Nissan GT-R

Reboots continue for Godzilla thriller

BYRON MATHIODAKIS

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

THE MORGAN is 66. The original Porsche 911 equalled Jesus’s 33 years on Earth. And the (original) Honda NSX lived to 15. In an era of instant refresh, there is something reassuring about a car that’s allowed to breathe with age.

Enter Nissan’s R35 GT-R. Now a sprightly eight, Japan’s legendary supercar defiantly marches to the soaring sounds of its own twinturbo V6 baritone – as a 1000km stint in the 2015 update revealed.

Building on 2014’s facelift (basically, brilliant LEDs, swishier cabin materials, and retuned suspension, steering, and brakes – see sidebar), the ride has been quantifiably improved without affecting the GT-R’s supernatural handling. Whether in Comfort or Normal, a newfound smoothness is immediately evident. The bobbing and crashing over bumps now only happens in Race mode.

Additionally, the brakes are now more progressive, the beautifully tactile steering no longer vibrates at idle, more noise insulation abounds, and that infamous transaxle and driveshaft shunting has been reduced – although not eliminated.

The upshot fleshes out the Nissan’s GT-ness, supported by an exemplary driving position, sumptuous front seats, an adultcapable (for very short journeys) rear seat, a decent boot and solid-rock build quality.

However, the console knobs are Navara grade, the column- rather than wheel-mounted paddle shifters are awkward to use when arms are a-twirling through tight turns, the cruise control sucks, and the Bluetooth is low-fi.

Obviously, the hyper-Japanese ambience is an intrinsic part of GT-R folklore, but the initially daunting PlayStation-inspired central screen and its slew of driver function readouts (the brake pedal pressure gauge is a favourite) speak of the supercar’s colossal performance.

Lamborghini’s $800K Aventador can’t match Nissan’s 2.7sec 0-100km/h claim in outrageous Launch Control mode. Speed is obviously instantaneous – and ballistic in Race, with ferocious acceleration, split-second ratio shifts from the at-times clunky dual-clutch ’box, and axis-tilting Brembo braking.

Furthermore, with double wishbones up front and a multilink set-up behind, the GT-R glides through corners with grippy, grin-inducing glee. But be prepared for relentless drone on coarse-chip bitumen.

So what we’re left with is a palpably more liveable supercar.

The evolved civility evokes something akin to a Porsche 928/911 Turbo lovechild. With 46 years of Skyline GT-R heritage behind it, age is mellowing Godzilla gracefully.

PLUS & MINUS

Low-speed AWD graunching; some cheap switchgear; road noise Startling speed and dynamics; improved ride d and refinement; value

Hush now, ’Zilla

The MY15 GT-R rides better due to revised rubber bushes in the lower suspension arms, revised rates for the adaptive dampers, and reprogramming of the ECU that controls the suspension.

There have also been alterations to the brakes, with a change to the front brake pads for quieter operation, as well as “more linear feel in the early stages”. Finally, there’s been a bearing upgrade in the flywheel housing to cut transmission noise.