The Nissan GT-R’s R35 generation first appeared in 2007, and although there have been tweaks in the past, this 2017 model-year version brings the most comprehensive update so far. Some things haven’t changed though, namely that the Nissan GT-R is a combination of brutish power and sophisticated electronics delivering spectacular driving thrills — at an impressive price.
There are discreet but worthwhile changes to the exterior including improved aero and sharper detailing, while inside the fascia has been substantially revised to make it more comfortable and easier to use. Under the skin there are a host of revisions including more power, tweaked suspension and a stiffer body for improved handling.
The basic shape of the GT-R remains broadly unchanged, although there has been subtle changes to the C-pillar to reduce turbulence, which only the keenest of eyes would spot. More obvious changes are made elsewhere, with the front end benefitting from a version of the Nissan family ‘V-grille’ and a re-profiled lower bumper. The same goes for the side skirts and rear valance, which look sharper as well as managing airflow better, and the influence of the hottest Nismo GT-R model is clear to see.
There are some new colours to choose from, too, including a vibrant orange plus a new alloy wheel design, all of which add a dose of freshness. It is still unmistakably a GT-R and not a million miles from the previous generation but this is the best-looking R35 to date.
More urgent changes were required in the cabin, and the 2017 GT-R is all the better for a new dashboard layout. There’s a new display screen sitting up top while the climate controls have been grouped in their own space just below, as well as more sensibly placed air vents. There’s a new steering wheel too, which carries audio and cruise control buttons more appropriately.
Nissan also claims improved materials, and there’s no doubt that the leather trim is of a better quality. The design is sensible and plain rather than eye-catching, but it works well and is easier to use. The bucket seats on the standard model are a little narrow across the back, but the Recaro model brings with it a pair of seats that are far superior in comfort and support.
From the driver’s seat you might not notice this increase, but just that the GT-R is a ferociously fast machine.
The 2017 GT-R has an additional 20bhp compared to the outgoing model as well as a slight increase in torque, although more crucially maximum torque is available across more of the rev band. From the driver’s seat you might not notice this increase, but just that the GT-R is a ferociously fast machine. With drive distributed between all four wheels depending on the grip available and the fast-shifting dual-clutch transmission, acceleration is always available and relentless.
Changes to the suspension and body are subtle, too, but the upshot is that the 2017 GT-R feels more stable and responsive, and as a result is even easier to hustle along challenging roads. It’s the combination of the steering accuracy, the unflappable suspension (providing you’ve selected the right setting for the road)plus the sheer balance and stability that makes it not only hugely capable but also a joy to exploit on the open road.
Our time with the car included many laps of Spa-Francorchamps, one of the most thrilling and challenging tracks anywhere in the world and the GT-R mastered it in style. It’s perhaps heavier and more comfortable than a typical track car but it stood up to the extreme speeds and abuse as well as doing what it does best; flattering the driver without feeling artificial.
Changes to the suspension and body are subtle too, but the upshot is that the 2017 GT-R feels more stable and responsive...
The improvements to the 2017 version are enough to warrant current GT-R owners a return visit. It might be more of a GT than ever but in truth the GT-R has the performance to qualify as a supercar, getting close to a 200mph (322kph) top speed and a sub three-second 0-100kph time. It’s not the youngest kid on the block but it’s still a special car to drive, and now more easy to live with.