Godzilla, but more refined
ALWYN VILJOEN ponders offering the other kidney for the latest iteration of Nissan’s GT- R
THE most respected car unveiled at this week’s New York International Auto Show is the 2017 Nissan GT- R.
The good news is Nissan South Africa has confirmed the latest iteration of Godzilla will also come to our showrooms later this year.
General manager of marketing communications Graeme Birch told media the local distributors are excited to welcome the new GT- R to South Africa.
“We will be announcing more details in the not- so- distant future”, said Birch.
A decade after its introduction in 2007, the latest GT- R offers the most significant changes in the model.
The exterior gets a complete makeover, both to make what Nissan describes as a sportier- looking car, and to create an aerodynamically efficient vehicle, with less drag that retains the same amount of downforce as the GT- R in which Marburg’s Dezzi Gutzeit became King of the Hill at the Simola Hillclimb in Knysna last year.
Nissan’s executive design director Mamoru Aoki said as the icon of Nissan’s driving performance, the GT- R continues to evolve.
“With the signature V- Motion grille, the GT- R now possesses the latest Nissan design language.
“Its exceptional aerodynamic performance and upgraded interior have given the GT- R a more mature character, which will continue into the future,” said Aoki.
Beside the new design language, the grille has been enlarged to provide better engine cooling and now features an updated mesh pattern. A new hood, which flows flawlessly from the grille, has been significantly reinforced, contributing to stability during highspeed driving.
And that front spoiler lip below the headlamps generating high levels of front downforce. The GT- R’s familiar wind- cutting shape defines its profile, but the side sills have been pushed out to improve air flow.
The rear of the car also received a thorough makeover.
While the GT- R’s hallmark four- ring taillights remain, look closely and you’ll notice new bodywork to help improve air flow, as well as side air vents next to the quad exhaust tips.
We have not yet had the privilege of just sitting inside the new GT- R, but want to remind readers that the first drive in 2007 resulted in this author offering a kidney for a GT- R.
Nissan’s statement said the cabin greets the driver with a premium interior “that is befitting a high- performance sports car of this calibre”.
The entire dashboard and instrument panel are new and covered with high- quality leather artfully stitched.
The shape of the dashboard adopts a “horizontal flow” that delivers a sense of increased stability for the car’s front- seat occupants, while the line from the instrument cluster to the centre console provides a distinct driveroriented environment for those behind the steering wheel.
The centre dashboard layout has also been improved and simplified. Integrated navigation and audio controls reduce the number of switches from 27 in the previous model to only 11 in the 2017 model.
An enlarged eight- inch touchpanel monitor features large icons on the display screen to make it easy to operate.
A new Display command control on the carbon- fibre centre console allows easy operation.
The shift paddles are now mounted to the new steering wheel, allowing drivers to change gears in mid- turn without having to take their hands off the wheel.
How it goes, reportedly
The GT- R’s award- winning 3,8- litre V6 24- valve twin- turbocharged engine — each unit handcrafted by its own Takumi technician— now delivers 421 kW ( 565 hp) at 6 800 rpm.
The improved output, which are the result of individual ignition- timing control of the cylinders and extra boost from the turbochargers, allow the new GT- R to possess superior acceleration in the mid- to high- ranges ( 3 200 rpm and above).
It comes mated to a thoroughly refined six- speed dual- clutch transmission that features smoother shifts and less noise.
That familiar GT- R tone also has been upgraded with an engine that has never sounded better, according to Nissan.
The GT- R has always been regarded as one of the world’s best handling machines, and for 2017, its cornering abilities have become even better.
A more rigid body structure and new suspension result in better stability through quick lateral transitions and higher overall cornering speed. Grip are comes from 20- inch tyres, on “Y- spoke” aluminum rims.
Still a commuter’s dream
Despite all the performance enhancements, the 2017 GT- R is the most comfortable model to date, with a new sense of elegance and civility that one would rarely find in such a high- performance supercar.
The new GT- R exhibits a smoother ride quality than the outgoing model, and its cabin remains much quieter at all speeds and new sound absorption materials.
Chief product specialist of the GT- R Hiroshi Tamura said, “The new GT- R delivers a heart- pounding driving experience at all times and on any road for whoever sits in the driver’s seat. We have continued to push its performance boundaries to the outer limits — it’s even more potent than before.
“At the same time, more refinement has been added to take the entire driving experience to an entirely new level.
We’re proud to bring you what we feel is the ultimate GT that possesses amazing performance, newfound civility and a rich racing history.”
The GT- R, already the car of choice for KZN’s fastest quarter milers and SA’s blistering hill climbers, just got better, and its coming to SA.