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New Nissan GT-R NISMO 2017 review

Ultra-exclusive Nissan GT-R NISMO brings more fire to the supercar's range, but is only for the brave and very wealthy

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The most exciting GT-R there has ever been, but also the most expensive, the NISMO is an ultra-exclusive member of a much-improved GT-R range. It’s not for the faint hearted, true, but if you’re wealthy enough and sufficiently brave, it is one of the most exciting road cars money can buy.

If the thought of splashing out £149,995 on a Nissan feels like a bit of a stretch in an uncertain, post-Brexit 2017, then consider for a moment that while the value of the pound may be tumbling, the performance figures on the new NISMO GT-R are rocketing skywards. The latest model has more power, more torque and more grip, and thanks to a reduced kerb weight, it’s also more agile than ever before.

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Not only that, but the NISMO GT-R has become one of the most exclusive high performance cars on the market, with Nissan saying that it will build fewer than 30 examples for its European customers. That means you are ten times more likely to see a McLaren P1 trundle past on the high street than you are a NISMO GT-R. With such a limited production run, you’d expect it to become a very expensive machine on the second hand car market in years to come.

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In the present day though, it is no less than one of the fastest road cars we are likely to drive at any point this year. A 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 produces 592bhp - up 30bhp on the previous model - and torque has also risen fractionally from 637Nm to 652Nm. Meanwhile a strict diet of carbon fibre has reduced the weight of the car by 30kg, with the new nose section in particular ensuring that the NISMO looks as good as it goes.

Nissan has made a huge step forward in the aerodynamic department as well. The new NISMO produces an extra 100kg of downforce in the corners, gluing it to the road in a manner that regular GT-R drivers would struggle to fathom. Quite insane if you’ve ever been fortunate enough to get behind the wheel of one.

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Inside, all the recent updates that were applied to the standard car have been fitted to the NISMO, which has improved the cabin immeasurably. There are far fewer buttons cluttering up the centre console, which now houses an easy-to-use eight-inch touchscreen that controls various functions. And while there are plenty of shared components, the NISMO outstrips its sibling in other areas: the carbon bucket seats for example, which are brilliantly supportive, plus swathes of Alcantara on the steering wheel and parts of the dashboard. Overall the interior doesn’t quite feel like that of a £150,000 car, but it’s still special all the same.

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It’s pretty good to drive, too. The ride, even on the pristine surfaces of the Silverstone GP circuit, feels hard in the extreme, and that’s with the softest of damper settings applied via the controls. On a British B-road you suspect it would be lively at best, and ridiculously uncomfortable at worst. Just like the previous NISMO was.

But then if it’s ride comfort you’re after, you wouldn’t be looking at the NISMO at all. Its main purpose is to deliver scorching thrills on the road with massive dynamic ability, and it achieves that aim with miles of room to spare. The noise emanating from the exhaust is notably louder and more exciting than the standard car’s, and the straight line performance certainly feels stronger too.

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Admittedly there is a fraction of turbo lag to contend with, but when the boost arrives via the bigger-than-standard GT3-spec turbochargers, it hits with a proper old school rush. In the wet with the traction control turned off, the NISMO will light up its tyres all the way up to fourth gear. Quite something in a four-wheel drive car.

As a result it feels quite edgy to drive, but the effect is deliberate. The NISMO is tailor made for customers who want to go faster and simultaneously feel more terrified. Anyone wanting a ‘normal’ GT-R experience can opt for the regular car.

Yes, it’s expensive - and crazily so for a Nissan. But if you’re after pure, slightly unhinged driving thrills then there is nothing else quite like the NISMO. Nissan is going to make 20-odd people very happy indeed, even if they get frightened every once in a while.

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