The GT-R is more battleship than beauty queen — but it can’t be judged by normal standards
THIS is more than just another test for The Tick. It’s a personal thankyou note to the man who took Godzilla from naughty to nice on my Christmas list.
Hiroshi Tamura is the chief product specialist for the Nissan GT-R and a 27-year GT-R owner, so he knows what the car is all about.
In my case, it had been about pleasure and pain. But there was more pain than pleasure when I last drove a car which was so extreme and so focused on the Fastand-Furious generation that I was happiest when it was parked.
But Tamura returned in 2016 and he turned the latestgeneration GT-Rs — there are three in the Nissan Australia catalogue now — into cars that are enjoyable at both ends of the game.
The Premium and Premium Luxury versions are cars you can actually live with day-today. The Track model is ideal for twenty to thirty-something speed fiends who love the idea of a racetrack rocket to impress themselves and their friends.
My previous review of the GT-R for The Tick in 2014 earned me condemnation and abuse from around the world. Godzilla fans from throughout the interweb mounted a social media attack when I failed to give their car my Tick.
It might have been a harsh sentence but I speak from deep experience, as my very first GT-R experience was way back in the early 1970s. That’s when a mate bought a car that was badged as a Prince, and came with a triple-carburettor sixcylinder engine and raunchy rear-wheel drive.
Then I was captivated by the R32 in 1989 (quickly christened Godzilla by Wheels magazine). It was a rocket on the road with its turbo engine and all-wheel drive, yet still surprisingly enjoyable to drive slowly.
Then came the car that killed the GT-R for me.
The then-new GT-R was grumpy to drive, childish in the cabin, poorly finished for something priced beyond $100,000, impossible to park and compromised on both cabin and boot space.
It was rocket-quick in a straight line but, really, I didn’t see the point.
When Tamura arrived with the updated GT-R he promised a much more grown-up and refined car. I only got to drive it for a while at Phillip Island, where it romped around the racetrack, but it seemed much more compliant in the suspension, easier to handle, quieter and definitely with extra luxury touches inside the cabin including more leather and some fake carbon-fibre.
The numbers were still impressive, with power lifted slightly to 419kW, peak torque across 70 per cent of the rev band, and the 0-100km/h sprint time still claimed at 2.7 seconds.
The downside was the pricing, with the basic GT-R