Over the years, we have seen many different versions of the Nissan GT-R, aka “Godzilla”. These include special editions, the more track-focused NISMO variants and also after-market tuned-up ones with a gazillion horsepower! I’ll be honest; I have personally taken time in getting to like a GT-R. But last year after being in one, and watching that incredible launch control system (which is actually so easy that babies could handle it) throw us above 100 km/h in under 3 secs, I was blown away.
And now, to blow your mind, there’s a new Godzilla. Nissan unveiled the new 2017 GT-R at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, highlighted by a fresh look inside and out, as well as major driving performance enhancements and key new features. All told, this is the most significant change for the GT-R since it was introduced in 2007. The 2017 GT-R’s exterior receives a thorough makeover which, to my eye, is shedding the street-life image and adding subtle touches of classiness. The little details is what this car is all about – taking the best and making it a little better!
The new “V-motion” grille, one of Nissan’s latest design signatures, has been enlarged to provide better engine cooling and now features a matte chrome finish and an updated mesh pattern. A new hood, featuring pronounced character lines flowing flawlessly from the grille, has been reinforced to enhance stability during high-speed driving. A freshly designed front spoiler lip and front bumpers with finishers situated immediately below the headlamps give the new GT-R the look of a pure-bred racecar and not a hooligan anymore. The Nissan GT-R’s familiar wind-cutting shape defines its profile, but the side sills have been pushed out to direct air flow around the vehicle. Styling and air flow enhancements continue in the rear, where GT-R’s hallmark four-ring taillights are paired with new rear bodywork, along with functional side air vents next to the quad exhaust tips.
To sum up adjustments to design and interior, Mamoru Aoki, executive design director of Global Design Center, Nissan Motor Co.Ltd said, “As the icon of Nissan’s driving performance, the GT-R continues to evolve. With the signature V-motion grille, the GT-R now possesses the latest Nissan design language. Its exceptional aerodynamic performance and upgraded interior have given the GT-R a more mature character, which will continue into the future.”
These exterior changes result in a sportier and sharper looking car – as well as an aerodynamically efficient one with more stability at high speeds, while keeping a 0.26 drag coefficient.
In the cabin is a redesigned interior befitting a high-performance super sports car. The entire dashboard is new, including an instrument panel wrapped in a single, seamless piece of hand-selected Nappa leather artfully stitched with Takumi-style precision. The shape of the dashboard adopts a “horizontal flow” to deliver a sense of high stability for front seat occupants, while the line from the instrument cluster to the center console provides a distinct driver-oriented environment for the driver. The center dashboard layout is improved and simplified. Integrated navigation and audio controls reduce the number of switches from 27 in the previous car to a mere 11 in the 2017 model. An 8-inch capacitive touch-panel monitor replaces the 7-inch one and now features large icons on the display screen, while a new Display Command control on the carbon-fiber center console also allows easy operation.
The shift paddles are now mounted on the new steering wheel, allowing drivers to change gears in mid-turn without having to take their hands off the wheel. The paddles, paired with re-engineered ventilator controls, feature improved feel and sound when engaged or adjusted. Small adjustments like these go a long way in the overall experience of the drive.
Coming to the GT-R’s major supercar destroying asset, the engine. The GT-R’s award-winning 3.8-litre V6 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine – each unit handcrafted by its own Takumi technician – now delivers 565 BHP at 6800 RPM and 633 Nm of torque, representing an increase of 20 BHP and 6 Nm of torque, respectively, from last year’s model. It comes mated to a thoroughly refined 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that features smoother shifts and less noise. The aggressive GT-R engine sound has never sounded better. The resonance of the new lightweight titanium exhaust system and Active Sound Enhancement (ASE) enhance the driving experience, especially during acceleration. A more rigid body structure and new suspension allow the GTR’s tires, wrapped around new 20-inch 15-spoke forged aluminum wheels, to hold the road surface better, giving it better stability through quick lateral transitions and higher overall cornering speed.
Many have frowned on the internet and made up their mind too soon about this car. This includes folks who are stupid enough to say, “Why does it look the same?”. Well that’s because this is still the same car (duh!). It’s just a minor tune-up and cosmetic update for the 2016 car and is still an R35. The R36 is what Nissan has under development and that will still take a while to come to fruition. And as I said earlier, this iteration is all about the details and making the car a little better. Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist, GT-R, Z and NISMO put it perfectly when he said, “We have continued to push its performance boundaries to the limit – it’s even more potent than before. At the same time, refinement has been added to take the driving experience to an entirely new level.”
The GT-R will be available this summer onwards in the United States. It would be interesting to see how quickly the GT-R comes to India, as it was launched at the Delhi Auto Expo earlier this year and has been a part of the advertisements during the ongoing ICC World Cup T20. Let’s wait and see, with the hope that it blesses the Indian soil this summer.