Nissan GT-R NISMO: 11th Place – 2017 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car
Last year, the Nissan GT-R R35 went through its biggest update in its nearly nine-year life to date. This year, the hardcore GT-R NISMO version gets the update.
As with many previous GT-R updates, it’s a series of incremental improvements rather than a major redo. The showpiece is an updated interior featuring a new infotainment system with fewer buttons and better materials. Outside, the GT-R NISMO gets minor styling updates in the nose to improve cooling and aerodynamics. Underneath, the chassis is stiffened on all GT-Rs, and the NISMO gets extra adhesive in the bonded layers to tighten it up.
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Unlike the standard car, the NISMO receives no changes under the hood. Its twin-turbo V-6 continues to make 600 horsepower and 481 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed dual-clutch automatic remains, as does the sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. The brakes remain steel, and the dampers still have three modes, though the suspension tuning has been adjusted to exploit the stiffer chassis and better aero.
Weighing in at 3,904 pounds, the GT-R NISMO slingshots to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds and through the quarter mile in 11 seconds flat at 126.8 mph. Stopping from 60 mph takes 104 feet, and the tires hang on for 1.02 average lateral g on the skidpad. It needs just 22.9 seconds to lap the figure eight and does it at 0.92 average g.
“On at least three occasions, after an unsettling bump, the steering would not be on center despite the car going straight. It fixed itself, but it was an unusual electro-mechanical anomaly.
“I started with the transmission in automatic, but it wasn’t as responsive—especially for downshifts—as I wanted, so switch to manual mode. The brakes were very good and easy to modulate. They were a bit abrupt on initial bite, but I could drag them into a corner and ease them off. This NISMO version reminded me of the very first time I drove a GT-R. It really shouldn’t be able to do the things it is doing, but it does so without fail.” – Chris Walton
Read about other 2017 Best Driver’s Car contenders:
“The problem with associating a car with a video game is that technology moves fast. This thing feels like a video game circa 2007—that is to say, it’s now a bit quaint. Even though it was refreshed a few years back, it still feels like a PS2 in an era of Xbox Ones.
“Still, 600 hp and all-wheel drive are great ingredients for a rally-climb special, and going up 198 made it the perfect recipe. The power kept coming, and the surprisingly slow steering made it predictable in the corners. Point, squirt, shoot.
“The steering was anything but predictable on the way down. In fact it was scary. At one point I was headed toward the photographers on the shoulder, and when I went to turn, the steering rack made a CLUNK and the front wheels stayed straight even though I was turning the steering wheel.” – Derek Powell
“This is one of the best GT-R’s I’ve driven in a while. It still feels old and pretty dated, but it drives like a GT-R should. This is a car defined by physically improbable levels of grip. It hooks up and launches like no other and grips hard through corners—the GT-R remains a car that you just chuck into corners, mash the gas, and let the trick AWD system and tire grip sort things out.
“Has some of the same issues GT-Rs have long suffered. The ride is far better than it used to be, but it’s a punishing car to drive over bumps in ways that few other cars are. Steering is heavy, but truthfully there isn’t a ton of actual feel—the feedback you get is of the car being upset by every single impact and bump in the road.” – Christian Seabaugh
“It has three issues holding it back. It’s the best handling of the GT-Rs. But it’s just not brake-capable like it ought to be. They stop pretty darn well once or twice and then immediately start getting hot. By the end of the lap, I’m worried about them. One lap, I cooled them off and did it again, but there’s a lack of precision in braking. The fade and whatever else is going on makes it difficult to enter the corners accurately.
“The other issue was the throttle. It’s not linear, and it drove me nuts. Maybe it would be better out of Race mode. You want to land on the throttle like a butterfly landing on a leaf. When you first tip in, it gives you full power, and it’s this big whoosh and throws you completely off balance. To Nissan’s credit, they’re being honorable about tires, I guess—it’s more of a real street tire, but they’re leaving a lot of time on the table. They grip well, they’re just not at an R-compound level.
“The car is stable. I didn’t have to correct much. It was a rotation not a snap oversteer. I love rotation. I hate snap oversteer, and that’s all about just how fast that happens. In the GT-R it doesn’t happen terribly fast. Most GT-Rs won’t rotate at all, and the NISMO does. I love that about it.”
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September 18, 2017 at 04:12AM
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