New Nissan GT-R 2017 review
Latest 2017 revisions to the Nissan GT-R supercar are the most significant yet, but it has more 'everyday' supercar rivals than ever before
Nissan’s attempt to tame the GT-R hasn’t diluted performance. The softer ride, smoother powertrain and markedly improved cabin all serve to make the GT-R an easier car to live with. There are more civilised supercars out there, namely the Audi R8 and McLaren 570S, but for something that delivers such savage performance for £80k, there remains nothing like it.
Ever since the current Nissan GT-R appeared back in 2007, it has undergone a meticulous development process each year aimed at making it faster and more capable than before. This latest version for 2017 – tested in the UK for the first time – is no different.
Its 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 now develops 562bhp (20bhp more than last year’s car), while the reshaped front end and bumper design have been added to improve cooling and aerodynamic efficiency, and therefore speed, too.
However, these aren’t the big changes that Nissan want you to focus on. What it wants you to think – despite the power hike – is less about performance and more about practicality. The updated GT-R has been developed specifically to be easier to live with day to day.
Climb in, and immediately you notice that it is now a far nicer place to sit. Softer leather has been added the dash and steering wheel, while a new infotainment system and redesigned centre console reduce the number of buttons in the cabin. While certainly an improvement, it’s still some way off matching the McLaren 570S and Audi R8 for execution and appeal.
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Nissan has also been at work refining the six-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox to deliver smoother shifts at slower speeds, while acoustic glass and extra sound deadening have also been added to keep things hushed at higher speeds, improving its long distance cruising credentials.
Within the first 20 yards, the improvements made to the transmission are what you notice first. The transition between first and second gear is far smoother, delivered without the thump in the back that accompanied the previous model. It makes low speed manoeuvres and town driving less of a chore.
In its softest suspension setting the ride has a new level of suppleness that was missing from the outgoing GT-R, but again, an R8 is streets ahead when it comes to ride quality and comfort. Having said that the Audi is the thick end of £50,000 more expensive and doesn’t deliver any more oomph.
The slightly softer side of the new GT-R hasn’t done anything to upset performance, though. Nissan doesn’t give an 0-62mph figure due to an agreement between other Japanese manufacturers, but an official estimate of 2.8 seconds feels entirely believable, despite how outlandish that claim sounds.
The powertrain may not been the slickest or most polished in the business, but there’s no questioning its effectiveness. The four-wheel drive system plays a vital role, harnessing all of the GT-R’s brute force allowing you to slingshot away from a standstill.
You’re not so aware of the GT-R’s hefty 1,752kg kerbweight in a straight-line, but fast corners or rapid changes in direction show its portly side. Having said that, the steering is light and fast, which helps to add a great sense of agility. The four-wheel drive system serves up vice-like grip allowing you to carry huge speed through corners, too.
A new titanium exhaust system has been added to give the GT-R a better set of vocal chords, but the 3.8-litre twin turbo soundtrack is still dominated by induction noise. Noise is still an issue when taking it easy in the GT-R, and despite effort to improve refinement at higher speeds there’s still a lot of resonance from the engine, while tyre roar at a steady 70mph cruise is noticeable too. It’s better than before, but long distance cruising still isn’t in the GT-R’s lengthy repertoire.