What is it?
Right, now pay attention for the Nissan GT-R Nismo, because this is where it gets complicated. The Nissan GT-R – this one is the R35 generation – has been around since 2007. Which, yes, means that people are starting to ask Nissan for an all-new one, but Nissan hasn’t finished with this version yet.
Nissan introduces upgrades to the GT-R most years, but for 2017 the regular version received its biggest alterations so far: a power increase, a new interior layout (the most notable change) and aerodynamic upgrades inspired by the existing GT-R Nismo, the range-topping special racy version. There were enhancements to the chassis stiffness, too. The Nismo variant already had a stiffer chassis, but that stiffness was achieved by a different method to the standard car’s increase. Following? Good.
Now the complicated bit, because the Nismo variant has also received some modifications for 2017. But instead of things that featured on the Nismo filtering down to the rest of the GT-R range, here things are filtering back up. The Nismo gets the same interior changes as the regular GT-R, meaning that the button count on the dashboard is down from 27 to 11. That’s a good thing, and with it comes a separate rotary controller for the 8.0in touchscreen, which is otherwise a bit fiddly to use at speed.
Those aerodynamic changes that filtered from the Nismo to the standard GT-R – most noticeable around the wedgy rear end – remain but have been tweaked a little more. The standard GT-R’s new, broader grille has been introduced, although this is more for aesthetics than because of an increase in cooling requirements. But there are a few other exterior aero tweaks around the front end, to increase downforce while not adding any more drag.
Finally, although the standard GT-R shell is stiffer, the Nismo is still the recipient of extra chassis stiffening enhanhcements of its own. The increase in torsional rigidity means the springs, dampers and anti-roll bars have all been tweaked, all by unspecified amounts but none a great deal, to alter the handling balance. The aim wasn’t only to add pure speed but to increase the feel of agility and make the Nismo a bit more playful near is limit. When it comes down to actual increases in cornering ability and ‘slalom times’, Nissan claims a modest 2% improvement.