Quick spin: 2017 Nissan GT-R [Review]
The Nissan GT-R returns for 2017 with new looks and more power.
It's hard to believe, but the current generation of the Nissan GT-R has been with us for nearly ten years. And in a world where technology improves every nanosecond, a decade is an eternity.
Hoping to at least slow down Father Time, Nissan has given the GT-R a nip and tuck for the 2017 model year. Curious to see if Nissan discovered the fountain of youth, we spent a few days behind the wheel of a 2017 GT-R.
Tried and trueIt's funny how fast technology marches along. What seems like future tech one day can feel old fashioned the next.
Now, by no means is the GT-R some kind of outdated clunker. But when the GT-R came out, it was just about the most advanced car you could buy. Now we have cars like the Tesla Model S, Porsche 918 Spyder and Acura NSX. By comparison, the GT-R's gas drivetrain and six-speed gearbox seem decidedly old school.
But there's still some pop left in the GT-R's hand-built 3.8L V6, which has been massaged to deliver more power for 2017. Huffing through a pair of turbochargers, the GT-R's fossil-fueled heart is now capable of delivering 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque, increases of 20 and 4, respectively. That power paired with the GT-R's all-wheel drive system means Godzilla can still hustle from 0-60 in under 3-seconds. Not bad for an old timer.
Facelift The key to feeling young is looking young, and Nissan has taken care of that with the GT-R's 2017 refresh. Front-end styling has been tweaked to include a new lower bumper with better aero, a new grille treatment with improved airflow and a reshaped hood for a more muscular look. Wider side sills also help to toughen the GT-R's look, but those were added to improve air management more than anything else.
Around back not much has changed. The 2017 GT-R still features quad-LED taillights, a raised spoiler and massive exhaust outlets.
Inside the 2017 GT-R has received a freshening that includes a revised center console that has reduced the car's button count from 27 to just 11. A new 8-inch touch screen replaces last year's 7-inch unit. In order to make the car feel a little more luxurious, Nissan has added Nappa leather to the GT-R's dash. A new seat design and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters round out the changes for the new model year.
On the roadHaving never driven a GT-R before, we were surprised by the mechanical feel of it all. Again, everything we've read about the GT-R hailed it as a high-tech car from the future, but its driving experience is delightfully analog.
Press the GT-R's start button and it fires to life with a proper sports car rumble, aided by a new titanium exhaust system for 2017. In a way the GT-R reminded us of the Porsche 911, which manages to maintain its mechanical engine sound no matter how advanced its drivetrain becomes.
Shift the GT-R's dual-clutch transmission into gear and you can actually hear and feel things going on. Clutch operation isn't the smoothest we've ever experienced, but the GT-R doesn't feel unrefined; rather, it feels like a purpose-built car. And that purpose is to go fast no matter the road ahead.
In a straight line, the GT-R is a rocket ship, there's so other way to describe it. And as fast as it is from a standstill, the GT-R might even be faster at higher-speed maneuvers, like overtaking slower traffic on the highway. Just stab the gas and away you go in a blur of speed and sound.
And despite being on the bigger side for a sports car, the GT-R handles like a dream. The front end is extremely communicative and feels as if there's no limit to its grip. And thanks to its all-wheel drive system, you can take corners at speed in the GT-R without worrying about coming out the other side tail-end first. And if you do find yourself moving too quickly, the GT-R's Brembo brakes are more than capable of scrubbing off speed in a hurry.
With its adaptive suspension switched to R, the GT-R zips through the twisties without a hint of body lean. The R setup is stiff, but it's not overly punishing. Still, we preferred the Comfort setting for everyday driving as it did a much better job of isolating bumps from the cabin.
And although the GT-R is happiest tearing up a stretch of twisty tarmac, it's perfectly capable of handling the daily commute. After all, the first two letters in GT-R stand for ‘Grand Touring.'
Other than side bolsters that we found to be slightly too aggressive, the GT-R's front seats provided good comfort and excellent support. Grippy faux-suede inserts provide a nice aesthetic touch while also helping to keep your rear end in place during spirited driving. The back seats are useless when it comes to transporting adults, but it's handy for extra storage. We were also able to fit a forward-facing child seat back there during the few days we spent with the car, which is not something you can say about most high-end sports cars.
A relatively large greenhouse combined with a tall rear windshield makes for decent outward visibility in the GT-R. However, thick C-pillars do block the rearward view.
We had just a couple quibbles with the GT-R. First, the brakes: While they're great a bringing the car to a halt, they aren't ideally suited for the daily grind. Their high-performance compound nets plenty of screeching as you come to a stop. A minor annoyance for sure, but squeaky brakes aren't what you want drawing people's attention to your $112,000 sports car.
Our second gripe is a steering wheel that tilts but doesn't telescope. Luckily the GT-R has a pretty good driving position as-is, so the stay-put wheel isn't a huge detraction.
Leftlane's bottom lineThe 2017 Nissan GT-R is an oldie but a goodie. Despite some signs of aging, the GT-R still provides breathtaking performance at a price point that isn't out of this world. We can't wait to see what Nissan does for an encore.
2017 Nissan GT-R Premium base price, $109,990. As tested, $112,585.Premium paint, $1,000; Destination, $1,595.