Almost 8 years ago, I was invited down to Westover Nissan to test drive their new GT-R. It was a day that would forever be stamped in my mind; driving a car I had always longed to drive – and it didn’t disappoint. So when I got the call to test out the 2017 model, I was there with bells on!
You don’t have to be a previous Nissan owner to buy (or even enjoy) the 2017 GT-R, nor are you to be vetted by a team of brand gatekeepers to determine whether you’re worthy of a GT-R. You don’t have to be a skilled racing driver, or have owned extremely fast cars to tap into what the GT-R has to offer and unlike most supercars, it doesn’t require an elaborate maintenance schedule and a pair of white gloves that you must wear each and every time you slip behind the wheel.
The Nissan GT-R has always punched well above its weight when compared to its supercar cousins. Even on numbers alone, the GT-R delivers 60 mph from a standing start in an astonishing 2.7 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 196 miles per hour. How it manages to overachieve in each of these categories is what sets the GT-R apart from its rivals, few of which that can match its performance. However, the main thing you notice is the grip, which is in short, insane! The 4-wheel drive system locks the tyres to the tarmac like your passenger’s hands will lock to their knees when you bury the accelerator.
Nissan have revised the 3.8-litre V6, which has gained new engine management, crafted from the NISMO warehouse in order to push its twin-turbo grunt to 565 horses and 467 lb-ft of torque. The GT-R’s real party trick however, is its all-wheel drive system, which in combination with its launch control feature enables the car’s neck-snapping acceleration off the line. I personally experienced this and even in slightly damp conditions we catapulted to 60mph in 2 seconds. If you have not experienced a GT-R launch control it takes your breath away, literally, for those few seconds you cannot breath! Not unlike a skydive; when for those first few seconds you leave the plane and your stomach stays behind.
You feel like you should have an oxygen mask strapped firmly to your face and one hand on the ejection seat handle, as the sound of cubic yards of air being sucked in by the twin under hood turbos mimic a jet fighter’s afterburners. This alone makes the GT-R one of the most addictive cars you can buy.
The sure-footed power delivery is also what makes this beast frighteningly easy to drive, quickly with the help of its electronic aids, which are constantly peering over your shoulder to assist you through the corners. By shifting power front, rear and side-to-side, the GT-R keeps you looking like Lewis Hamilton even if your skill level is more ‘Miss Daisy’.
Fortunately, a number of changes made to the GT-R’s visage for 2017 – including a larger grille, new front spoiler and integrated corner vent LED fog lights – work together, with revised side skirts and vents at the rear of the car, to not only update the Nissan’s looks, but to also keep things more stable at higher velocities. It feels so much better that the old GT-R and that was truly magic. I would recommend anyone who has owned the old GT-R to come and drive the new one, as it’s a totally different beast.
While the Nissan GT-R’s organ-rending forward thrust was no surprise given its specs, I was somewhat taken aback by how connected the car felt through the steering rack. Even on a damp day driving through the New Forest, which suddenly turned to a monsoon, I was never caught out by the lack of grip, the car felt as if it was on rails. The vehicle’s adjustable suspension system also provided a welcome range of stiff to soft settings, reducing the punishment on rough country roads while preserving the Nissan’s poise.
I’m happy to say that the car has evolved into a nimble monster that will send your license up in smoke, with an interior that has significantly improved with less clutter and heaps of leather.
Sliding in at around £40,000 less than a comparable Audi R8 and more than £70,000 below the Porsche 911 Turbo S, it also happens to represent one of those few times when spending your cash on a car feels like a bargain – especially since it’s got the goods to out run prancing horses and charging bulls almost at will. Best of all you won’t have to play any bizarre exotic ownership games to park one
in your garage.
If you want to experience one for yourself give Gerard Reidy at Nissan a call and he will take you for a spin, you won’t regret it – 01202 970420