NISSAN GT-R: 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION IS EASY TO DRIVE – AND STILL VERY FAST

I have been privileged to have driven and road tested every version of Nissan’s GT-R since the car was unveiled at the end of 2007.

Yes, that means that this particular high performance car has been around for 12 years already, and I have experienced them evolve from brutal and jarring to drive through something very fast and firm to a car that is a whole lot more refined – all the while still retaining a healthy dose of pace in a fast-charging world.

And it is going nowhere just yet, even though the car I will be talking about is the 50th Anniversary Limited Edition model. It’s not a run-out model; there is production planning beyond 2020. This car pays homage to when the first Skyline GT-R saw the light of day back in 1969.

Moving to the sales part and then on to the road test: the last two versions have come to me via the GT-R experts at Melrose Nissan and Michael Broom is the man to contact there on 011-555- 3000 or  michaelb@mminv.co.za for a test drive or any other GT-R needs you might have. So, if you want one of these special GT-Rs, you need to get your order in this production year, as SA has only been allocated 36 units. So, now what do you get for your R2 415 000?

Our test car was Bayside Blue with white racing stripes, an official colour that hasn’t been seen since the Skyline GT-R 34 model. You also get blue accents on the wheel spokes and burnished blue exhaust tips on new titanium silencers. Two wishes here: please never leave the white 50th Anniversary decal on the back. The metal badge next to it is classy, the sticker is not. And to nit-pick, maybe the new exhaust could get a bit more vocal about what is about to happen when you hit the gas. Inside the 50th anniversary edition, you get a unique grey interior, steering wheel and gear knob trim, special seat embossing and lots of Alcantara. You still get the traditional performance-monitoring screens that can tell you anything you need to know about what your GT-R is doing.

So, the digital tech is all functional and works as it should, but make no mistake, this tech has aged and when you say, “Hey GTR”, this car is not going to respond to your mood, change the lighting or direct you to the opera while recommending you take a few Prozacs. The “bring on the real stuff” continues with the powerplant, which hasn’t really changed much over the years. Sure, it has been refined and tweaked, but it remains a grumpy 3.8-litre twin turbo V6 that started out at 357kW and today delivers 408kW.

For 50th Anniversary, you do get new turbochargers that are said to increase low rpm response. The six-speed dual-clutch gearbox has been revised and features a refined “R mode” with more aggressive downshifts.

The changes and the sharper engine response in and out of corners not only makes the overall driving experience more pleasant but also makes the car a bit quicker in the twisty stuff. The electronically controlled suspension has been tuned to provide better cornering stability and a smoother ride.

I think you get the gist of this version of the GT-R: it’s all about added refinement while still being fast.

How many press releases say: “The steering is more linear and precise than ever, requiring minimal corrections at speeds of up to 300km/h?’’ I don’t want to be correcting anything at 300km/h, thank you, other than my medical aid cover, my life insurance and any credits I might have with God.

I did have a guy on a Yamaha R1 pull up next to me on the N12 and felt like he was giving me the evil “I want revenge for that infamous GT-R versus BMW S1000 RR dice that went down on the R21” look. For a moment I did seriously think, “game on”, but then I remembered the look on my publisher’s face when I told her these dangerous, reckless and lawless videos do provide for plenty social media hits and, maybe, we could get away with publishing something like this if nobody could identify me as the driver.
She didn’t quite agree. I guess that’s why I am not in charge of digital motoring at The Citizen. Go really fast this GT-R does, as the road test data chart shows.

But not as fast as claimed; then no standard GT-R I have tested has ever nailed the claimed Japanese numbers.

It’s not just fast in a straight line – 0 to 100km/h in 3.78 sec, a quarter mile (400m) in 11.98 sec, 1km at almost 250km/h and a top speed over 310km/h. It really can get through the twisties, too.

If you don’t know about the Simola Knysna Hillclimb, then maybe this road test was never for you.

The Nissan GT-R has won the road-going supercar class for the last three years in a row at the event with highly skilled professional Reghard Roets at the wheel.

We might share a birthday, but we don’t share the same talent, that’s for sure. He keeps getting quicker; I keep getting slower.

– Article from The Citizen – Mark Jones, Author & Road Tester