2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan GT-R: Midship Bullship

June 04, 2009

car-of-the-week-banner.jpg 555 GT-R hood midship.jpg

Pop the hood of our 2009 Nissan GT-R and you'll find the term "Premium Midship" stamped into the heat-resistant mouse fur that lines the underside.

"Midship" is shorthand for mid-engined, which of course refers to a car with its engine located behind the driver but ahead of the transmission and rear axle.

Here the Nissan marketing folks have stretched the definition, employing the term "Front Midship" (or FM, for short) to indicate an engine that's ahead of the driver but behind the front axle. Since the GT-R is so bitchin', they call it Premium Midship.

The reason it's a stretch is simple: Whether or not the engine sits behind the front axle is a highly debatable point.

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The twin-turbo engine clearly sits in between and partially ahead of the top of the shock towers. OK, the towers are reclined back a bit because of the front suspension's caster angle. Maybe, just maybe, the forwardmost cylinder's mathematical centerline -- not the entire cylinder, mind you -- is ahead of the imaginary line that defines the front axle centerline. It would take 3D modelling software to know for certain, and even then, there's a lot of engine block and front cover ahead of the axle centerline.

However that turns out, the GT-R is not a mid-engined car.

555 GT-R hood midshipman.jpg  

"The Nissan GT-R is a front-engined car, you Plebes!! I'm the midship(man) here! Do you understand? Look at the next photograph to see what a REAL front-midship car looks like. Now drop and give me twenty!"

555 GT-R hood cheetah midship.jpg

Implying that the Nissan GT-R is a mid-engined car by applying the term "midship" makes even less sense than applying the term "4-door coupe" to any 4-door sedan with a sleek roofline and bad rear headroom.   

That is all.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 21,624 miles

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