As enthusiasts, we value steering feel very highly. We don't like it one bit if the wheel doesn't feel like it's connected to the road. Imagine what went through our minds when Nissan announced that they were actually going to remove the link between steering wheel and front wheels!
Just like throttles today, Nissan is going to replace mechanical linkages with electronic sensors that will detect the input at the wheel and transfer it to the wheels via electric motors. It will be a smart system that will adjust to the road and driving condition. It will also offer the driver a set of 'modes' that will change the level of assist if he wants to.
Of course, there is more than one failsafe: there are three redundant controllers, but even if all three fail, there is a clutch that will provide a mechanical link to the front wheels.
Nissan says that not only will this steering system be more accurate, it will also reduce driver fatigue because in conditions like gusting crosswinds, the steering will not have to be constantly corrected. Nissan also plans to have an 'auto swerve' facility on the same lines as the auto braking facilities on cars of today.
The steer by wire will probably debut on Infinitis during their next model year. Considering that the GT-R has a lot of inputs from the guys who made Gran Turismo, we can't say that we're really surprised with a move like this from Nissan.