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Golden Godzilla: 50 years of the Nissan GT-R

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

The iconic Nissan Skyline GT-R is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, but the story doesn’t begin with the ‘Hakosuka’ of 1969. Instead, the Skyline GT-R can trace its roots back to a saloon car of the 1950s, before the family tree branches off with the launch of the Nissan GT-R in 2007, culminating most recently in the Italdesign GT-R50. Here, we take a brief look at the history of one of Japan’s most exhilarating performance cars.

1957 Prince Skyline

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It’s hard to believe that the current Nissan GT-R is a direct descendant of the 1957 Prince Skyline. The Prince Motor Company had roots in the aircraft and electric car industries and was named in honour of Prince Michinomiya Hirohito. At the helm was the late Dr Shinichiro Sakurai, a man responsible for Skyline products up to and including the R30. He understood the importance of racing when influencing car design, but the Skyline of 1957 showed little in the way of sporting intent. The styling was influenced by American cars of the time, while power was sourced from a four-cylinder engine first seen in the Subaru 1500.

Prince Skyline GT

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The first racing version was the Skyline Sport of 1962. Still powered by a four-cylinder engine, the Prince Skyline Sport competed in the inaugural Japanese Grand Prix of 1963 at Suzuka, where it finished seventh in the Sports Car class. A year later, the Prince Motor Company unveiled the Skyline GT, a car designed to stop the European cars from dominating the Japanese Grand Prix. The wheelbase of the Skyline 1500 was extended by 200mm to house a six-cylinder engine, with racing enhancements comprising triple Weber carburettors, a five-speed gearbox and a non-slip differential. The Porsche 904 won the race, but the Skyline GT filled all positions from second to sixth. A road-going version followed – the GT-R seed was sown.

Prince R380

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Dr Sakurai wasn’t going to take the defeat lying down. The stunning Prince R380 was designed with a single-minded objective: to beat Porsche. Completed in 1965, the R380 was Japan’s first mid-engined car, with a platform and chassis design influenced by the Brabham BT8. It used the rear lights from the road-going Skyline, but the primary feature was the 2.0-litre six-cylinder GR8 engine – the genesis of the Skyline GT-R. Car number 11 driven by Yoshikazu Sunakothat won the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix at the first attempt – the last race before Prince merged with Nissan. Prince also finished second and fourth – the Porsche 906 was vanquished.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R

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Three years later, a star was born. The first GT-R had been in development for a number of years and was based on the 1968 2000GT. It might have looked like a humble four-door saloon, but power was sourced from a modified GR8 racing engine, complete with triple twin-choke Solex carburettors, an electronic ignition, a limited-slip differential and a five-speed gearbox. At a time when four-speed ’boxes were considered advanced, the GT-R pushed the envelope of performance design. This was one of the fastest production cars in Japan, with a top speed of 124mph. Just 832 four-door 2000GT-Rs were built.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R

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The 2000GT-R (PGC10) made a winning start to its racing career, finishing first at the 1969 JAF Grand Prix at Fuji, before securing a string of 49 consecutive victories. In 1972, the Skyline 2000GT-R secured its 50th race win, with K. Takahashi taking the chequered flag on a drenched Fuji circuit. But with competition from Toyota and Mazda, the GT-R was less competitive in 1972 and 1973, but still managed to win a total of 58 races overall, including that magnificent 49-race dominance.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R

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A two-door version (KPGC10) was unveiled in October 1970 before going on sale in March 1971. A total of 1,197 two-door Skyline 2000GT-Rs were built, making it more common than its four-door sibling. That said, the ‘Hakosuka’ is a rare beast, as many cars were lost during racing. Loosely, ‘Hakosuka’ is Japanese for ‘boxy Skyline’.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R Racing Concept

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The Skyline 2000GT-R Racing Concept was exhibited at the 1972 Tokyo Motor Show, with its number chosen to represent participation in races in the 1973 season. However, Nissan pulled the plug on its work team, with the technical team tasked with developing anti-pollution technology and increased fuel efficiency.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R ‘Phantom’

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Although Nissan’s racing days were temporarily on the back-burner, a second-generation Skyline GT-R was unveiled in 1973. In common with many new-generation cars of the era, the KPGC110 was bigger and heavier than its predecessor, but the engine remained the same, meaning it was also slower. The styling was more American muscle car than Japanese family saloon, but it did usher in one of the Skyline GT-R’s signature details: four round rear lights. Fewer than 200 GT-R coupes were built – all of which were sold in Japan – with production lasting just six months.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32

