First DriveNissan’s performance poster-boy grows old with surprising grace but is falling behind the pace of the super-sports elite
First DriveSubtle changes make standard GT-R more appealing to drive, but by creating the GT-R Nismo, Nissan has left us with the job of choosing between the two...
What is it?
The new Nissan GT-R that was first shown to us in late 2007. At the time its chief engineer, Kazutoshi Mizuno, made it clear it would take three further years to refine the concept to a point where the real GT-R would be revealed. And this, apparently, is it.
Doesn’t look much different, does it? But it is. The significant styling changes may run to only some daytime running lights, a wider front grille and a new carbon diffuser at the back, but mechanically the car has been comprehensively updated.
What’s it like?
Tantalisingly enough, Mizuno is remaining coy about the numbers, but we know more boost and tweaked valve timing have raised power from 478bhp to at least 523bhp.
Moreover, there’s now a carbon strut brace across the engine compartment, modified dampers, tyres changed in compound, construction and pattern, bigger front brakes (up 10mm to 390mm), a 10 per cent increase in downforce and, would you believe it, even an improvement in economy and CO2 emissions.
What does this all add up to? Nissan is not saying, at least for now. However, it’s fair to think that a tenth or two may have been felled from its claimed 3.6sec 0-60mph time and its top speed will now be nearer 200mph than 190mph.
As for the Nürburgring lap time by which Nissan sets so much store, its team was going to have a crack the day I drove the car, but the weather precluded the attempt.
Instead, I slithered around the Nordschleife and discovered the extra outright punch to be less significant than the apparent broadening of the torque band. There are, of course, no figures available for this, but the GT-R always felt better one gear higher than first seems natural.
But I’d say the bigger change affects the chassis, which seemed uncannily stable, albeit quite keen to push its nose wide of the apex in what were farcically slippery conditions on the track.
Should I buy one?
Well, the big shock seems to be how much Nissan is going to be charging. Just one version is likely to be sold in the UK, priced at over £70,000, which could easily mean a 10 grand price hike.
And while the GT-R is clearly and comprehensively improved, perhaps more even than this could have been expected for that kind of premium.
Nissan GT-R 3.8 V6
Price: £70,000 (est); Top speed: 196mph; 0-62mph: 3.5sec (est); Economy: 23.5mpg (combined); CO2: 279g/km; Kerb weight: na; Engine: V6, 3799cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power: 523bhp at 6400rpm (est); 442lb ft at 3200rpm (est); Gearbox: 6-spd dual-clutch auto