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

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - MATT JOY

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

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