Most cars get a single facelift mid-way through their lives and that’s about it. But the Nissan GT-R isn’t most cars, and has been subjected to near-constant tweaking since it arrived here four years ago. This time around, the updates have concentrated on sharpening its devastatingly accomplished handling.
• Nissan GT-R review
The Nissan GT-R 2013 looks exactly the same as last year’s car, and keeps the same 542bhp power output from its 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6, too. Based on Nissan’s findings from competing in the Nurburgring 24-hour race, the V6 now has high-output injectors and a new turbo bypass relief valve that Nissan claims help improve responses.
At low revs around town, the engine feels as grumbly and impatient as ever, goading the twin-clutch transmission and causing the four-wheel drive’s diffs to creak and groan. However, find an open piece of road, drop near-instantly through a couple of gears with a flick of the left-hand paddle and there are very few cars that could keep up with the Nissan GT-R 2013 as it fires down the road.
Throttle response is extremely sharp, particularly above 5,000rpm, which is aided by the new injectors, although you’ll need to be on a track to test the new engine’s top end response in its higher gears, such is the speed the GT-R can carry.
The remaining tweaks concern new damper, spring and front anti-roll bar settings which help lower the car’s centre of gravity. The Nissan GT-R 2013’s front end is stiffer now, thanks to extra bracing behind the dashboard, and there are new cam bolts for the front suspension, both of which Nissan claims improves stability when cornering.
The ride is still immensely firm and incredibly uncompromising, while the front wheels still hunt around, too, following cambers in the road and causing the wheel to writhe in your hands. And while this is a bit worrying around town, it forces you to focus when you’re braking hard from high speeds. However, once the Nissan GT-R 2013 is slowed for a corner, turn-in and accelerate through and the way the car just grips and slices through bends is exceptional. It remains an incredibly hi-tech way of covering ground like no other car on the market, but we’d love it if Nissan could make next year’s fettling about improving the GT-R’s low-speed behaviour and its interior, given its price.