The Hard­ware


Top Gear (Philippines) - - Contents - WORDS BY FERMAN LAO

An all-new GT-R won’t be out un­til at least 2020. So what’s new with the 2017 R35?

Wthen the R35 Nis­san GT-R was launched in late 2007, it awed the en­tire au­to­mo­tive world with ca­pa­bil­i­ties that were once re­served for much more ex­pen­sive ma­chines made half­way across the globe.

While most younger gear­heads will only re­mem­ber the R35, the leg­end that is the GT-R goes back much fur­ther—al­most half a cen­tury, in fact, with the very first PGC10 Sky­line GT-R dom­i­nat­ing the race­tracks of Ja­pan in the late ’60s, fol­lowed by the in­tro­duc­tion of the R32 Sky­line GT-R some 20 years later. The lat­ter im­pressed many folks who had driven it, earn­ing it­self the moniker ‘Godzilla.’ It also de­fined the me­chan­i­cal for­mula for ev­ery GT-R there­after: two doors, four seats, six cylin­ders, forced in­duc­tion, and all-wheel drive.

When it was in­tro­duced in 2007, the R35 con­tin­ued with the for­mula, but with much more power than any other Ja­panese ve­hi­cle be­fore it. The 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 made 478hp and 588Nm. It also met the ul­tra lowe­mis­sion-ve­hi­cle stan­dards of the Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board, one of the most strin­gent emis­sions stan­dards in the world.

For 2017, en­gine fig­ures are 565hp and 622Nm. This didn’t hap­pen in one go, how­ever, with prior year-to-year im­prove­ments be­ing re­spon­si­ble for a good part of the in­crease. The lat­est power out­put is up by ‘only’ 20hp. Credit goes to slightly higher boost and in­di­vid­ual cylin­der ig­ni­tion con­trol, which op­ti­mizes the ig­ni­tion tim­ing to max­i­mize power from 3,200rpm un­til red­line.

Part of the se­cret to the GT-R’s awe­some ca­pa­bil­i­ties is Nis­san’s Atessa E-TS all-wheeldrive sys­tem that is ca­pa­ble of send­ing power en­tirely to the rear wheels, or to split the dis­tri­bu­tion 50/50 be­tween the front and rear axles as needed. Power from the en­gine is first trans­ferred to the rear-mounted, six-speed dual-clutch transaxle, then sent back to the front via a sec­ondary drive­shaft. Like the en­gine, the trans­mis­sion has also been re­worked and re­fined. The change pro­vides for a smoother-

shift­ing trans­mis­sion that’s qui­eter over­all as well.

Speak­ing of noise, an op­tional light­weight ti­ta­nium ex­haust—dubbed ‘Ac­tive Sound En­hance­ment’ by Nis­san—should be of in­ter­est to many buy­ers. It turns the ex­haust note from a lux­ury-car mur­mur to race-car roar at the flick of a switch. The best thing? It’s not sim­u­lated. Rather, a valve opens up in the ex­haust sys­tem to al­low the me­chan­i­cal sym­phony to be heard by those who are will­ing.

If it seems to you that Nis­san is on a mis­sion to im­prove the GT or grand tour­ing as­pect of the GT-R, you’re not wrong. The chas­sis has been re­in­forced with the lib­eral use of light­weight ma­te­ri­als that in­crease the body’s stiff­ness with­out adding to over­all weight. The ad­justable sus­pen­sion makes a come­back to pro­vide for more sus­pen­sion com­pli­ance with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the GT-R’s han­dling prow­ess. The net ef­fect, ac­cord­ing to the Ja­panese car­maker, is a much more com­fort­able ride as well as more en­gag­ing han­dling es­pe­cially through fast cor­ners.

The ex­ter­nal changes, in­clud­ing the V-Mo­tion grille seen on re­cent Nis­san of­fer­ings, go be­yond vis­ual flair. They’re part, too, of the go-faster for­mula for the GT-R. The en­tire front end has been opened up to al­low for bet­ter aero­dy­nam­ics, as the front fas­cia cuts through and redi­rects the wind around it while re­duc­ing un­der­body air­flow. Even the C-pil­lars have been re­designed to re­move vor­tices in the area that re­sulted in a 1% en­ergy loss.

The in­te­rior has also been re­designed to im­prove re­fine­ment and lux­ury. The pad­dle shifters have been re­lo­cated to the steer­ing wheel to min­i­mize un­nec­es­sary move­ment. The seven-inch cen­ter-mounted screen has been re­placed with a more leg­i­ble and high-mounted eight-inch dis­play. The hu­man-ma­chine in­ter­face loses more than half of its switchgear—down to 11 from the pre­vi­ous 27. As in most newer ve­hi­cles, in their place is an over­sized knob that works very much like the mul­ti­func­tion di­als on nu­mer­ous dig­i­tal cam­eras.

The multi-ad­justable front seats are new, too, of­fer­ing bet­ter bol­ster­ing to im­prove com­fort on long drives. The switchgear po­si­tioned north of the shifter is re­tained to give up­grad­ing own­ers some fa­mil­iar­ity. The naked car­bon-fiber cen­ter con­sole is 100% spot-on—along with most ev­ery­thing else, ac­tu­ally.

‘Year-to-year im­prove­ments are re­spon­si­ble for a good part of the power in­crease’

Bet­ter ma­te­ri­als make the en­tire in­te­rior feel more lux­u­ri­ous

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