Here’s one for all you JDM fans out there: Nissan has revived the iconic 400R badge. Arguably one of the most legendary names in Japanese-car history, only 44 examples of the original R33 Skyline GT-R 400R left the NISMO facility in Omori in 1997; inspired by the Le Mans–running GT cars, it became an instant cult classic. Replacing the R33’s standard RB26DETT engine was a race-ready RX-X GT2 engine with, you guessed it, 400 horsepower.
The R33 400R is a true Japanese unicorn and is outstripped perhaps only by the GT-R LM as the ultimate R33. Mostly an unloved generation of the GT-R, the combination of those RAYS LMGT2 wheels, the stripes, and the available Midnight Purple paint elevated the R400 to places in the history books and the hearts of JDM aficionados. (Being featured in the Gran Turismo video game did it a big favor, too.) So what’s this new 400R like? Well, for starters it’s not a GT-R. It’s not even a NISMO. Instead it’s a new trim line on the recently updated JDM Nissan Skyline sedan (that’s the Infiniti Q50 to you). There’s no race-derived engine, no Midnight Purple color choice, no cool stripes, and no RAYS LMGT2 wheels. Boo and hiss, right?
The new 400R is the top-spec trim level on the refreshed Skyline, which ditches the Mercedes-sourced 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and introduces Nissan’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 to the Japanese market, where it joins the 3.5-liter V-6 hybrid. Non-400R versions of the V-6 produce 304 horsepower, while the 400R does hit the magic 400 figure. For all intents and purposes, the new car is the JDM Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400.
The Skyline’s update brought with it a GT-R-esque grille—it makes the car look more Maxima than Godzilla, however—and ProPILOT 2.0 autonomous tech, the latter of which Nissan claims can deliver “ramp-to-ramp” autonomous driving capabilities on freeways. While it will undoubtedly make its way to America in our refreshed Q50, automated-driving tech isn’t exactly on the nose for a 400R, but we’re not in Nissan’s marketing department.
The updated Skyline will undoubtedly be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in October, where we hop Nissan has something exciting planned for its other icons—the GT-R and Z—both of which turn 50 this year.
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