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Racing improves the breed and that is very much the case with the 2021 GT-R NISMO and its legendary 3.8-liter V6 VR38DETT engine. As with all GT-R models, each GT-R NISMO engine is hand-assembled from beginning to end in a special clean room by meticulously trained technicians, with an aluminum plate added to the front of each engine showing the name of the individual Takumi engine craftsman.

The 2021 GT-R utilizes the same turbochargers developed for the GT3 race car version of the GT-R. They employ a 10-vane turbine wheel (one fewer vane than the 2019 model) and the vanes are 0.3 millimeters thinner. This accounts for a 14.5% reduction in mass, and therefore inertia by 24%, allowing for faster response. To counteract having one less vane, which would normally reduce flow rate, a special backplate was created to prevent exhaust gases from flowing behind the turbine blades, drastically improving flow efficiency. Through the latest fluid and stress analysis, special attention was given to the actual design and profile of the vanes. The new shape optimizes efficiency with exhaust gases to boost flow rate resulting in improved boost response and acceleration as well as in gear "pickup" in any situation.

For example, when accelerating from 68 mph and 4,000 rpm in fourth gear (manual mode), the response is immediate and instantly felt – showing an engine response improvement of 20% (versus the pre-2020 GT-R NISMO) as the driver increases throttle pressure, from 0% opening to wide open throttle. The result is a sharper feeling that further enhances the overall character of the engine. Again for 2021, the engine is rated at 600 horsepower2 and 481 lb-ft of torque2. In addition, the standard titanium exhaust system was revised in 2020 to provide a more emphatic – yet not intrusive – tone coming through to the cabin. Handcrafted burnished tips are a signature touch of the lightweight system.

The GT-R NISMO's revised 6-speed dual-clutch transmission (versus the 2019 design) features a refined "R mode" that now shifts gears more aggressively and intuitively, thanks to a new algorithm for the adaptive shift control (ASC). This selects the best gear for any driving scenario and can especially be felt during braking and approach into a corner, where the driveline feels more precise with faster downshift reactions to help reduce understeer on entry. With engine speed kept at a higher rate (thanks to lower gear engagement), acceleration also improves when powering out of a corner.

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