END OF TERM Nissan GT-R The latest GT-R is more useable than ever, claims Nissan. So did that claim turn out to be true? And does it make for a better car overall?
In the end I spent 99 days with the #2017-model-year
Nissan GT-R. And in the end I loved it to bits. That verdict was far from a foregone conclusion, however. The whole reason for running this latest GT-R – albeit for a less-than-ideal three months only – was to see if Nissan had softened the car sufficiently to make it liveable with seven days a week. That was always going to be the key question that needed answering. And the simple fact is, it has.
If there’s so much as a single millilitre of petrol in your veins then you could easily put up with the GT-R’s firm but no longer ridiculous ride quality. Same goes for its much improved transmission, its much reduced tyre noise, its more soothing engine refinement and its slightly less manic steering. In all these areas Nissan has, without question, improved the GT-R and made it more useable as an everyday car in the process.
But there was a second key question, namely: if Nissan really had polished away the GT-R’s rough edges to a point where you can live with this car daily, then how might that affect its core ability to make your heart explode when the right road appears in the windscreen? Because this is ultimately what the Nissan GT-R has always been all about. No other car, with the exception of a few of the most hardcore Porsches and the Ferrari F40, has ever been able to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention like a GT-R does when you give it the beans over a deserted mountain road. So if this aspect of it went missing, I’m not sure the thing would deserve to wear its badge any longer.
But I’m glad to say that the madness is still very much intact. You need to press a few buttons to unleash it, true, but on the right road and ideally when there’s no one else around to witness it, the nutcase that has always been at the centre of the Nissan GT-R is still very much in situ. If anything, in fact, it is more unhinged than ever before because the suspension is that little bit softer nowadays, I that little bit more in tune with the average UK B-road, which means you don’t get airborne quite so often as you once did, which basically means you can generate, and carry, even more speed. Everywhere.
It’s not perfect, though. During my time with #OY66-UOP
I became increasingly irritated by a piece of plastic trim near the steering wheel that would fizz randomly to a point where it began to bore a hole into the middle of my brain on some journeys. The car’s packaging is also ridiculous in terms of the amount of road space it occupies relative to the amount of interior space it fails to offer. And the combination of its silly fuel consumption (22mpg sometimes, more like 17-18mpg most of the time) allied to a 74-litre tank meant its real-world touring range was always an issue.
But you put up with these things in a GT-R because the payback, when it arrives, is immense. And now that they’ve smoothed away most of the rough edges – none of which added to the purity of the driving experience; they were just flaws, pure and simple – the Nissan GT-R has become a more complete car. And a more desirable one as a result.
To a point where I genuinely can’t think of another vehicle that offers more raw ability for less, even if its weight and packaging are a bit dubious. Bottom line: I know 82 grand (basic) sounds like an insane amount of money for a Nissan, but this ain’t no ordinary Nissan. It’s a GT-R first, and a Nissan second; always has been. And for the 2017 model year version the GT-R happens to be in better shape than at any point in its near 50-year history. Which, as you’ll know, is saying something.
Date acquired July 2017
Duration of test 3 months
Total test mileage 3622
Overall mpg 19.0
Purchase price £83,745
Value today £72,500
‘The nutcase that has always been at the centre of the GT-R is still very much in situ. If anything, it is more unhinged than ever’