ROCKET SHIP: A FRESH LOOK AND MORE POWER
The 2017 Nissan GT-R has had a massive facelift, offering more power and more refinement, it’s the best one yet
SOME things haven’t changed, namely the fact the Nissan GT-R is a combination of brutish power and sophisticated electronics delivering spectacular driving thrills – at an impressive price.
But the R35 generation first appeared in 2007, and although there have been tweaks in the past, this 2017 model-year version brings the most comprehensive update so far.
There are discreet, but worthwhile, changes to the exterior, including improved aero and sharper detailing, while inside, the fascia has been substantially revised to make it more comfortable and easier to use.
Under the skin there are a host of revisions including more power, revised suspension and a stiffer body for improved handling.
LOOKS AND IMAGE
The basic shape of the GT-R remains broadly unchanged, although there has been a subtle change to the C-pillar to reduce turbulence which only the nerdiest of eyes would spot. More obvious tweaks are made elsewhere, with the front end benefiting from a version of the Nissan family ‘V-grille’ and a re-profiled lower bumper.
The same goes for the side skirts and rear valance which look sharper as well as managing airflow better, and the influence of the hottest Nismo GT-R model is clear to see.
There’s some new colours to choose from too including a vibrant orange, plus a new alloy wheel design, all of which adds a dose of freshness. It is still unmistakably a GT-R and not a million miles from the previous generation, but this is the best-looking R35 to date.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
More urgent changes were required in the cabin, and the 2017 GT-R is all the better for a new dashboard layout. There’s a new display screen sitting up top while the climate controls have been grouped in their own space just below, as well as more sensibly-placed air vents.
There’s a new steering wheel too which carries audio and cruise control buttons more sensible.
Nissan also claims improved materials, and there’s no doubt that the leather trim is of a better quality. The design is sensible and plain rather than eye-catching, but it works well and is easier to use.
The bucket seats on the standard model are a little narrow across the back, but the Recaro model brings with it a pair of seats which are far superior in comfort and support.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
The 2017 GT-R has an additional 20bhp compared to the outgoing model as well as a slight increase in torque, although more crucially maximum torque is available across more of the rev band. From the driver’s seat, you might not notice this increase, just that the GT-R is a ferociously fast machine.
With drive distributed between all four wheels depending on the grip available and the fast-shifting dual-clutch transmission, acceleration is always available and relentless with it.
The changes to the suspension and body are subtle too, but the upshot is that the 2017 GT-R feels more stable and more responsive, particularly on bumpy roads, and as a result is even easier to hustle along challenging roads.
It’s the combination of the steering accuracy, the unflappable suspension (providing you’ve selected the right setting for the road) and the sheer balance and stability that makes it not only hugely capable, but also a joy to exploit on the open road.
Our time with the car included many laps of Spa-francorchamps, one of the most thrilling and challenging tracks anywhere in the world and the GT-R mastered it in style.
It’s perhaps heavier and more comfortable than a typical track car, but it stood up to the extreme speeds and abuse as well as doing what it does best; flattering the driver without feeling artificial.
VALUE FOR MONEY
In the grand scheme of things, the GT-R remains something of a bargain. The ‘entry-level’ Pure model is a fiver under £80,000 but the reality is, cars with equivalent performance and spec will cost you over £100,000. It’s worth investing an extra £2,000 to get the Recaro model with its superior seats.
WHO WOULD BUY ONE?
Apparently current GT-R owners are keen on having the latest thing, and the improvements to the 2017 version are enough to warrant a return visit. It might be more of a GT than ever, but in truth, the GT-R has the performance to qualify as a supercar, getting as close to 200mph as makes no difference and a 0-62mph time nudging three seconds dead.
It’s not the youngest kid on the block, but it’s still a special car to drive, and now more easy to live with.
IN A NUTSHELL…
This car summed up in a single word: Honed If this car was a...: getaway car you’d escape with the Crown Jewels.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Nissan GT-R Prestige, £82,495 Engine: 3.8-litre unit producing 563bhp and 470lb/ft of torque Transmission: Six-speed dual clutch gearbox driving all four wheels Performance: Top speed 196mph, 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds (est) Economy: 23.9 mpg combined Emissions: 275g/km of CO2
The hard to miss 2017 Nissan GT-R could not be described as a shrinking violet