Time to Play

Nissan partners with LEGO for a more affordable GT-R variant, coming early 2020

There's a new GT-R model coming to a sales location near you.

Photo courtesy of The Lego Group

Nissan has partnered with LEGO to introduce the LEGO Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO. Set for arrival on store shelves in early 2020, the model is the first in the 2020 Speed Champions themed sets, which will be 25 percent bigger than they were in previous years.

"The Nissan GT-R and the LEGO brand are both renowned and loved by fans of all ages throughout the world, and we are honored to be the first-ever Japanese car manufacturer to partner with the LEGO Group," said Asako Hoshino, executive vice president at Nissan. "Many of our Nissan customers can trace their automotive passion back to when they built LEGO cars as children. With this partnership, everyone can be a `takumi' – the specialized craftsmen that build the GT-R. And, it's the GT-R's 50th anniversary this year, so what better way to celebrate than to share the GT-R with Nissan and LEGO fans around the world!"

LEGO Speed Champions Nissan GT-R Nismo box LEGO is bringing this model to store shelves in early 2020.Photo courtesy of The Lego Group

The LEGO model was revealed by LEGO Group CEO Niels B. Christiansen and Hoshino at the automaker's global headquarters in Yokohama today. It is made from 298 LEGO elements and posed an interesting challenge for LEGO design lead Chris Stamp.

"In LEGO Speed Champions, we always aim to include new types of racing vehicles," said Stamp. "And when we focused on drifting and racing, the record-breaking Nissan GT-R, and especially the new GT-R NISMO, was at the top of our wish list. Authenticity is always our main concern, and we spent a lot of time exploring different building techniques to correctly recreate the taillights, as they are one of the most recognizable details on the car. I am really happy with the end result!"

LEGO Speed Champions Nissan GT-R Nismo LEGO designers used 298 elements to craft the model.Photo courtesy of The Lego Group

Hiroshi Tamura, Nissan's chief product specialist for the GT-R – known informally as "Mr. GT-R" – gave the scaled-down LEGO version his stamp of approval: "The GT-R has been part of my life since I was 10 years old. Working with the LEGO Group was like awakening my inner 10-year-old self to rediscover what makes the GT-R so special to me. It's amazing how much the LEGO Group's attention to detail reminds me of our own craftsmen."

Fun facts: The real 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO vs. the LEGO Nissan GT-R NISMO

Nissan GT-R NISMOLEGO Nissan GT-R NISMO
Development time

10-plus years Approximately 12 months
Parts

More than 90,000 298
Assembly time




Approximately 8 hours for the vehicle,
plus additional hours for the
takumi-built engine
Expert LEGO® builder: 20 minutes
Normal LEGO® builder: 1 hour
Top speed

315+ kph Hand-driven
Gears

6-speed dual-clutch 1 forward, 1 backward
Weight

1720 kg 193 g
Building instructions

Not included Included
Fuel

Premium gasoline Creativity
Range

550+ km Unlimited
Hours of fun


Endless Endless

Pricing on the new model has yet to be announced but is expected to be well below the traditional GT-R NISMO's starting price of $210,740.

Houstonians are going to be the first in the country to try out a new Nissan subscription service.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Volvo and Porsche are already doing it. Now, Nissan is getting in on the vehicle subscription service model with a new program called Nissan Switch. The service will debut in Houston.

"Nissan Switch is another way that Nissan is testing alternatives to the notion of traditional mobility, without long-term financial commitments for our customers," said Andrew Tavi, vice president, Legal, External Affairs and Business Development, Nissan North America, Inc. "This program provides more choice, convenience, and flexibility. For those who want a sedan during the week and an SUV or sports car, like the GTR, on the weekends, Nissan Switch provides the solution."

2020 Nissan GT-R Track Edition Nissan's new subscription service allows drivers to get behind the wheel of a variety of vehicles, including the GT-R.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

By signing up for the Nissan Switch program, subcribers can test models including the Nissan Leaf Plus, Titan, and GT-R. Nissan has recently redesigned many of the vehicles in their lineup including the Versa, Sentra, and Altima. The Frontier got a new engine for the 2020 model year and Murano, Maxima, and Titan have gotten significant updates in the past 18 months.

The program works similar to how on-demand media programming works. The price tier of the service subscribed to dictates the vehicles that can be switched out. There is no long-term contract or commitment.

For $699 per month, subscribers have access to the Altima sedan, Rogue and Pathfinder SUVs, and Frontier truck. Spending $899 per month allows for testing of the Leaf Plus electric vehicle, Maxima sedan, Murano and Armada SUVs, Titan truck, and 370Z sports car. Those wishing to test out the GT-R must elect for the $899 per month Premium service level and pay an additional $100 per day with seven-day consecutive maximum use.

Subscribers won't be driving just rental car spec base models. Each vehicle will be featured in a well-equipped trim level, some with Nissan's ProPilot Assist driver-assist technology that has features including lane centering, lane keeping, and blind spot warning.

After a $495 membership activation fee, the monthly subscription includes the vehicle (unlimited switches, as often as a new vehicle each day), delivery, cleaning, insurance, roadside assistance, and regular maintenance.

Customers can enroll at www.nissanswitch.com through August 2020.

In the final year of the current generation, Nissan has given the Frontier a few, impactful upgrades.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In their own words, Nissan is laying "the groundwork for the next-generation Frontier" by enhancing the midsize truck for the 2020 model year. It is expected that we will see the next-gen Frontier later this year.

While there is't much new on the Frontier, it's what's under the hood of the model that's the most exciting news. Nissan is giving the truck a best-in-class 310-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine. Yes, 310 horsepower. That's a 49-horsepower jump from the available 4.0-liter V6 in the 2019 model and more than double the amount of horsepower in the 2019's base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

2020 Nissan Frontier Nissan has abandoned the powertrains that were available with the 2019 model and made the new one the standalone option for the 2020 model year.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The new 3.8-liter is paired with the same nine-speed automatic transmission that is in the 2020 Nissan Titan. The powertrain replaces the four-cylinder ad V6 power plants and becomes the standard Frontier engine for the 2020 model year.

Nissan developed the powertrain specifically for U.S. customers and it was made with acceleration and emissions performance in mind. It features 93 percent new or redesigned parts and was tested extensively in North America. Fuel efficiency numbers are forthcoming.

The engine will be assembled at Nissan's engine facility in Decherd, Tennessee, just down the road from the company's Smyrna assembly plant.

Nissan has also given the 2020 Frontier standard push-button start, a leather shift knob, manual tilt steering, power door locks, and power windows with driver side auto-down. There are new tires and wheel options as well.

What does this have to do with the redesigned 2021 Nissan Frontier? We're very close to seeing the next-gen model and this engine will be its beating heart.

The 2020 Nissan Frontier goes on sale in the spring.