I forgot how much fun the 2017 Nissan GT-R can be, even for mundane tasks like running errands and picking up pizza. A blindingly red-and-black model spent a few days in our short-term fleet this week, and in this prolific era of angry sports cars, Godzilla still delivers.
The refresh includes light yet noticeable interior and exterior changes. The front end gets a new hood, spoiler, and bumper, and new style lines make it look tougher. Vaguely like a sea monster, I think. Inside I was surprised how nice the car is. This model is done up in burnt orange leather with black hard points, and it looks and feels premium. The layout and gauges are simple. You don’t adjust the steering wheel – the whole cluster moves up and down – it offers a bit of a racecar vibe. The 3.8-liter V6 engine also is tuned for more power, pushing out 565 horsepower (up 20 from before) and 467 pound-feet (four more). Nissan says it’s the biggest change since 2009, and it feels like it.
I tested a Premium model with the optional Premium Interior package, which included hand-stitched leather ($4,000). Add in the GT-R logo floor mats ($295) and the sticker came to $115,980. It’s a handsome devil. Here are my other random thoughts:
- It’s still a head-turner. You don’t see that many GT-Rs in metro Detroit – it’s more Corvette and Hellcat country – and people take note. The red coloring underscored its menace (the images above are from a test in Europe).
- It sounds good. Not crazy like some burbling, maniacal muscle cars, but lay on the throttle and this thing gets loud and angry. I did this in the parking lot of Autoblog Tower to waste gas.
- There’s so much power here. With all-wheel-drive you get cocky. The brakes are strong with little pressure. Only the heavy steering gives you pause.
- The six-speed dual-clutch is decent for the most part, usually kicking down smoothly. It can get a little too aggressive, like when I braked, then accelerated quickly and it clunked through a shift.
- Visibility is pretty good. The long hood and seemingly faraway corners aren’t intimidating. It’s kinda fun to have all of this car around you.
No track test for me. I took it home, and after a long day at the office it did wonders to clear my thoughts. Then I volunteered to go pick up a pizza, and I went past half a dozen closer places to get the kind we wanted. Driving the GT-R also provided motivation.
So yeah, muscle-car Monday was enjoyable, and Nissan is wisely keeping its signature performance machine updated (modern might not be the right word) and competitive. And yes, it’s great for running errands.
— Greg Migliore (@GregMigliore) June 13, 2017