The Nissan GT-R R35 supercar-slayer is set to be phased out in Europe, because it won’t meet strict new drive-by noise regulations. It’s bad news for fans of four-wheel drive JDM icons, just days after it was confirmed the next Subaru WRX STI won’t get a petrol engine, if it happens at all.
Production of the R35 ‘Godzilla’ models, including the GT-R Nismo destined for the region, will come to an end this month, following 13 years on the market. While it won’t soften the blow for GT-R obsessives, sales of the ageing rocket sled have been waning with its advancing years - according to one website, fewer than 80 were registered in the UK during 2021.
Nissan’s performance car offerings are set to dwindle in Britain, with the brand previously saying it won’t offer the 400bhp Nissan 400Z coupe in Europe. American car fans might see it as payback for all the ‘forbidden fruit’ Euro-spec hot hatches and fast wagons, like the BMW M3 Touring teased yesterday, because the 370Z replacement has been targeted squarely at the US audience.
With a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, it has 30 per cent more power than the old car and 31bhp more than the new BMW M240i. The 400Z also boasts stunning Datsun 240Z-inspired styling and even looks the perfect size for a UK B-road blast.
So what are these noise regs driving a steak through the GT-R’s oversized heart? According to the Vehicle Certification Agency in the UK, the ‘external noise emitted by passenger cars’ has been controlled since 1929, when the first ‘Motor Cars (Excessive Noise)’ legislation was introduced.
This was gradually reduced from 82 decibels in 1978 to 72 decibels in 2016. In that year a new EU regulation (No 540/2014 if you fancy a riveting read) came into force, with plans to tighten noise limits over the next decade. By 2026 the limit for ‘most new passenger cars’ in Europe will be just 68 dB, which will be tough for any car with a sporty exhaust to meet. Even after Brexit, indications are that the UK will follow the EU standards.