When it comes to the evolution of high-performance cars, it really is a case of survival of the fastest. And few models better demonstrate this Darwinian struggle for supremacy than the Nissan GT-R.
Ever since its 2008 debut, this hi-tech machine has been subjected to continual development, as Nissan strived to make the most of the GT-R’s huge performance potential. However, after years of chasing faster lap times and quicker acceleration, the focus has switched to comfort, refinement and everyday usability.
That means a recalibrated suspension set-up that promises a more compliant ride, improved sound deadening, lighter steering at low speeds and a less fierce brake pedal.
So has this transformed the GT-R from hardcore racer to calm and cosseting limousine? Er, not quite, but it’s definitely an improvement.
In their softest setting, the adaptive dampers deliver a less bone-jarring ride, plus the tweaked steering takes the sweat and effort out of parking.
The complicated all-wheel-drive transmission may still clunk and whine at low speed, and there’s a fair amount of tyre roar on the motorway, but the GT-R’s cabin is now a calmer place than before.
However, while these changes have helped make the car a little more relaxing, they haven’t managed to tame its wild side. Performance from the twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 is explosive, with the 0-62mph sprint being demolished in a launch control-assisted 2.7 seconds, while the six-speed twin-clutch gearbox serves up rapid-fire shifts.
As ever, the GT-R’s ability rip through a series of corners will leave your head spinning. There’s loads of grip, decent steering feel and, with the stability control on, almost unbreakable traction.
It’s not perfect, though. On twisting roads, you’re constantly aware of the GT-R’s hefty 1,740kg kerb weight and near two-metre width, plus the revised brakes suffer from a worrying dead patch at the top of the pedal’s travel.