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The GT-R name sat dormant for the rest of the 1970s and most of the 1980s, but in 1985, Naganori Ito succeeded Dr Shinichiro Sakurai and was given the task of developing a new range of Nissan sports cars. Work started on the top-secret Project GT-X in 1986, with Nissan launching a succession of production cars based on the Skyline R32, including a true icon – the GT-R. Alongside the Porsche 959, it pushed the boundaries of performance car development and was the first all-wheel-drive GT-R. Few cars have moved the game on to such a great extent.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 Calsonic

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The Skyline GT-R R32 made its competition debut at the opening race of the All Japan Touring Car Championship in 1990, with the Calsonic car driven by K. Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki securing victory in the 300km race. It went on to win all 29 races of the four series held from 1990 to 1993, and three consecutive Group A championships in Australia, with the local media nicknaming the GT-R ‘Godzilla’.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R32

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Quite literally, the R32 changed motorsport. Such was the GT-R’s dominance – it won back-to-back Bathurst 1000 races in 1991 and 1992 – the Australian Touring Car Championship’s governing body banned all-wheel-drive and turbocharging, killing Godzilla in its tracks. But no matter, because the R32 GT-R had already cemented itself as performance car royalty, helped in no small part by its appearance in the Gran Turismo video game franchise.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R33

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Today, Nurburgring lap records are two-a-penny, but the R33 Skyline GT-R sent shockwaves through the performance car world when it became the first production car to lap the ‘Green Hell’ in less than eight minutes. The 2.6-litre straight-six engine was carried over from the R32, with output restricted to 280hp as part of a Japanese gentleman’s agreement. A few engine tweaks meant that the R33 was a tad quicker to 62mph, but many people chose to take advantage of the RB26 engine’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for tuning. This was the first Skyline GT-R to be officially imported in the UK and the lineage with the current GT-R is clear to see.

Nismo Skyline GT-R LM

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Needless to say, the R33 Skyline GT-R proved to be an effective racing car. In 1995, a Nismo Skyline GT-R LM completed 271 laps at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing 10th – a remarkable achievement considering the strength of the opposition. The race was won by a McLaren F1 GTR, but other competitors included the Porsche 911 GT2, Ferrari F40 LM and Callaway Corvette. To mark the occasion, Nissan produced a limited edition Nismo version, with an extreme 400R following in 1997.

Nissan Skyline GT-R LM road car

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This will be familiar to fans of Gran Turismo – it’s the one-off R33 LM road car. It was built to satisfy homologation rules, which allowed Nissan to go racing at the 1995 Le Mans. Beneath the bonnet lies a detuned version of the race-going 2.6-litre straight-six, while the arches are a full 50mm wider than the standard car. Amazingly, this thing was actually registered in the UK.

Nissan Skyline GT-R LM

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Nissan and Nismo launched the ‘3-Year Project: Challenge to Le Mans’ in 1995, but the programme ended in 1996 when living with the Porsche 911 GT1 was proving to be an impossible dream. Car number 23 finished 15th overall and fifth in class, with the engine output increased to 2.8-litre to deliver in excess of 600hp.

Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec R33

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V-Spec first appeared on the R32 Skyline GT-R of 1993, a high-performance variant with standard equipment including Brembo brakes and 17-inch BBS alloy wheels. A V-Spec version of the R33 was available from launch and featured uprated suspension and an active limited-slip differential. In 1997, Skyline specialist Middlehurst Nissan built 100 modified V-Spec cars, with changes including a 180mph speedometer, UK-spec bumpers and mechanical upgrades.

Pennzoil Nismo Skyline GT-R

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In 1998, this Pennzoil Nismo Skyline GT-R competed in the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, picking up two race wins on its way to the GT500 title. The engine was upgraded from 2.6 litres to 2.8 litres to deliver a maximum output of 500hp.

Nissan GT-R Autech Version 40th Anniversary

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When tuning house Autech decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Skyline GT-R in 1998, there was only one thing to do – build a four-door version. This paid homage to the ‘Hakosuka’, and there had been plenty of four-door variants of the common or garden Skyline models. It is, perhaps, the greatest Q-car GT-R since the 1969 original. The final Skyline GT-R was built in November 1998, but we wouldn’t have long to wait for the next-generation model.

