NIS­SAN GT- R PRE­MIUM

2017

Ignition - - Front Page - By Lee Bailie

It only lasted for three days, but my time be­hind the wheel of the 2017 Nis­san GT-R was mem­o­rable.

Dare I say it was one of the most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences I've ever had in a press ve­hi­cle – and I've driven a lot of cars of all de­scrip­tions in the past decade. So what makes the GT-R spe­cial? Well for starters, it is a pretty rare sight on Cana­dian roads. Only 156 GT-RS were sold in Canada in 2016, although that's a 20 per­cent in­crease over 2015.

The other thing that makes the GT-R stand out is its his­tory dat­ing back to 1969, when it de­buted as the Sky­line GT-R.

Those early Sky­line GT-RS, and their suc­ces­sors, were never sold in North Amer­ica, but both Canada and the United States have be­come pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for the im­por­ta­tion of Ja­pane­se­mar­ket ver­sions, par­tic­u­larly R32– R34 (1989-2002) mod­els.

While no longer con­nected to the Sky­line name­plate, the cur­rent GT-R is built on an up­dated ver­sion of the same front mid­ship (FM) plat­form, known as pre­mium mid­ship (PM), and it also car­ries for­ward the chas­sis nam­ing tra­di­tion (R35).

Af­ter R34 pro­duc­tion ended in 2002, Nis­san elected to split the GT-R from the Sky­line. The pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the R35 as its own sep­a­rate model was re­vealed at the 2007 Tokyo Mo­tor Show and went on sale in North Amer­ica in the sum­mer of 2008.

Although it has re­ceived sev­eral up­dates in terms of power out­put and de­sign tweaks, the GT-R'S fun­da­men­tals have re­mained un­changed in the en­su­ing decade.

Power comes from Nis­san's built-by-hand 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 mated to a six-speed du­al­clutch au­to­matic trans­mis­sion that drives all four wheels.

Out­put has climbed steadily since 2008, and now sits at 565

horse­power and 467 lb-ft. for the 2017 model year, which are slight gains (20 hp / 4 lb-ft.) over 2016.

The '17 also re­ceives sev­eral ex­te­rior and in­te­rior de­sign up­dates. The new front end has a chrome matte-fin­ish V-mo­tion grille, which has been en­larged to al­low for bet­ter cool­ing. The hood is also new and has been re­in­forced to im­prove sta­bil­ity at high speeds.

A re­designed front spoiler lip and front bumper en­hance the GT-R'S race­car looks, while adding down­force. The side sills have also been pushed out to im­prove the move­ment of air around the ve­hi­cle, help­ing to im­prove sta­bil­ity and keep the GT-R'S drag co­ef­fi­cient at a sparkling 0.26.

In­side, the GT-R'S cabin fea­tures a new dash­board wrapped in metic­u­lously stitched Nappa leather and a re­vised cen­tre stack that has fewer but­tons (re­duced from 27 to 11) and a larger 8-inch touch­screen nav­i­ga­tion / in­fo­tain­ment dis­play. Re­dun­dant con­trols are also avail­able via the Dis­play Com­mand knob lo­cated on the cen­tre con­sole.

Also of note is the re­lo­ca­tion of the shift pad­dles, which have been moved to the steer­ing wheel to en­able the driver to keep both hands on the wheel while shift­ing gears.

Cana­dian-mar­ket cars come with Nis­san­con­nect with Nav­i­ga­tion, Mo­bile Apps and Ser­vices, which al­low users to, via smart­phone, lock and un­lock doors, ac­ti­vate the alarm and con­tact emer­gency ser­vices.

On the road, the GT-R is sim­ply a de­light to drive.

Like many su­per­cars, it is blind­ingly fast, with a recorded 0-100 km/h time of less than three sec­onds.

What makes it truly en­gag­ing to drive, how­ever, is its quick re­flexes: steer­ing, handling and, ob­vi­ously, ac­cel­er­a­tion.

Even with its ve­hi­cle dy­nam­ics set on nor­mal, the GT-R eas­ily sprints away from red light stops, which makes slic­ing through city traf­fic and merg­ing on to high­way on-ramps a breeze.

The 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 rum­bles to life with the push of an ap­pro­pri­ately red starter but­ton on the cen­tre con­sole and, de­spite its prodi­gious power, is quite happy to hum along in the 2,500 rpm range in day-to-day driv­ing sit­u­a­tions.

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