Publication date: 19 October 2016
Nissan GT-R

Nissan GT-R

It's about performance, not presentation

Review - A roller coaster gives the thrill of car racing without having to steer a single metre. There are sports cars that impress with steep price tags and imposing specifications, but don't actually deliver top performance. And then there is the Nissan GT-R, where it is not about presentation but performance. For the 2017 model year, the GT-R performs even better...

The GT-R has a long history, but when Nissan introduced the latest generation, the brand put in an achievement of stature. The GT-R qualifies as a super sports car in terms of performance, but costs no more than an average sports car.

The GT-R owes its success to sophisticated design and clever engineering. Where other sports cars opt for show, Nissan always opts for optimum performance.

Nissan GT-R

Rear-wheel drive provides a lot of thrills, but the GT-R's all-wheel drive allows power to be converted into performance more effectively. An unblown engine builds up to a peak, but the GT-R's turbocharged engine releases its power faster.

And another thing: mechanical systems provide more feeling with the car, but the GT-R's computer-controlled drive works faster than even the best driver. Moreover, the many computers ensure that anyone can drive the GT-R fast

Model year 2017

Still, Nissan saw room for improvement. That starts with the looks. Or rather with the streamline, after all, the GT-R is all about efficiency. For the 2017 model year, the GT-R got a new grille to match Nissan's new family face.

Nissan GT-R

Thanks in part to a new frame around the windscreen, the GT-R became even sturdier without making the car heavier. Thanks to the firmer bodywork, the steering became even tighter. According to Nissan measurements, a slalom could therefore be completed 4% faster than before.

At the same time, cooling and downforce have been improved. This has been achieved with minor changes to the lower bumper, the sills, the C-pillar and even the rings around the rear lights. Therefore, fewer steering corrections are now needed at speeds above 240 km/h. That may seem trivial, but for a car like the GT-R, that's walking pace.


Such speeds are now even easier to achieve, as the power output of the hand-built powerplant increased from 550 to 570 PS. The power increase was achieved through individual control of each cylinder. Previously, the GT-R accelerated from standstill to 100 km/h in a record time of 2.8 seconds. Despite repeated insistence, Nissan does not specify an acceleration time for the revamped GT-R, but it can only have become even faster.

Nissan GT-R

During a "launch control" test, the test car sprinted from 0 to 200 km/h in less than 10 seconds! This is done without a roaring engine, without wheel spin and without any sense of drama. Instead, the 3.8-litre six-cylinder bursts out all at once and everything goes so fast that there is hardly any time to realise what is happening.

Nissan GT-R

Besides: its supremacy does not stop at 200 km/h. Even a 250 km/h limit for safety's sake is something the GT-R ignores. As if its occupants were strapped to an explosive, the GT-R continues to accelerate until 300 km/h comes into view.

As such, the GT-R is not only faster than most of its competitors, but also delivers performance in a very different way. The GT-R is almost unrealistically fast, but is nevertheless far less aggressive or intimidating than other sports cars. No steering corrections are required during full acceleration or hard braking, and the GT-R is not nervous. Driving the GT-R hard is hardly more difficult than driving a fast hatchback, only the speeds are a lot higher.

Nissan GT-R


The same goes for handling. The GT-R is not a sports car where the driver and the mechanics are one. Instead, it is gradually more and more tangible how well the electronics control the car. And the longer the test drive lasts, the more the driver dares to actually put fate in the hands of the computer. Then, and only then, is the GT-R faster than almost all its rivals even on twisty circuits.

The same computer also ensures that the GT-R lends itself well to driving long distances. The suspension has a comfort mode, which means even bad road surfaces are no object. And thanks to active mechanical noise suppression, a good conversation can be had in peace and quiet even at very high speeds. Then driving the GT-R is hardly more strenuous than driving, say, a Nissan Qashqai.

Nissan GT-R
Nissan GT-R


Part of the facelift for the 2017 model year includes a completely new dashboard and a so-called "Prestige" trim. In doing so, the interior is luxuriously finished with chic materials. The new audio, communication and navigation system is also a real asset, despite the mediocre sound of the Bose audio system (after some fine-tuning, the sound is acceptable).

However, one thing is still missing: head-up display. And that's a shame, because with the revamped GT-R, things are going so fast that there is often no time at all to look at clocks behind the steering wheel.


For the 2017 model year, Nissan has further strengthened the GT-R's strongest points. As a result, the gap with the competition has widened even more, and that includes completely new cars of more recent date.

With even more power and even better streamlining, the GT-R has not only become faster, but the car is now more stable at high speed. At the same time, the GT-R became more comfortable, more living up to the name "Gran Turismo Racing Technology". Even more than before, the GT-R is not about presentation to the outside world but pure performance for the driver.

  • Absurdly fast
  • Relatively cheap
  • Also lends itself as a comfortable travel car
  • No head-up display
  • Little focus on active safety