The rapid and unrelenting pace of technological advances has pushed man’s inexorable quest for speed into new, as yet unexplored realms. Evolve or be left behind, that’s the survival-of-the-fittest scenario that faces the world’s great motoring names. This reality means that the vast majority of our best loved supercars are ephemeral beings. They are the dragonflies of the road, condemned to a brief three or four year lifespan during which they dazzle and dominate in equal measure before quietly fading away, outmoded and outgunned by the latest whiz-kid on the block.
That’s not to say that a very select band of supercars have somehow managed to buck the trend, retaining essentially the very same underpinnings even in the face of the constantly advancing tide of technology. One such example is the beast from the east, perhaps Japan’s only true contribution to the ranks of the supercar elite; the Nissan GT-R.
Famously good value and frighteningly good fun, there’s a lot more to the GT-R than its ‘Need for Speed’ action hero persona. The basic package first released way back in 2007 has remained essentially unaltered ever since. That’s a quite remarkable achievement considering GT-R’s enduring popularity and, more importantly, its competitiveness in the face of comparatively more modern opposition. Now, at the 2016 New York Auto Show, ‘Godzilla’ gets a comprehensive overhaul in what is the model’s most significant refresh since its introduction nine years ago.
The facelifted 2017 GT-R is far from a wild departure from previous incarnations in the styling department. That said, its front end is discernibly different and sports a new, wider ‘V-motion’ chrome grille. This affords both better engine cooling and shows off one of Nissan’s latest design signatures.
Above the grille, a newly reinforced bonnet stretches out with intent towards the cabin whilst beneath you’ll spy the freshly-designed front spoiler lip and aggressive front bumpers that help lend the GT-R its hallmark thoroughbred race car persona.
Along its sharp profile, the refreshed GT-R retains much of the characteristics that have defined it for the past nine years, in its varying guises. Air flow is enhanced thanks to a pair of more protruding side sills and moving to the back, the belt line that separates the lower black section from the rest of the body has been slightly raised. Otherwise, classic GT-R trademarks such as the four-ring rear lights, side air vents and quad exhaust pipes all make a welcome return. There’s also a new set of boots for the new-look GT-R, which wares a set of 20 inch tyres wrapped around new Y-spoke forged aluminium wheels. A striking new ‘Katsura Orange’ is the latest addition to the GT-R’s notoriously load range of body colours.
Naturally, the average Nissan GT-R customer isn’t solely interested in getting their hands on a work of art. 562bhp of twin-turbocharged V6 grunt says otherwise. That’s exactly what you’ll get out of the 3.8litre power unit at the heart of the GT-R, which also musters a hefty 470lb/ft of torque. The existing 6-speed dual-clutch paddle shift gearbox has been tweaked for smoother shifts and less noise.
Somewhat deserving of its reputation as a rowdy rabble rouser, the GT-R does possess an undeniably cracking soundtrack. Quite rightly, the roar of the V6 remains as boisterous as ever, thanks to the resonating new titanium exhaust system and Nissan’s Active Sound Enhancement.
Still, the Japanese brand claims the facelifted 2017 model boasts a quieter and generally more comfortable ride due to added sound deadening and a revised suspension that reduces body roll in the corners. More road-friendly it may be, but that’s not to say the 2017 GT-R will lose any of its bite on the track.
The makeover continues inside the facelifted GT-R’s cockpit where the entire dashboard and instrument panel have been replaced. A significant change sees the paddle shifters now mounted upon the sports steering wheel, eliminating the need for the driver’s hand to stray from the wheel at high speeds. High quality leather adorns the centre console, dash and seats whilst the number of knobs and switches commanding the integrated navigation and audio system has been drastically slashed for practicality’s sake. An enlarged 8-inch touchscreen monitor, designed as ever by the team behind Playstation’s Gran Turismo racing series, features large icons and helps provide that arcade-like racing experience synonymous with the GT-R.
The 2017 Nissan GT-R debuts this week at the New York Auto Show and should land in UK showrooms sometime this autumn.