New Nissan GT-R. Banzai

Welcome to the 2011 Nissan GT-R. This, according to Nissan, has been developed along the theme of ‘World’s best multi-performance and pleasure of responsive driving’. Forget the eccentrically worded press release, something has been lost in translation perhaps. A dig through the finer details of the blurb reveals some very choice improvements to the already prodigiously talented Nissan GT-R for the 2011 model year. Their flagship affordable supercar has received an array of engineering modifications which should propel what has been lauded as a superlatively capable car, into the ranks of the unassailable, at least at this price point.

2011 GT-R. Spot the difference?

Interior, exterior, drivetrain and suspension have all been massaged to extract another few notches of potential from the GT-R. In the engine room the twin turbo V6 now puts out a healthy 523bhp, improving on the hardly asthmatic 478bhp of the first generation GT-R. Despite the power hike the new powerplant is both cleaner and more economical, whilst the transmission has a ‘Save’ mode to optimise torque and fuel economy on motorways or ‘open’ roads. It’s not a teachers’ pet though – there is an ‘R’ mode which put simply, means launch control – stamp on the brake and the loud pedal at the same time, release the brake and 3.5-ish seconds later, say hello to 60 mph as you reel in the horizon.

The front end has been stiffened via the addition of a carbon strut brace, allied to different spring, damper and roll bar rates which sound like they should make the car keener and more responsive on turn-in. At the rear end, aluminium ‘free-piston’ dampers are said to provide more stable road holding and respond more quickly to direction changes. The brakes have also been beefed up to 390mm discs at the front, whilst unsprung weight has been pared down by the addition of lighter forged aluminium Rays alloys.

Outside, the GT-R is still a physically imposing, if hardly beautiful slab of metal, and has been made more aerodynamic as a result of a revised front bumper arrangement. It’s hard to notice the difference but it apparently has a wider mouth which features ‘double rectifier’ fins, endowing it with 10% more downforce. Sadly the front end has not escaped the current vogue for daytime running lights and is festooned with the annoying white LEDs first inflicted on the world by the Audi R8. The rear bumper has also been remodelled with a new diffuser, said to reduce air resistance and improve underfloor cooling.

Brute-iful. New rear diffuser means it slips throught the air better.

Inside, there is now some genuine carbon fibre surrounding the dash, and the paddle shifters are fashioned of magnesium, all no doubt very alluring for the motorsport fetishist. The price has hiked by around £10k, but you have to admit this is much more than just a facelift. For a car with this breadth of ability, performance and dynamic capability to cost £69,950 is astonishing set against its peers, which wear much more pricey Porsche or Ferrari badges, yet subjectively offer no more in the way of performance.

See a video of the 2011 Nissan GT-R in action here, although it’s a fairly tame video:

By Tim Kendall
19th October 2010

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