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By Mark Kleis

Leftlane has been tracking the development of future Nissan GT-R for well over a year now, but today we have captured 13 revealing images of the 2012 GT-R uncovered as it ripped around the Nürburgring test track in pouring rain.

Although a few of the images show the LED lighting taped over, as well as some of the chrome of the front grille surround, many others are truly 100 percent exposed. This now confirms the illustrated image leak we reported in August (Viewable in the Archive tab).

According to the North American GT-R Owners Club, the refresh will includes changes not only to cosmetic bits, but also to the chassis and drivetrain in ways previously unknown and certainly unexpected. The changes are so substantial, in fact, Nissan's internal name for the model will be revised from the CBA-R35 to the DBA-R35.

Exterior upgrades for 2012

Starting with the basics, the front and rear exterior fascias will obviously be changed. The front fascia will now include integrated LEDs in the bumper, and design changes will not add 10 percent additional downforce from the front of the car. The next noticeable change to the exterior of the vehicle comes in the form of new 10-spoke Rays forged aluminum wheels - as captured in our spy photos. The wheels not only offer a new look, but according to NAGTROC, they also drop 13 kg, which results in a welcomed 3 kg drop in unsprung weight at each corner.

Interesting, Nissan even went back and modified the paint across the board - claiming higher quality. In particular, the white colors are said to be a much better match now when comparing the plastic and metal panels which had unacceptable levels of variation before.

Nissan will also add two new metallic colors, red and black.

Interior upgrades for 2012

changes for the interior are essentially in-line with what most have come to expect from a refresh, with just a few changes here and there. For starters, the lighting for the instrument cluster has switched from red to blue, while the rest of the dash enjoys a switch to real carbon fiber for the HVAC area. The HVAC controls will also receive a new style of knobs.

There are several other very subtle changes, including the use of a softer material for the seat belts, variations to the tensioner, a modified steering wheel logo and new metal trim texture for the A/C vents and paddle shifters.

Showing just how dedicated Nissan is to the GT-R, they even went as far as to work on the doors - claiming even further reduced NVH as well as improved fit and finish.

A change that will likely be much appreciated by all, all standard GT-R models will enjoy upgraded seating options. The Pure and Black Editions will receive total redesigns, aimed at bolstering comfortable and stability while reducing incoming vibration during extreme driving or while traversing rough roads.

Meat and potatoes - the REAL changes

Although modified cosmetics and ergonomics are always welcomed during a vehicle refresh, Nissan decided to go deep under the skin of the GT-R to provide some unusually substantial upgrades.

Nissan decided that the handling of the GT-R wasn't quite where it needed to be, and as a result, they will add several chassis improvements. First up were the forward suspension strut towers, which have been strengthened with carbon and aluminum materials for improved joint stiffness.

In addition to strengthening the front suspension, Nissan paid attention to the dashboard support area, which received reinforcement as well.

Despite these revisions, the entire vehicle will reportedly come in 10 kg lighter than the current model.

But wait, there's more (suspension upgrades)

In addition to a beefed-up chassis, Nissan also revised the entire suspension, complete with new spring rates and dampers, revised geometry and a new leverage ratio. These changes will help to improve the efficiency of both the shock absorbers and the stabilizer, giving the GT-R an overall more confident driving feel. T o achieve this, Nissan has adopted a piston-free aluminum design which it claims reduces friction, and increases oil flow and accuracy.

Our spies have spotted two GT-R prototypes--one a Spec V, the other appearing to be a standard model--both sporting the same changes to the rear bumper, and similar changes to their front fascias. The latest GT-R prototypes get reshaped upper grilles, ditching the upturned corners of the current model's grille for a more horizontal look. Additional changes are slightly visible peeking through the covering on the front corners.

Powertrain tweaks

Detailed are far more limited for the powertrain, but NAGTROC believes there will be an improvement in efficiency of a few percentage points, as well as the possibility for "significantly improved" torque, which they attribute to Nissan sources.

More go, more slow

To help drivers cope with the potential bump in torque - and possibly power - Nissan will also reportedly increase the diameter of its front rotors by 10mm to 390mm, a move it hopes will increase stopping power while simultaneously extending brake pad and rotor life. NAGTROC also believes that the tuning of the ABS and VDC systems will be modified as well.

Spy photos

The two prototypes both have altered rear diffusers, with a more chiseled look which juts out from the tail a bit more aggressively. New flares also appear to reside on the lower flanks of the rear bumper. The exhaust tips of the two prototypes appear unchanged when compared to the current Spec V and standard GT-R models.

The GT-R refresh will likely stand until an all-new model launches in 2013.



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