Meet the new 2017 Nissan GT-R—or rather, the thoroughly updated version of the Japanese supercar king after a facelift, a few trips to the gym and a new interior designer
The Godzilla of speed occupies a fun slot in the racecar world as the affordable track and street champion against all comers, even though it’s now starts above $100,000 and can soar past $150,000 with options. While Nissan has a long racing history and runs in several series around the world, the GT-R’s niche seems increasingly removed from the rest of the firm’s business in mass-market SUVs, cars and pickups.
If anything, the redesign maintains the minimalist style that has graced the current generation of GT-R since its launch in 2007, adding the corporate V-shaped grille but otherwise maintaining the car’s profile. Those changes wrap around the car to include a new hood, fenders, tail lamps and bumpers that update the look without removing the menace that provides its street presence.
Under the hood, the traditional 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 gets a 20-hp bump to 565 hp and 467 lb-ft of torque. It soldiers on with a six-speed paddle-shifted dual-clutch manual, but the paddles have been moved onto a new steering wheel for easier, faster action. The chassis has been stiffened and suspension reworked as well.
If previous GT-Rs had a weak spot, it was the interior, the part of the car the Nissan race engineers would always choose to skimp on if it meant more money for the engine and chassis. That works for budget supercars, but not six-figure ones, and the new GT-R gets a grown-up interior with leather dash and more comfortable seating. Part of getting passengers more comfortable means blocking more road noise with padding, active noise cancellation and acoustic glass—and that’s led Nissan to also add the Active Sound Enhancement (aka, fake engine noise through the speakers). Why automakers block sounds from the cabin, then add them back in remains one of life’s great mysteries.
With the next generation GT-R due in a couple of years—along with a supposed move even further upscale to Ferrari-killing territory—this is likely the last hurrah for the ancient current GT-R layout. Given how it dominates tuner meets and tracks worldwide, Godzilla still has some life left.