The Nissan GT-R is back in full force – no need to worry about your precious warranty any more. After speculation that Nissan would completely remove the warranty-voiding launch control system from their all-wheel drive twin turbo V6 monster, a recent press release (below) explains that a new reprogramming of the GT-R’s ECU / VDC system will bring the feature back, and make it safer than ever (More info, pictures, videos, & specifications after the jump).
The Problem: Nissan GT-R Transmission / Transaxle Failures
It’s a commonly known fact now, thanks to YouTube (videos below) and enthusiast car forums, that Nissan’s newest implementation of the R35 GT-R has some issues; the biggest being that of its’ launch control system and transaxle failures. Some Nissan GT-R owners, according to Nissan, less than 1% of all GT-R’s sold, who have pushed their new 480 horsepower Japanese supercars to the limits have experienced some…..”technical difficulties” with their transmission. After a set number of launches the car simply decides that it is time for a new transmission, to the tune of $22,415.38 (plus $1,380.00 for labor). Who knows what Nissan’s thought pattern was, perhaps they assumed nobody would read far enough into the owners manual (pictured below) to use the launch control feature.
After many complaints, Nissan has taken the monster back to the drawing board, and is releasing an update to the GT-R’s VDC system. VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) is a computerized “babysitter” that keeps the GT-R under control for those owners with heavy feet. There has also been a recall sent to all previously sold cars that will apply the new VDC re-programming to them. Nissan claims the new programming will allow almost identical acceleration with all safety systems still in place. It’s speculated that to save wear and tear on the Nissan GT-R transmission, new system will rev the motor at around 2,000 RPMs – considerably lower than the current 4,500 RPM launch control. Unfortunately if you really want to get a neck-snapping launch out of your GT-R, turning VDC off does potentially void your warranty on the transaxle, although Edmunds InsideLine indicates that the rest of the warranty on the car will still remain intact.
Nissan’s Official Press Release
Nissan has enhanced the Model Year (MY) 2009 GT-R by incorporating new MY 2010 programming that will optimize clutch engagement control for improved drivability. This upgrade also improves vehicle acceleration with the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) ON/activated.
Nissan will provide this MY 2010 specification upgrade to MY 2009 GT-R owners at no additional cost. Nissan has already incorporated this programming into the GT-R vehicles in its U.S. inventory and will resume shipping of those vehicles to dealers. We will advise you soon on how to install this new program into all MY 2009 GT-Rs (see below).
The GT-R will continue to offer supercar characteristics of exceptional handling, maneuvering and overall driving experience. This upgrade provides the consumer improved drivability and enhanced acceleration performance with VDC ON (as required by the warranty). Standing acceleration capability with VDC ON (VDC-R mode) will improve compared to the original model-year 2009 performance while such acceleration with VDC OFF will be moderated. Customers should be reminded to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. [Please note independent media reports of 0-60 drive times with VDC OFF (or what the media call "Launch Control") on closed-courses with professional drivers will likely increase after this change.]
The GT-R Owner’s Manual expressly warns against driving with the VDC OFF (except to free the vehicle when stuck in mud or snow) to avoid damage. Repeated acceleration launches with VDC OFF have resulted in some reported instances of damage to the transaxle. Repairs for damage caused by driving with VDC OFF are expressly excluded under the terms of the Nissan GT-R New Car Limited Warranty… Except when stuck, there is no reason to drive with VDC OFF.
This change was initially implemented with the start of MY 2010 GT-R production and has been completed for all 2009 GT-Rs still in NNA inventory… In a few weeks, you will receive the Technical Service Bulletin explaining how to implement this specification change for all remaining 2009 GT-Rs…
Nissan GTR Videos
Nissan GT-R Breaks Transmission on Track
Nissan GT-R Review
Nissan GT-R Review by InsideLine
Nissan GT-R With New VDC Launch Control Update
Nissan GT-R Specifications
Nissan GT-R Engine:
- VR38DETT 3.8 liter twin-turbocharged 24-valve V6
- Horsepower: 480 hp @ 6,400 RPM
- Torque: 430 lb-ft @ 3,200 – 5,200 RPM
- 0-60 MPH: 3.2 seconds
- 1/4 Mile (Quarter Mile): 11.6 @ 120 MPH via DragTimes
- Cylinder bore x stroke: 95.5 x 88.4 mm
- Top Speed: 193 MPH
- Emissions: 50 State LEV2/ULEV
- Dual overhead camshafts with variable intake valve-timing
- Aluminum cylinder block
- Electronic drive-by-wire throttle
- Fully symmetrical dual intake and low-backpressure exhaust systems
Nissan GT-R Drivetrain:
- ATTESA ET-S All-Wheel Drive (AWD) with indepdndent rear-mounted transaxle integrating transmission, differential, and AWD transfer case.
- Torque distribution – traction/yaw-based; up to 100% rear; up to 50% front
- Electronic traction control
- 1.5 way mechanically locking rear differential
- Advanced vehicle dynamic control (VDC-R) with 3 selectable driver settings:
- Normal – for daily driving; controls brakes and engine output
- R-Mode – for ultimate performance; raises the threshold at which the system intervenes
- Off – For when the driver does not want the help of the system
Nissan GT-R Transmission:
- 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with 3 driver-selectible modes (Normal, R-Mode, and Snow)
Nissan GT-R Brakes:
- Brembo® 4-wheel disc brakes – 15 inch brakes front and rear
- Front and rear two-piece floating rotors with diamond-pattern internal ventilation
- Super-rigid 6-pistol front/4-piston rear monobloc calipers with racecar inspired 3 point radial mounting
Nissan GT-R Suspension:
- Front suspension – double wishbone with aluminum upper arms
- Rear suspension – multi link with aluminum upper links
- Rigid, tubular front and rear suspension subframes
- Bilstein® DampTronic system with three driver-selectable modes (Normal/Sport, R-Mode, Comfort)
- Hollow front and rear stabilizer bars with tubular torsion-free design
Nissan GT-R Wheels:
- Lightweight forged aluminum wheels
- Front wheels: 20 x 9.5″
- Rear wheels: 20 x 10.5″
- (High-luster smoke gray finish included with standard tires / Silver finish included with optional all-season tires)
Nissan GT-R Tires:
- Bridgestone® RE070R high-performance run-flat summer tires
- Front tires: 255/40ZRF20 97Y
- Rear tires: 285/35ZRF20 100Y
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Nissan GT-R Forums:
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Exotics and Luxury Community Comments:
What are your thoughts on the Nissan GT-R and the issues it keeps having on broken parts due to launch control. Should Nissan honor or void the warranties on the GT-R? Leave us a comment below.
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