Nissan Skyline GT-R R34

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If you’d somehow managed to miss the hype surrounding the Skyline GT-R, there was no escaping the R34 of 1999. Thanks to Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), the Skyline GT-R was thrust into the mainstream when it appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious. But the R34 was more than just a movie prop – this was one of the most technically advanced cars on the planet, featuring a trick four-wheel-drive system and four-wheel-steering.

Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec R34

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As is normal for the Skyline GT-R, it wasn’t long before tuning houses were creating monsters out of the R34, with Nissan creating some in-house specials of its own. Various flavours of V-Spec (pictured) were available, along with a range of Nismo editions. In 2004, Nissan launched the GT-R Nismo Z-Tune. Conceived to win a ‘tuner battle’, Nismo built 20 road-going versions, each one with more power and a host of mechanical upgrades.

Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nur

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There are far too many Skyline GT-R special editions to mention, but the M-Spec Nur is worthy of inclusion. ‘M’ stood for Mizuno, Nissan’s chief engineer, with ‘Nur’ derived from the Nurburgring, where the R34 was developed. Just 250 were built as the R34 bowed out, taking the Skyline GT-R name with it. But that’s not to say the GT-R badge was dead.

Nissan GT-R Concept

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Looks familiar, doesn’t it? Although the current Nissan GT-R as we know it today was still six years away, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s a pretty good preview of the production model. At least it would have been if it had an engine. Instead, Nissan said that it previewed the look of a 21st century GT-R, albeit without the Skyline name. You could even drive it – just as long as you had a copy of Gran Turismo 4. A further concept was launched before the production version made its debut in 2007.

Nissan Skyline GT-R Z-Tune

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

The unofficial reboot of the R34 came out in 2005 courtesy of Nismo. Just 20 Z-Tunes exist, built up from low-mileage R34s. Updates include swathes of carbon fibre bodywork borrowed from the GT500 racer, a 500hp upgrade for the hand-assembled RB 2.8-litre straight-six – also race-influenced – and upgraded stability control systems. Chassis #001 commanded a £400,000 hammer price four years ago. Needless to say, this is the ultimate R34 variant.

Nissan GT-R

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

In truth, the Skyline GT-R story ends here, because Nissan chose to ditch the Skyline name. But the R35 GT-R didn’t just move the game on, it re-wrote the rulebook. With the Japanese gentleman’s agreement limiting the horsepower consigned to the history books, Nissan was free to unleash fury. The £60,000 supercar-tamer featured a 485hp 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine – more than double that of its predecessor.

Nissan GT-R Nismo

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

The R35 GT-R has gone through numerous iterations in its 12 years on sale. The Spec-V was the first variant that showed Nissan had every intention of regularly upping the ante. It blasted past 500hp, leading to the current range-topping 600hp GT-R Nismo. If you ask nicely, you can have the latter with the skunkworks ‘N Attack’ package, which helped it blitz the Nurburgring.

Nissan GT-R50

50 years of the Nissan Skyline GT-R

The R35 GT-R has gone on to create its own legend, upsetting the establishment, setting lap records and evolving into one of the most formidable performance cars on the planet. The Prince of the road has turned into the king of the track, with the latest Italdesign GT-R50 celebrating Godzilla’s Golden Jubilee. Happy 50th birthday, GT-R.

The 2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo is more expensive than a Porsche 911 Turbo S

The 2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo is more expensive than a Porsche 911 Turbo S

The 2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo is more expensive than a Porsche 911 Turbo S

Nissan has revealed the latest version of its super-hot GT-R Nismo will cost an incredible £149,995 when it goes on sale next month – making it more expensive than a Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8 Plus, and even a McLaren 570S.

That’s a price hike of £25,000 over the outgoing range-topper, and a mighty £58,000 more than the Nismo-engineered GT-R Track Edition.

The pinnacle of the GT-R range, the Nismo is powered by a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 producing 600hp. The engine uses a pair of high-flow, large diameter turbochargers used in GT3 competition, while power is distributed to all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch paddleshift gearbox.

Performance figures haven’t been confirmed, but with the same powertrain as its predecessor, expect it to hit 62mph in around 2.5 seconds and a 200mph top speed.

Changes to the 2017 Nismo GT-R are minimal. Like the regular model, it gets a new front bumper – made entirely from carbonfibre on the Nismo version.

It also gets a bigger front grille to help cool the engine, while the Nismo’s springs and dampers have been tweaked to increase downforce.

The firm says this results in cornering performance that is almost 2% better than the outgoing model, meaning your £150,000 could buy you the best-handling Nissan ever.

