Nissan’s bespoke GT-R50 by Italdesign is finally here in production form after more than three years in the making – and where better to roll it out than the Tazio Nuvolari circuit in Italy.

    It might be based on a 2018 Nissan GT-R Nismo but make no mistake, the GT-R50 by Italdesign represents not only the ultimate expression of the fabled Nissan GT-R, but a significant milestone.

    Both the Nissan GT-R and Italdesign celebrate their 50th anniversaries in 2020, a number which has informed the decision to build just 50 examples.

    Each of the 50 customers is paying around €1 million ($1.6 million) before taxes and import duties for the privilege of owning a GT-R50.

    That’s big bucks for a Nissan GT-R. It’s more than three times the price of a Nismo GT-R – but it has exclusivity on its side.

    Each of the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign cars is a bespoke, hand-built one-off – and Nissan says it’s already taken a significant number of deposits.

    Customers around the world are in the process of selecting individual specifications for their cars, including unique liveries chosen by them but inspired by Nissan’s motorsports history, or a significant event in their life.

    While there are clearly elements of the Nismo GT-R in the design, every panel has been reworked for the GT-R50.

    It’s lower by 5.4cm, a feature that’s clearly visible with the car’s lower roofline and heavily-raked windscreen.

    There’s a bigger power bulge in the bonnet and the ultra-thin LED headlamps stretch half way along the wheel arches to the top of the outer cooling intakes. They look like they’re actually embossed and completely flush with the panel.

    From the side-on profile it’s not just the lower roofline that jumps out, but the entire flank of the car is lower, which makes it look wider and more hunkered-down.

    Easily the most spectacular aspect of the Nissan GT-R50 By Italdesign is the rear of the car – especially the exquisite floating taillights and huge, adjustable rear wing with its industrial-size uprights.  

    Inside is just as impressive with a superb blend of two different carbon fibre finishes running the length of the dash and door cards, as well as the swathes of Alcantara wrapping just about everything from headliner to the heavily-bolstered seats.

    The Alcantara/carbon fibre three-spoke steering wheel looks spectacular in front of the racing-style instrument display. It’s a totally driver-focused environment in the cockpit – there’s not even an infotainment screen.

    Performance has been uprated too, with Nismo specially tuning the hand-built 3.8-litre V6 VR38DETT engine to produce around 530kW of power and 780Nm of torque.

    That’s almost 90kW and 128Nm more than the Nismo GT-R, which claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 2.5 seconds.

    The performance bump is a result of several changes to the power plant, including GT3 competition-spec turbochargers and bigger intercoolers.

    The internals have been breathed on too, from the heavy-duty crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods and bearings, to high-flow piston oil jets, revised camshaft profiles and higher-flow injectors with optimised ignition, and reworked intake and exhaust systems.

    Everything has been beefed up, including the dual-clutch sequential six-speed transaxle, differentials, and driveshafts.

    The suspension been upgraded to Bilstein’s DampTronic 1 continuously-adjustable damping system, while the brakes are standard carbon-ceramic rotors with Brembo six-piston calipers up front and four-piston units down back.

    Rather than the more focused Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres that we might have expected such an extreme GT-R to be shod with, the GT-50R By Italdesign gets Pilot Super Sport rubber measuring 255/35 R21 up front and 285/30 R21 down back.

    The first customer cars are expected to be delivered in late 2020 and early 2021.   

    Anthony Crawford
    Anthony Crawford is a Senior Road Tester at CarExpert.
    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers