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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

It’s difficult to know which impresses most: the outright level of performance the Nissan GT-R offers or how accessible it makes it. The latest version of this constantly updated car delivers 523bhp and a 0-60mph time below three seconds.

No wonder, then, that this is a car in which it’s easy to go incredibly fast. This is partly due to the traction advantages of all-wheel drive and the GT-R’s clever torque-shuffling differentials, and partly to the dual-clutch gearbox. One of the three dashboard-mounted toggle switches alters the gearbox mode from Snow to R, changing the shift speed and pattern, while sliding the gear lever or pulling on the wonderful fixed paddles switches the ’box from automatic to manual. 

The brakes are beyond criticism, providing a reassuring ability to shed speed

Manual (in which the GT-R will not kick down) and R (which lets the engine run to the limiter) offers the best control for track driving or on roads you know well. But in other, more give and take conditions the automatic mode works a treat.

In R mode its ability to judge and deliver jerk-free downchanges is exceptional and gives a level of on-demand performance more akin to a big V12 than a relatively small-capacity turbocharged engine. The transmission’s party piece, though, is full-bore upshifts.

It’s not without fault, though. Because there’s no creep function, parking needs a very gentle touch on the throttle. And tight manoeuvring produces wince-inducing noises from the diff when it’s cold. However, it’s pretty much as easy as any other Nissan to dawdle around town in, if you can live with the stiff ride.

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The brakes, by contrast, are beyond criticism, providing a reassuring ability to shed speed, despite the GT-R’s weight, needing just 40.9m to stop from 70mph. Almost more impressive is the excellent pedal feel and response.