It comes to something when an official press release announcing visual changes to a new model begs you to 'look closely', but so Nissan implores when asking you to consider the refreshed 2017 GT-R. Hang on, isn't this 2016? Yes, but with the car being launched in New York we're talking American model years, so 2017 it is.
This is the Blaze Metallic, in case you hadn't guessed
So what is different? From the front we've got a bigger 'V-motion' grille flowing into a new bonnet, revised bumpers with rather Lexus-ish vertical intakes, updated front splitter and 'finishers' beneath the headlights. There's also a new 'Blaze Metallic' added to the paint options. Sill trims have been widened to improve airflow, this also justifying the very subtle changes to the rear bodywork around the lights, new vents beside the exhausts and a raising of the blacked-out contrast trim area to make the car look lower and wider. Talk of additional stability and aero efficiency prevail but the overall impression is of yet another
nip and tuck
, as evidenced by the fact they haven't even bothered to issue a new 'ring lap time. The promise of higher overall cornering speeds thanks to a stiffer body and unspecified suspension tweaks offer enough of a tease that this might yet be possible though.
So it goes under the bonnet too, individual ignition timing for each cylinder and a tad more boost unlocking 15hp, the total now 565hp. It also unleashes a whole 1lb ft of extra torque, though we're told mid- and top-end response are improved, likewise sound via the titanium silencers and - yes - Active Sound Enhancement. The gearbox has also been tweaked for smoother shifts and 'less noise', the paddles that control it in manual mode now wheel- rather than column-mounted.
More leather and fewer buttons? In a GT-R?
The now leather-clad dash also contains some changes, including a major tidy-up of switchgear. The infotainment button count has been slashed from 27 to 11 thanks to more control via the touchscreen, with larger icons that should be easier to jab. Further assisting in that aim are suspension changes that make this "the most comfortable model to date" with "smoother ride quality" and, really, "a new sense of elegance and civility". Not words likely to have been applied to the GT-R previously but there we go.
All of this follows the path taken by Nissan since the GT-R's launch, further attempting to buff off some of those rough edges and make things a little more civilised. If you think that rather conflicts with the brutish charm that characterises the car you're not alone; let's hope the NISMO tweaked Track Edition we drove recently (and will be again more extensively in the coming days) stays part of the range and caters to those who appreciate the GT-R's wilder side. Because, let's face it, if you're only interested in the GT part of the name there are probably plenty of other cars that'll do a more refined and relaxing job. It's also a little odd that the looks appear to have got more aggressive while the character promises more refinement and comfort.
So. Not the spectacular climax to the R35 GT-R story some had been predicting. There's time for that yet, plus a chat with senior Nissan personnel at New York arranged to see if we can find out how much longer the GT-R has before that grand finale.
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