Nissan has heralded the GT-R’s 2017 update as its biggest yet, but its focus has been primarily on improving the R35’s refinement and day-to-day useability – making it a little more ‘GT’ and a little less ‘R’.
The latter role will be filled by the forthcoming GT-R NISMO, due to land in February 2017, but if you still want your GT-R to be a hardcore performance car and don’t have $299K, Nissan now has you covered with the Track Edition.
Not to be confused with the HSV of the same name, the Track Edition shares the same 419kW/632Nm 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 as the ‘regular’ GT-R but scores a black and red interior treatment and carbon fibre rear spoiler from the superseded Black Edition and a number of chassis upgrades from its hardcore NISMO twin.
This begins with the bodyshell, an adhesive applied to the spot welds to increase body rigidity, which allows the suspension to work more precisely under high loads.
The suspension is lifted directly from the NISMO, with new springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and upper links, while wider front guards allow the lightweight forged RAYS aluminium wheels to be a half-inch wider at the front (now 20 x 10-inch; rears remain 20 x 10.5-inch). These contribute to a 5kg weight drop and 10mm of extra front track.
Relatively small modifications given the substantial $28,000 price increase, but the impact on the driving experience is marked. Our time behind the wheel is limited to a handful of laps at Phillip Island, but this is arguably the appropriate venue to appreciate the effect of the Track Edition tweaks.
Instantly, the front end feels much more positive, to the point that we’re warned against turning too sharply until the tyres are up to temperature, lest we disappear backwards off the track.
Whereas the standard GT-R can feel its weight and require some patience on track, the Track Edition seems to dig further into the tarmac, feeling sharper in slow corners and more stable in fast ones. And of course in a straight line it still borders on unhinged.
What effect this stiffer suspension setup has on the GT-R’s ride and road manners remains to be seen, but the significant 2017 interior update, with its heavily revised infotainment system, new steering wheel and plusher materials makes this new Godzilla a more habitable place.
As the name suggests, the Track Edition upgrades are aimed at improving circuit performance, so if you’re only an occasional track day attendee they are possibly of marginal relevance, however if you regularly venture beyond the pit wall, this could be an ideal compromise between the regular GT-R and the hardcore NISMO.
4.0 OUT OF 5 STARS
LIKE: Sharper suspension setup; carbon wing
DISLIKE: Lots of money; haven’t driven it on road yet
Engine: 3799cc V6, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo
Power: 419kW @ 6800rpm
Torque: 632Nm @ 3300rpm |
0-100km/h: 2.7sec (claimed)