2017 Nissan GT-R first drive review Page 2


A little more race car as well

If GT-R stands for Grand Touring-Race, it's obvious that Nissan concentrated on the GT portion this time around, but it also added a little R. A new design for the A-pillars strengthens the front end and a revised trunk structure stiffens the rear. More importantly, the front and rear are now closer in bending stiffness, giving the car a more uniform, balanced structure.

Changes to the body improve cooling and aerodynamics. The new Nissan V-Motion grille lets in more air without creating additional drag, a stronger hood is less prone to deforming at speed, revised side sills reduce lift by channeling air around the body instead of under it, and the rear bumper takes on the shape used by the 2015 Nismo model for better airflow.

Under the sturdier hood lies the same VR38DETT V-6 engine as before. It’s a 3.8-liter V-6 force fed as much air as it can handle by a pair of turbochargers. This year additional boost pressure and an ignition timing system that controls timing at each cylinder (also from the outgoing Nismo model) add 20 horsepower and four pound-feet of torque. That brings the totals to 565 hp at 6,800 rpm and 467 lb-ft from 3,300 to 5,800 rpm, and Nissan says mid-range response (over 3,200 rpm) is improved.

This all enhances a car that already had some impressive hardware. The front-mounted 3.8 sends its power to a rear transaxle that, in turn, funnels it through Nissan’s sophisticated ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system to all four wheels. ATTESA defaults to a 0/100 front/rear torque split, but it can send up to 50 percent of the grunt to the front when needed.

2017 Nissan GT-R, Spa, Belgium 2016

2017 Nissan GT-R, Spa, Belgium 2016

Enlarge Photo
2017 Nissan GT-R, Spa, Belgium 2016

2017 Nissan GT-R, Spa, Belgium 2016

Enlarge Photo
2017 Nissan GT-R, Spa, Belgium 2016

2017 Nissan GT-R, Spa, Belgium 2016

Enlarge Photo

Road warrior and track beast

Together, all these changes make the GT-R a much more livable supercar. The cabin is a reasonably comfortable place to spend your commute. For the most part, the materials are Infiniti quality, including the leather and the carbon fiber center console, though the Display Commander dial and some of the buttons are made of light plastics that show this car is still a Nissan at heart. The Display Commander dial is also offset toward the driver, so much so that I accidentally brushed it with my right arm on occasion, triggering random functions.

Ride quality is certainly firm, but it doesn’t try to beat you up. On the road, I tended to stick with the available Comfort setting, which maintained the car's crisp handling while helping the GT-R smooth out minor bumps, though it couldn’t calm the ride on European cobblestone.

The revised steering delivers stable, comfortable cruising on the highway, but the wide tires (255/40R20s up front, 285/35R20s out back) can occasionally follow seams in the road, and fans of the race-car-quick steering of the past may be disappointed by the less responsive, but still sharp steering.

The 3.8-liter V-6 starts with a whir and hiss then resolves into a low rumble and a hint of turbocharger whine. The sound doesn’t delight like a growling V-8 or a high-strung V-12, but also doesn’t intrude on conversation. There are no clicks and lashing sounds from under the hood, and rear tire noise is nicely filtered.


 
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