Godzilla is more refined, yet still powerful
Photos by Bea Directo
This writer is one of the lucky individuals to have witnessed the re-launch of the Nissan GTR in 2009. As part of the Nissan media contingent to the Tokyo Motor Show, I remember watching a seven-minute video clip of the GTR as it attacked the Nurburgring on full throttle and smashing the record set by Porsche as the fastest production car to drive the entire length of the “green hell”.
Back then, Nissan held no secrets about the GTR’s rich racing heritage. The car was a boy racer’s dream, there was a throaty noise from the engine, exhaust, transmission, differentials and the ride was stiffer due to its performance tuned package. Like a boy growing up, the GTR gradually improved through the years and for its latest iteration, Nissan’s performance car has gone soft on purpose. Make no mistake about it, the GTR still has the grunt, but it is now quieter and comfortable to be driven on a daily basis.
This was the immediate feeling I got when I drove away from the Nissan dealership in Quezon City, which is home to local GTR owners. Nissan Quezon Avenue is the accredited GTR facility, which has everything needed for the upkeep of Japan’s supercar.
Off the bat, noticeable were the color scheme of the 2017 variant, which Nissan calls as “Blaze Metallic” and splashes on to the interiors of the car. It shines brilliantly under the noonday sun and makes the GTR visible from a mile away. Unlike the previous GTR’s, this latest iteration is more comfortable and behaved due to specially developed springs and a custom-developed Bilstein DampTronic dampers which balances out the ride on and off the track. During a dinner hosted by Nissan with its Chief Engineer and acknowledged Father, Hiroshi Tamura, he reveals that this 2017 version is the smoothest model yet in terms of handling, ride, steering and interior quality. “This GTR is easier to live with and you can take it for long drives with your wife sleeping comfortable beside you,” he says. The cabin has improved much over the years, although the fundamental layout has carried over. The horizontal layout of the dashboard is new with the instrument panel wrapped in nappa leather. The center screen is larger and a display command panel is added unto the center console.
Exterior styling and performance
Tamura also says that not much has been done to the exteriors except for the rear wheel well which is now more aerodynamic. “We only made minimal changes which are in tune with the long running and gradual improvements of the car over its lifetime,” he adds. The most visible remodeling is visible on the car’s “V-Motion” grille which is larger and was engineered to improve cooling efficiency. Nissan also revised the front lip spoiler and bumper design to add more downforce. “The hood has been tweaked also with more pronounced character lines and has greater ability to handle high speeds,” says Tamura.
On the sides, the aero blades with the GTR logo improves airflow on the sides as it visually compliments the massive 20-inch RAYS Engineering wheels which feature a 15-spoke design. Improvements are also evident on the rear bodywork with functional vents next to the quad exhaust tips, and a noticeable higher beltline makes the car look wider. Tamura also added that the rear bumper is taken from the 2015 NISMO model for better airflow. “These changes make the GTR more stable at high speeds while maintaining the same 0.26 coefficient of drag,” explains Tamura.
Priced at P7.2 million, the GTR is a bargain priced performance monster that can kick Italian or German asses. For this model, Nissan added 20 more horses to the engine which means 565 bhp of Nippon muscle going your way if you dare challenge this metal beast. ‘We also revised the ignition timing control and increased the turbo boost for more crazy power,” says Tamura with a naughty smile. On a clear straight road up in Antipolo, I tried the launch control on R mode. The feeling was like being shot out of a cannon, with me holding on for dear life at the steering wheel as I let the GTR do its thing. It was orgasmic, just like sex really. The good thing about this car is that it stops on a dime, thanks to the Brembo six-piston front and four piston rear brakes.
I had the GTR for Valentine’s Day and the car had its share of people flashing the thumbs-up sign and adoring glances as Nissan’s finest flew by. Another surprise is that this model can actually accommodate two kids and forget about adults hitching a ride at the back because the sloping roof line will not allow it. It’s a small compromise since you really don’t need anybody with you during track days, right?