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The GT-R is more bat­tle­ship than beauty queen — but it can’t be judged by nor­mal stan­dards

Herald Sun - Cars Guide - - THE TICK -

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

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