2017 Nissan GT-R Review: Kinder, gentler annihilation of the speed limit
– Montreal, Quebec
The 2017 Nissan GT-R has been refreshed in an attempt to tame the beast while simultaneously sharpening its talons. With more power on offer for the current model year, the GT-R feels faster and has the numbers to back up that butt-dyno impression. It's also much more liveable on a daily basis thanks to an improved cabin that prizes comfort and ergonomics on a level past iterations simply weren't capable of reaching.
The Nissan GT-R might be one of the quickest cars off the line at any price, but it's also surprisingly easy to control regardless of how aggressively you might be lapping, thanks to its advanced all-wheel drive system and well-engineered driver's aides. Few supercars are as accessible as the GT-R in terms of either performance or price, and despite its advancing age the Nissan coupe's platform still shows well when battling rivals that eclipse its sticker by six figures or more.
- A 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 carries over in the Nissan GT-R, but it gains a little NISMO magic to bump its output to 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque - which still leaves breathing room between it and the 600-hp pure NISMO model. At full throttle, the turbochargers sound absolutely amazing as they crush as much air as possible into the engine's intake.
- The 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission remains standard, and it still executes each gear swap in a lightning-quick 0.15 seconds, but for the most part its past intransigence has been smoothed out. You'll really only notice a clunk or two when the GT-R is operating in cold temperatures, and even that goes away once the car has warmed up.
- The Nissan's all-wheel drive system is what makes its sub-three second sprint to 100 km/h possible, and unlike some sports cars accessing launch control is fairly easy to achieve in the GT-R. Just set up the dashboard switches to the right settings (traction control set to 'R,' same for transmission), push the brake down hard and floor the gas. You'll have a few seconds to release the left pedal and then hold on for dear life as the GT-R tears a hole in both the air and the asphalt.
- Interior updates include nicer leather and materials overall throughout the cabin, plus a reorganized center stack that reduces button load while improving infotainment options. Active noise cancellation also keeps things relatively quiet, until you hammer the go-pedal, of course. On the outside, you'll notice a wider grille, sleeker body kit, and smoother rear fascia separating the current car from past models. It's a slick series of aesthetic improvements to the Nissan GT-R that maintain its iconic shape while ever so slightly modernizing its appeal.
- It's too damn easy to drive the Nissan GT-R way, way too fast. Traveling at 160 km/h feels as sedate as when motoring along at half that velocity, and while it might seem unusual to complain about how stable the GT-R is at all speeds, you'll really have to keep your wits about you on the highway - or simply use cruise control at all times - to keep from losing your license by the end of your first week of ownership.
- Is a 6-speed autobox a bit of a relic on the current supercar landscape? Definitely. Nissan was one of the first to bring dual-clutch technology to the high horsepower scene, but with seven, eight, and nine forward gears increasingly available the GT-R feels a bit left behind.
- The Nissan GT-R is a heavy car, checking in at just over 1,800 kilograms. It certainly masks its size and heft well from behind the wheel, but on a track consumables like tires and brakes will take a beating. Don’t expect to pirouette through the corners in the GT-R, as it's computerized algorithms are more slam-dance than Stravinsky - although not necessarily any less fun, and certainly no slower around any given road course.