Enhancements inside include a revamped dash, steering wheel and centre armrest all covered in Alcantara. Unique to the GT-R Nismo are leather-covered Recaro carbon bucket seats with red Alcantara inserts.

Order books open on November 1 in the UK.

Nissan GT-R

2017 Nissan GT-R track-test review: Godzilla bites back

Nissan GT-REau Rouge, Raidillon, Les Combes, La Source… The list of Spa-Francorchamps’ corners reads like a motorsport greatest hits. Nestled among the lush green hills of the Ardennes, Spa is widely regarded as one of the best circuits in the world. Legends have been born here, and lives have been lost here. Today, I’ll be driving it flat-out in the new Nissan GT-R.

If the car in these photos doesn’t look entirely ‘new’, that’s because it isn’t. The current (R35) GT-R was launched way back in 2007, but – like smartphone technology or the common cold – it has evolved constantly, with annual updates to keep it competitive.

This 2017 version, known as the ‘MY17’ by GT-R geeks, is the most comprehensive update in the car’s history. And frankly, with rivals like the Audi R8, Mercedes-AMG GT and Porsche 911 Turbo, it needs to be.

We can pore over spec details later, though. Right now, the electronic gates have swung open and, with sweaty palms and 570hp under my right foot, I’m about to unleash the GT-R on an empty racetrack…

Nissan GT-RA relaxing Spa break? Not exactly

Entering the circuit at La Source, I dive downhill and straight into Spa’s most famous corner: Eau Rouge. This tight left-right-left kink bottoms out and then climbs sharply, making the front end of the car go light as I surge forward into the Kemmel Straight.

Along here, the GT-R accelerates relentlessly, its twin-turbo V6 blasting us beyond 150mph before you can say “Les Combes”. Braking hard, you can really feel the car’s 1,752kg weight, but it tracks straight and feels stable. Thank mammoth cast-iron discs (there’s no carbon-ceramic option) and Brembo six-pot calipers.

Turning in, the car feels planted and precise, but I overcook this tricky series of three bends at the first attempt and it bumps uncomfortably over the rumble strips. The rear-biased four-wheel-drive catapults us away again without even a chirrup of wheelspin, but it’s clear the GT-R isn’t averse to understeer (running wide) if you push too hard in slower corners.

As I’ll discover, taking faster bends too quickly has the opposite effect…

Nissan GT-RHolding on for a hero

As Spa’s rollercoaster ribbon of asphalt plunges downwards, I enter the more open corners at Pouhon and Blanchimont. The GT-R is so fast, and throttle response so instant, that it’s easy to carry far too much speed here. And being a reckless amateur, that’s exactly what I do.

As your velocity increases, so the Nissan’s cornering attitude shifts from understeer to tail-twitching oversteer. Being a higher, heavier car than many of its rivals means this transition happens more slowly and predictably. Nonetheless, the slight wriggle from the rear end as we approach Blanchimont at over 100mph is enough to make me wish I’d packed my brave pants.

Of course, even a car with as much traction and grip as the GT-R can be provoked into going sideways if you so wish. But we didn’t come to Spa for showboating. As as racing driver will tell you, smoothness is the key to speed. Well, that and the small matter of 570hp.

Nissan GT-R‘The ultimate performance super-sports car’

Yes, ‘the ultimate performance super-sports car’ is the modest claim Nissan makes for the GT-R. But you know what, they might just have a point.

With 570 hp from its 3.8-litre V6 up 20hp on the MY16 car the GT-R will explode to 62mph in “about 2.7 seconds” (it hasn’t been officially timed yet, apparently) and keep going to 196mph. The standard car last set an official Nurburgring lap time in 2013, a 7min 18sec result making it one of the fastest production cars ever. Unless you enter the rarified world of six-figure supercars, there’s little to match it.

That said, the GT-R isn’t the bargain at once was. When first launched, it was barely more expensive than a BMW M3. But prices have crept up over the past decade, with the cheapest version now starting at £79,995. The ‘engineered by Nismo’ Track Edition will be £91,995, and the forthcoming full-fat GT-R Nismo is likely to be north of £100k.

For that kind of money, Nissan’s flagship needs to offer premium-feel as well as performance. That’s why the biggest changes are inside the car.

Nissan GT-RMore premium, less Playstation

When the R35 was born, Tony Blair was still prime minister and nobody knew what a ‘credit crunch’ was. At the time, its tech-heavy cabin including a media system designed by Polyphony, makers of the Gran Turismo games – was futuristic and impressive.

