As car geek icons go, there's the Tesla, the Prius, and for me the Japanese Nissan GT-R supercar, which was unveiled at the LA Auto Show yesterday. Ray at Jalop calls it the GTR-Zilla, but I'll prematurely call it geek car of the coming year, lack of electric power be damned. I swear, this post gets gadgety somewhere through.
He keeps telling me the Corvette Z06 will kill it dead, and who am I to argue with a car meat head like Ray. But I still love this thing. A lot of that has to do with the instrument cluster, designed in conjunction with game-designers from the Playstation's Gran Turismo series, pushing a driver into stat and chart overload. A lot of that also has to do with the factory-spec's insane 480HP from a twin-turbo charged V6. Of course, getting that power to the ground for it's 3.5-second zero-to-sixty time takes a lot of rubber or a lot of technology, and in this case it has to do with an increasingly complex electronically-managed AWD system that in detailed function is one of the last remaining tech secrets of the car.
The front-mounted engine runs through a transaxle, which is a driveshaft, center differential, and transmission in one, with gears mounted rearward. This puts more weight in the back, giving the car a better balance, front to back. With me? The meat of the car's power generally goes to the back wheels (98% or 100% depending who you ask) until one of the 12 fore mentioned sensors which read "speed, lateral and transverse acceleration, steering angles, tire slip, yaw rate, etc" and another yaw sensor which amounts to math between the steering angle and the actual yaw rate (rotation around a center axis) to collectively detect what I like to call "Oh shit" moments. Where was I? Part of that includes moving the power distribution in the rear to up to 50 front and 50 back using a second drive shaft type system forward (up to 50:50). Wiki: "Unlike the previous ATTESA systems which relied heavily on mechanical feedback, the system in the GT-R uses electronic sensors and hydraulically actuated clutches." Alright, I'm confused as to how that works with the LSD from this Edmunds drive: "Exiting an uphill right-hander in 3rd gear, the 1.5-way limited-slip differential (which locks aggressively on acceleration but less so on lift-throttle) is briefly overwhelmed by my heavy right foot. The momentary wheelspin can be felt in the steering wheel, yet the traction available in the all-wheel-drive GT-R is prodigious." I'm at the limits of my knowledge and understanding, although by now, this post may have brought us both far to gone into Jalopnik land. I'm going to just think about driving it.
It's the only front-engine production AWD car to have this system of dual driveshafts, and although it seems complicated, this car is designed to pace a 911 turbo. You can't do that on motor alone.
And the car is $70k. Although it doesn't use batteries like a Prius or a Tesla, that's a lot of tech and power for the money. And possibly, tech-wise, it's even more sophisticated than throwing batteries and electrics under the hood. Sure wish I was an auto journalist now, but there's enough tech here to sink my gizmodo-teeth into. Again, humor me while I classify this a gadget.