It’s a fact that the Nissan GT-R is one of the fastest point-to-point cars on the planet. It’s also a fact that Nissan’s constant fiddling with it means that despite its many virtues, it comes across as something of a work in progress. And this is its latest handiwork, the Track Pack edition — a lighter, hard-core version of the fourth iteration of the GT-R. Let’s start with some refreshing numbers. The horsepower remains unchanged at 543bhp, but the 0-100kph time is now shaved to 2.7 seconds, which is the same as a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport. However, it is the GT-R’s ability to decimate corners at a brain-scrambling pace that gets a boost. The engineers have binned the rear seats and tinkered here and there to reduce the weight by 15 kilograms. That, in context, isn’t a great big wallop, considering that Porsche managed to save 25kg on the engine alone in the new GT3 — the car this GT-R is gunning for. That said, the Track Pack edition does feel sharper in its responses, not that you’d describe the standard car as ponderous, anyway. The reason for the pointier performance is partly because of lighter Rays alloys lifted from the horrendously expensive and now rightly extinct Spec-V, which cut unsprung weight to improve cornering.
On the surface, it is not startlingly different from the regular car either. There are two discreet carbon-fibre ducts in the front spoiler that channel cold air to the brake discs, reducing their operating temperatures on a track and thereby improving efficacy, while out back you can specify the optional fixed carbon spoiler and titanium mufflers.
Unsurprisingly, since the standard GT-R is already a massive feat of engineering, the under-the-skin tweaks are relatively minor here. The drivetrain is identical to the 2013 MY car, but the Track Pack edition gets a suspension set-up honed at the Nürburgring — a nod to Nissan’s near fanatical obsession with ’Ring times. While this may seemingly not bode well for people with brittle bones, the ride quality is actually not unpleasant at all. In fact, it is pretty decent for a car that can apparently lap the legendary Green Hell in a staggering 7 minutes 19 seconds. The 991 Porsche GT3, for reference, does it in 7 minutes 30 seconds. It’s a lot faster, then.
Inside, it’s business as usual. The plastics are hard and depressingly cheap for something that costs Dh509,000. The seats are draped in a special stickier cocktail of leather and fabric that stops you from sloshing about while cornering, and there’s a gaping nothingness where the rear seats once lived.
The cabin is a lot noisier too and you couldn’t realistically drive the Track Pack GT-R for a long distance without having to resort to sign language to communicate with your passenger. But perhaps you shouldn’t be taking a passenger with you in the first place, because you’d undo all the work the boffins at Nissan have done to cut mass.
On the upside, the pace is undeniably ballistic and the acceleration will leave you wide-eyed, but frankly, the performance difference between the standard GT-R and the Track Pack edition is minute. Although astonishingly still perceptible. But there’s a problem.
While the Track Pack GT-R is the apex predator in Nissan’s line-up at the moment, rumours of a super GT-R are flying in thick and fast. The purported Nismo GT-R is expected to nail the benchmark 0-100kph run in 2.0 seconds flat and lap the ’Ring in just over seven minutes. Those are ridiculous dynamic targets for a road car.
So even though the Track Pack GT-R is the quickest of the lot until, inevitably, the new version comes along, it is by no stretch Dh70,000 better than the standard car. It is mighty quick, but it doesn’t make as much sense on the road, where, unfortunately it’ll spend most of its life.
But zero to 100kph in two seconds? That’s from now to about now. Jeez, somebody get some Prozac over to the boys at Nissan’s Yokohama HQ, quick.