However all those buttons look dated in the iPad era, so Nissan has fitted a new eight-inch touchscreen that de-clutters the dashboard (a bit). There’s also a rotary controller on the centre console, so you can keep your eyes on the road – rather than on your G-force meter, gearbox oil temperature gauge or real-time braking pressure graph. Yes, this is still a car to delight data nerds.

Whether its upgraded cabin will delight the rest of us is debatable. Nissan has swathed the dashboard in hand-stitched leather and fitted plusher, more comfortable seats (electric Recaros are a £2,000 option). Yet there’s still an awful lot of hard plastic, plus a random scattering of switchgear that will be familiar to anyone who’s driven a Note or Qashqai.  

On the plus side, the GT-R remains quite practical. Its two rear seats are fine for kids – albeit hopelessly cramped for adults – and its deep boot is big enough for a week away.

Nissan GT-RIron fist in a boxing glove

The changes on the outside of the car are less obvious. Only dedicated GT-R spotters – and plenty of such folk exist – are likely to notice the V-shaped front grille and new front bumper with LED daytime running lights.

At the rear, the Ferrari-aping round taillights are still the car’s most distinctive feature, although a closer look reveals a new silver-finished diffuser, plus side air vents next to the titanium-tipped exhaust pipes. You wouldn’t call the GT-R beautiful, but it’s brawny and utterly purposeful.

As we leave Spa through the local town of Francorchamps, it’s time for the acid test. A group of school children is being marched along the pavement by a flustered-looking teacher. The boys at the head of the queue stop suddenly as they point and stare at our rumbling, growling GT-R. The teacher shouts and gesticulates. Our work here is done.

Nissan GT-RGran Turismo for the road

It’s ironic the GT-R found fame through the Gran Turismo racing game, because it’s brilliantly capable GT. And we mean that in the old-fashioned sense: a car that could whisk you to the south of France without breaking sweat.

If anything, the uber-Nissan is even more impressive on the road than on the track. Through the tight turns of Spa, it feels heavier and less agile than some similarly-powerful sports cars. Yet on the road, it’s crushingly competent, with acceleration, braking and cornering abilities so far beyond what you can safely – or legally – achieve that you never want for more.

Unlike many rivals, the GT-R is also very easy to drive. You don’t have to clamber in and out, the seating position is upright, ride comfort is better than you might expect and the control weights won’t scare somebody more used to a Micra. With the six-speed dual-clutch gearbox in auto mode, its a refined and relaxing way to travel. The sheer size of the car is the only potential stumbling-block.

Nissan GT-RGodzilla still has teeth

One comment you’ll occasionally hear about the GT-R is that it lacks character, or that it doesn’t have the soul of a sports car.

I don’t buy that, though. The car the Japanese call ‘Godzilla’ may not be as fast as a Ferrari, or as head-turning as a Lamborghini. Its interior may still look a bit downmarket and its V6 doesn’t sound special enough. But Nissan’s fast and furious flagship has a depth of ability that trancends virtually anything else on sale – especially if you’re just an ‘average’ driver like me.

It takes time to fully appreciate the GT-R’s talents (a track session at Spa helps, admittedly) but it will confound expectations and, ultimately, get under your skin. As I handed the – cheap, plasticky – key back at Dusseldorf airport, all I wanted to do was carry on driving. And what better testimonial is there for ‘the ultimate performance super-sports car’ than that?

Nissan GT-R2017 Nissan GT-R: Early verdict

For:

Gobsmackingly quick

Formidable traction and grip

Practical for a supercar

Cheaper than its rivals

Against:

Interior not worthy of an £80k car

Engine doesn’t sound special enough

2017 Nissan GT-R: Specification

Price: £79,995

Engine: 3.8-litre V6 twin turbo

Gearbox: six-speed semi-automatic

Power: 570hp

Torque: 470lb ft

0-62mph: 2.7 seconds (est.)

Top speed: 196mph

Fuel economy: 23.9mpg

CO2 emissions: 275g/km

 

Nissan GT-R MY17

570hp Nissan GT-R 17MY at the 2016 New York Auto Show

Nissan GT-R MY17Nissan has revealed a facelifted 2017 model year GT-R 17MY at the 2016 New York Auto Show. At first glance, it looks like a simple facelift, but there’s more at work here than first meets the eye – and we don’t just mean that striking new bright metallic orange colour…

Why has Nissan introduced the GT-R 17MY?

