NISSAN GT- R PREMIUM
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.