2017 Nissan GT-R first drive review

When Nissan re-launched the GT-R in 2009 it made no secret of the car's rich heritage on the racetrack. In fact, the GT-R was so inspired by the success of 'Godzilla' on-track it gave the new road car plenty of racing character. There were noises from the engine, transmission and differentials that would have made a race car driver feel at home, but as Nissan looked to broaden the appeal of the GT-R to non-boy-racers, something had to change. Which is why the 2017 GT-R introduces a raft of tweaks that focus on comfort and refinement rather than extra performance - though they did that too. There is a new interior design that has cleaned up the cabin (there are now 11 buttons instead of 27) but retains the trademark GT-R elements, including the 8-inch touchscreen with a seemingly endless amount of live data on the car - everything from g-forces to throttle position and gearbox oil temperature. There are now six leather interior options to choose from too. But the biggest changes to the cabin are the ones you can't see. Nissan has added more sound deadening material and a new, quieter exhaust system to reduce the race car whines and groans that previously put off potential owners. It is immediately obvious that the GT-R is a more refined place to be now when you get behind the wheel, but the unique character of the car remains. The same whirs and whines from the complex mechanical underpinnings still seep into the cabin but at a more muted level now. Nissan has also re-tuned suspension and stiffened the body to improve the ride of th GT-R. While it still rides with the firmness you expect from a hardcore sports car, it no longer hits bumps with a harsh thump as consistently. The new set-up is able to absorb more of the imperfections in the road, particularly the smaller ones. But amid this hunt for more refinement Nissan hasn't lost sight that the GT-R needs to live up to its reputation as a serious performance car. The 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 engine has been re-worked to extra more power and torque, now 419kW and 632Nm, but also to provide that performance across a broader rev range for improved drivability. The extra grunt meant Nissan needed to get extra cooling to the engine, which means a wider front grille. That, in turn, meant a complete redesign of the aerodynamics of the car, looking at all the minor details to help the big car cut through the air more efficiently. The old GT-R never lacked for punch, despite its considerable 1700kg kerb weight. And the additional performance ensures this latest model feels a half step ahead. Nissan has also re-jigged the line-up which now consists of the Premium, Premium with Luxury Trim and the new Track Edition Engineered by Nismo. The latter is the car that will continue to appeal to the want-to-be-racers that the original GT-R appealed to so well. As the name suggests it borrows the expertise developed for the Nismo-developed version of the GT-R.