Nissan GT-R gets major updates for 2017
Two editions of the new Nissan GT-R will be available later in 2016.
Nissan’s top-level performance car has had the odd tweak here and there since its launch in 2007, nearly ten years ago now. That’s a long, long time in the world of performance cars, even if the GT-R broke new ground for supercar performance on a budget.
Now the GT-R has been updated, and Nissan say that there are “major driving-performance enhancements and key new features” which “represent the most significant changes made to the model since it was introduced in 2007.” Australia will get a Premium Edition, and a Track Edition engineered by the company’s performance arm, NISMO. Both will be at selected Nissan dealers in September 2016. No details of the differences have been provided, nor pricing. We speculate this new version won’t be any cheaper than the current model.
So what’s changed? The styling of course, because every car needs a refresh. But there’s a practical aspect to the exterior changes, as Nissan claim the new look both reduces drag and retains “the same amount of downforce” as the previous model. That might be not increasing upforce rather than an actual creation of downforce, but regardless – aerodynamics have been improved. That should also help fuel economy, although that’s not top of GT-R owners wishlists.
Inside and there’s improvements all round except for one backward step, at least in this writer’s opinion. The paddle shifts now rotate with the wheel, whereas previously they were fixed to the steering column. I wonder if Ferrari, another carmaker who has produced fixed paddles, will now follow suit. Nissan also say the feel of the paddles has been improved, as has their sound. Details matter. The GT-R already has an array of track-ready electronic displays and measuring systems, so we expect those to be improved too although Nissan hasn’t provided any information about such changes.
GT-R engines are famous for being hand-built, and that continues. The motor is still a V6 turbo, with power and torque now up to 419kW / 6800rpm and 632Nm (rpm not stated). Nissan say they have changed the timing of the ignition and fiddled with the turbos to get that improvement. The current model has 404kW and 628Nm, so not a vast improvement but if the torque curve is flatter that would improve performance. Nissan have made no claims about weight loss so we assume the new car is at least as heavy as the previous model – conclusion is that it won’t be appreciably quicker 0-100, although the slight extra power and better aero may lift top speed. Anyway, all of this speculation is rather academic given just how quick the GT-R already is.
The transmission is still just six speeds, but has been “thoroughly refined” for smoother shifts and less noise. Notably, no claims for efficiency or shifting speed.
Noise has been changed. Nissan say “upgraded” but as they have used Active Sound Enhancement (ASE), otherwise known as fake sound, then judgement will be reserved. The new titanium mufflers apparently also contribute to the sound improvement.
Handling has been improved, with Nissan asserting that the GT-R “has always been regarded at one of the world’s best handling machines” which is kind of true in a way – I’d say it is one of the world’s easiest to drive supercars. Anyway, there’s a more rigid body structure and new suspension. Nissan reckon that provides better stability in directional changes and high corner speeds. Tyres are “sticky” and on 20″ forged aluminum wheels, which sounds good for light weight. Notably, there’s nothing about driver involvement. The GT-R always has motoring writers reaching for Playstation comparisons so I won’t go there, but you’d expect the electronics to be even more sophisticated leaving less for the driver to do.
GT-Rs have always been usuable as daily drivers, and Nissan say this new model is “the most comfortable to date” and go on to claim ” new sense of elegance and civility that one would rarely find in such a high-performance supercar” which sounds a bit optimistic given its competition. Nevertheless, improvements have been made in ride quality and soundproofing.
Overall, this sounds like quite a decent upgrade to the GT-R. Not vast amounts more power, but the GT-R was never really hurting for grunt anyway, but a range of overall improvements to what was already a great car even nine years into its life.
Next up – a revised 370Z?
Here’s an image of the 2015 with the 2016 model for comparison.