For several years now, the Nissan R35 GT-R has offered high-end exotic performance at low-end exotic prices. For a shade over $100,000, you could get a 545-horsepower, all-wheel drive vehicle that could handily outperform or at least keep pace with cars that cost two, three, or even four times as much. It may not have the exotic caché of a Lamborghini or a Porsche, and it may share a badge with your neighbor’s 2002 Sentra, but what the GT-R has accomplished is nothing short of impressive.
That said, Nissan’s flagship sports car is starting to show it’s age. A complete overhaul is on the table sometime in the next few years, but for the meantime, Nissan has given Godzilla a facelift. And a stronger beating heart.
Power for the GT-R has been creeping up for years — it started at 525 horsepower when it debuted — and that trend continues for 2017. The 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 now lays out 565 horsepower and 467 pound-feet, increases of 20 horsepower and 4 pound-feet respectively. Nissan was able to extract the numbers from individual ignition-timing control of the cylinders and extra boosts from the turbochargers.
Up front, Nissan has applied its flying-V design language to the car’s face. It’s a relatively subtle change; people familiar with the GT-R already won’t have a hard time picking it up, but those who don’t pay attention to cars would have to look closely to really discern the changes. A different front LED strategy helps set the 2017 apart from the current model.
Some of the changes are more hidden; there’s a new lightweight titanium exhaust system and Active Sound Enhancement, a more rigid body structure and a new suspension to help improve handling, and Active Noise Cancellation technology and new sound absorption materials help ensure the occupants hear only what they want (read: exhaust) and less of what they don’t.
Buyers can also now choose ‘Blaze Metallic’ (pictured) from Nissan’s paint palate. Other new features include side sills that have been pushed out to direct air flow around the vehicle, new rear bodywork, and a redesigned, premium interior.
The entire dashboard is new, but perhaps most importantly (at least for enthusiasts), the shift paddles are now mounted to the new steering wheel, allowing drivers to change gears mid-turn without having to take their hands off the wheel.
Pricing and exact performance information hasn’t yet been disclosed, but it’s likely that the GT-R will see a price increase, albeit a relatively modest one. A 2016 model currently runs around $101,770.