The current-shape GT-R is not the freshest car around: it was launched almost a decade ago, and Nissan hasn’t really evolved it much since. Because it’s looking unlikely we’ll get an all-new version much before 2020, the Japanese firm has thus taken the knife to the current car, to both make it look more modern and address customer demands for a bit more performance but a lot more comfort.

The 17MY Godzilla is still extreme, but it’s a bit more plush and cosseting along with it…

Nissan GT-R 17MY: in the metal at New York

The 17MY GT-R looks… familiar. That’s because it is – this is a facelift of a car that’s been around since 2007, remember. But saying that, there is enough in the metal to interest the performance car enthusiasts this car attracts so strongly, not least the introduction of Nissan’s new ‘V-motion’ matt-finish design signature grille. It’s bigger to provide more engine cooling, while an all-new bonnet boasts extra reinforcement to improve high-speed handling. Downforce-inducing front spoiler lip and bumper finish add yet more aggression to Godzilla.

There’s a lot more going on at the rear too. New bodywork improves airflow and there are now side air vents next to the quad exhausts. Nissan says this cleverly creates less drag without affecting downforce generation. Also check the greater use of matt black in the lower body, making the car look wider and more modern. Fancy new Y-spoke 20-inch alloys complete the facelift.

Inside the Nissan GT-R 17MY in New York

Nissan GT-R 17MY

In images, the Nissan GT-R 17MY doesn’t look like it’s been transformed, but believe us, it has. The dashboard and instrument panel are all-new (despite looking similar to the old one) and are now covered in in TAKUMI precision-stitched leather. The new fascia is driver-orientated and, interestingly, has a ‘horizontal flow’ to its shape that Nissan says gives a sense of increased stability for front-seat passengers.

Infotainment is all-new, paddleshifters are now mounted to the steering wheel and the number of buttons has been seriously reduced – from 27 in the old car to 11 in the 17MY variant. Oh, and both paddleshifters and ventilation control ‘sound’ better when used.

Even better infotainment

The gadget-packed infotainment screen of the old GT-R, with its multitude of functions, gauges and displays, was always a highlight. Nissan’s kept this feature-packed excitement but fitted a better, bigger eight-incou touchscreen that now has large icons on the display screen so it’s easier to operate.

There’s a new display command control on the carbon fibre centre console that further helps ease of operation.

Katsura Orange multi-layer paint option

Nissan GT-R 17MY

Nissan has introduced a new paint option for the 17MY GT-R: Katsura Orange, which can be seen on the NYIAS show car. A multi-layer paint finish, it gives a particularly rich and deep look that, with the GT-R’s enhanced front end and crisp black lower body sections, ensures it really stands out despite its familiar profile.

There are more colours inside as well: a new tan option joins red, ivory and black.

Engines: 570-horsepower for the TAKUMI-built 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6

Nissan has retained the familiar GT-R 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 that’s hand-built by a single TAKUMI master technician. Despite expectations, it hasn’t been power-boosted to the round 600-horsepower of the GT-R Nismo, but to a lesser (but still potent) 570-horsepower.

Nissan’s not released performance figures yet but says the boost will be felt most at mid- to high-range engine speeds, although the enhanced sound from a new titanium exhaust should be delivered all the time. The six-speed dual-clutch transmission is also now smoother and less noisy.

Tech: handling honed, ride smoothed

Nissan says suspension has been further honed and the bodyshell has been stiffened, which means the GT-R 17MY will be able to corner at higher speeds and be more stable through switchback transitions. It’s done this while improving comfort at the same time: ride quality is much smoother, reckons Nissan, whole new sound absorption materials mean the cabin is quieter at higher speeds.

It’s “the most comfortable model to date, with a new sense of elegance and civility that one would rarely find in such a high-performance supercar,” says GT-R chief product specialist Hiroshi Tamura. It is, he feels, “the ultimate GT that possesses amazing performance, newfound civility and a rich racing history”.

When does the Nissan GT-R 17MY arrive in showrooms?

The revised Nissan GT-R 17MY will be available in the autumn, says Nissan. Prices are to be announced but shouldn’t be too far removed from today’s levels – it’s not an all-new car after all…

Nissan GT-R Nurburgring

Nissan GT-R to return to Nürburgring for 24 Hours race

Nissan GT-R Nurburgring

Having set the lap record for a volume production car, Nissan considers the Nürburgring to be its adopted second home. The Nissan GT-R Nismo road car completed the lap of the ‘Green Hell’ in just 7 minutes 8.679 seconds. Read more