'Godzilla' has never been a dainty creature, but the newly angular nose and tail and fresh Y-spoke 20in Rays alloys bring yet more aggression to its brutish form. Slip inside, though, and you'll see a new layer of luxury has smothered the functional but ordinary, button-heavy cabin of the outgoing model. There's lots of decent-quality Nappa leather, and with the help of a new rotary dial behind the gear shifter, the infotainment button count has been slashed from 27 to 11. The dial usefully supplements the new touchscreen (an inch larger at 8.0in), although navigating the menus can be slow and unintuitive, while the sat-nav graphics are a bit basic and hesitant.
Our top-spec 'Prestige' test car is differentiated from the cheaper Pure (£79,995) and Recaro (£81,995) trims by upholstery alone. Its reprofiled front seats are soft-surfaced, comfy, supportive and electrically adjustable to your heart's content, while the steering wheel’s manual reach and rake manipulation is effective, if fiddly. The shift paddles are now helpfully attached to the steering wheel, instead of to the column.
A new neighbourly function claims to hush start-up exhaust clamour by 10dB, although we struggled to notice. Hard to miss, however, are the GT-R's newly improved and very welcome low-speed manners. There's still a little gear-gnashing and differential fizz when manoeuvring, but less than there once was, and throttle modulation and upshift smoothness among the bottom two of the dual-clutch automatic transmission's six ratios are no longer sore points. The steering is usefully lighter in town, too, albeit subject to a little stiction.
Likewise, motorway miles are now very bearable – you might even say comfortable. Improved sound deadening complements the noise-cancelling speaker tech introduced on the 2014 model, with road noise only an issue on coarse surfaces, and the drone that remains at about 2500rpm in sixth at 70mph is negligible.
But all this sophistication is for nought if the GT-R doesn't still distort your grasp of time and space, and when allowed to stretch its legs on the road, this 2017 model delivers such mania in spades. We've never decried the GT-R's power band, but the introduction of more boost pressure and the GT-R Nismo's ignition timing system have increased both the magnitude and spread of grunt. The 2017 model offers a relentless surge that fills the space between 2500rpm and the 7000rpm limiter like poured concrete in a mobster's boots. In kickdown, momentary lag is swiftly and smoothly assimilated, and full-bore upshifts are too quick for the powertrain to flinch. Despite 'good' engine and exhaust noise now being amplified through the speakers, the soundtrack doesn't quite match the acceleration, but it's at once silky and forceful.
The softest of the three damper modes is now genuinely supple over all but the crustiest of back roads and still allows super-sharp turn-in and flat cornering at more than ample speeds. Even the suspension's middle setting is largely tenable, though you'll rarely need it on the road, and the steering's weight and feedback are nicely configured.
A stint on track at Thruxton – whose fast, sweeping bends suit the GT-R – allowed the car's monumental lateral grip to be explored more thoroughly, revealing depths of communication and engagement that belie its more point-and-shoot on-road character. The feelsome brakes also did their work efficiently, even when adjusting corner approach angles.
Another series of laps in the 21kg-lighter 2017 GT-R Track Edition – which costs £10,000 more than the Recaro model and gets forged Rays that widen the front track, a carbonfibre rear spoiler, stiffer bodywork and Nismo-honed suspension – revealed a nimbler, keener, even more confidence-inspiring iteration that yields yet another dimension to the GT-R experience.