The Nissan GT-R has been one of those fixtures on the skyline, there so long you sometimes don’t notice how marvellous it is. Now Nissan has done something about that, with a major revamp after nine years of production.
You can see it immediately from the outside. The refresh includes a total aerodynamic rethink which adds downforce and also helps cooling. The bodyshell has been stiffened as well, and so has the suspension.
Inside the changes are even more apparent. The cabin was always a touch of a let-down, with some cheap materials and fiddly buttons, but they’ve gone now to be replaced by a cabin that is noticeably more luxurious, coherent and sporty. It’s also a quieter and slightly more relaxed place to be, so it’s a more enjoyable place to spend some hours compared to the more frenetic environment of old.
Under the bonnet the 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 now has 563bhp, which is 20bhp more than before even though this doesn’t seem to have improved performance figures.
That’s ample horsepower but then the weight too is ample, at 1752kg. They don’t seem to have managed to slim that down, and it is quite a bit to accelerate, change direction and stop all in a hurry. Still, this is a quick car alright, always has been, always will. It’s also exciting and fun to drive, but perhaps against the latest competition like the McLaren 570S or the Audi R8 V10 it now falls slightly behind.
Still, when you’re attacking a series of bends you’re going to be smiling. The steering is just terrific, direct, accurate and informative. It allows you to plug into the experience directly, while the stunning amount of traction and lateral grip through the bends will reward your courage. The car stays flat throughout yet the ride is considerably more fluid than of old.
The four-wheel drive keeps you gripping and turning in a neutral posture long after it ought to have let go. But when you do reach the limits the edge crumbles quite soon. Go over the edge and you’ll find you have to work hard and fast to recover it, so don’t get too carried away.
By August this year the new GT-R will be in the showrooms. There will be three editions. The base model, a Track Edition ‘Engineered by Nismo’ and then a limited-run ‘GT-R Nismo’ which will be much more track focused. With the base model costing about £80,000 you’re getting a heck of a lot of muscle and charisma for your money. It’s a bit old-school, allowing you to feel very much what’s going on rather than being shielded by electronics, and what’s going on is fabulously fast and furious. It may be ageing, but the Nissan GT-R is going to go raging into that night.
Nissan GT-R Prestige
Location: Spa Francorchamps, Belgium
On sale: Now
Engine: V6, 3799cc, twin-turbo, petrol
Power: 563bhp at 6800rpm
Torque: 470lb ft 3300-5800rpm
Gearbox: 6-spd dual-clutch automatic
Kerb weight: 1752kg
Top speed: 196mph
Economy: 23.9mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 275g/km, 37%