom suspension settings and springs to enhance ride quality, and a custom-tuned computer (VCM) utilizing e-Power’s hybrid system for increased performance in both Normal and Sport modes. Other changes include cosmetic enhancements with a custom grille, LED Daytime Running Lights, black roof liner, Alcantara®-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel and custom exhaust.
In the racing department, NISMO says it will continue to provide technical assistance to customer teams competing with the GT-R NISMO GT3 in the Super Taikyu Series ST-X class. In this class, the collaboration team of Kondo Racing and the Nissan Technical College continues to field the “ThreeBond Nissan Technical College GT-R” (above). Continuing for its fifth year, the program is said to uniquely form part of the students’ educational program, connecting formal education and motorsports.
This video takes a look at some of the NISMO and Autech production and racing cars on the Nissan stand including the MOTUL Autech GT-R Super GT racing car, and Juke, Fairlady Z, and March NISMO models.
Having claimed the Super GT, GT500 Championship two years in a row, Nissan/NISMO continues to refine its entries in this class. The automaker says that series regulations do not allow for the development of aero and suspension parts this season, so the car remains the same spec as in 2015 but with increased engine and enhanced tire performance. Improvements in combustion and exhaust result in higher efficiency in keeping with the new five percent “less fuel” rule. This racing car with its incredible attention to detail looks simply amazing when standing just a few feet away.
Turning to a hot market segment in Japan, Nissan introduced a new generation Serena minivan to its dealer network last year. Since its debut in 1991, Serena has evolved to become a minivan that serves family duties and also delivers sporty driving fun. In addition to a major styling upgrade, Serena received a more spacious interior and enhanced utility. Plus, Serena became the “world’s first” minivan to offer Nissan ProPILOT, a single-lane autonomous driving technology in Japan.
The Serena Rider Autech edition takes the van to the next level with sporty styling cues inside and out. There’s a fine-metal finish grille, blue LED lighting, and blue trim for the seats and steering wheel. Join me for a view from behind the driver’s seat as I check out the Serena in my video (above).
Another model on display at the show was the Serena Highway Star Premium Sport concept. Equipped for customers who seek a more premium look and feel, the show van starts with the production Serena Highway Star and adds an upscale and sporty black and bronze color combo riding on bronze-trimmed wheels.
The cabin gains black quilted and brown leather upholstery with a black and brown motif throughout. I was also impressed by the fold-down trays on the front seatbacks that sported tablets powered-up and ready for use by passengers during show.
Click on the links below for our additional 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon stories:
CarNichiWa.com thanks the Tokyo Auto Salon for providing us with media passes to the show. We also thank Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan Motorsport International Co., Ltd. (NISMO), and Autech Japan Co., Ltd., for access to display vehicles for this news report.
Note: Production vehicles, launch dates, and features and specifications for Japanese market models in this story are subject to change without notice by the automaker.
Story, photos (as noted) and videos © 2017 CarNichiWa.com