In the press blurb for the latest incarnation of the GT-R, Nissan confidently claims a place for its cultish product on the “cutting edge of the premium sports car sector”, earned since its launch way back in 2007.

A more accurate version of that sentence, though, would replace the word ‘since’ with ‘at’.

At its launch, very nearly a decade ago, the GT-R arguably set the performance benchmark for its price point – a price point substantially lower than the Porsche 911 Turbo that we measured it against at the time.

It won our Britain’s Best Driver’s Car award in 2008, which means it genuinely was the best new driver’s car of that year.

But in the subsequent years?

No, not so much. Devastatingly fast it has undeniably remained, and it apparently continues to loom large in the imagination of anyone under the age of 35.

Yet in so many ways other than outright speed, the cutting edge of the premium sports car segment has long since moved out of the reach of the GT-R, even as Nissan blithely inflated its list price to suggest parity with markedly superior opposition.

And so as the GT-R ages, its brief subtly changes. Added comfort, luxuriousness and refinement are among the priorities of the comprehensive 2017-model-year update, which comes after the car’s last major facelift in 2011.

Styling has been tweaked, the interior upgraded, refinement measures improved, the chassis revised and – inevitably – peak power from the twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 increased.

Nissan calls them the most significant alterations since the car’s launch – and they will need to be to justify the breadth of the 2017 line-up.

Three conventional trim grades will be offered: Pure, Recaro and Prestige, starting from £79,995. But the GT-R will also be available as a Track Edition engineered by Nismo, plus a distinct Nismo model costing £149,995.

Which means it’s expected to incorporate everything from a 911 Carrera to the McLaren 570S as rivals. We drove the £81,995 Recaro version to test its new mettle. 

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