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2017 Nissan GT-R: First Drive Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro June 2016

Although you might not notice it at first glance, the 2017 Nissan GT-R is new. It hasn't been fully redesigned or issued a substantial facelift with many noticeable revisions, but Nissan has made enough changes to its iconic sports car for the latest model year that the brand invited us to Belgium's Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps -- a track used for Formula One racing -- to try it out. Here's what we thought.

Updates: Small but Noticeable

First, let's talk about what's changed. If you're not a GT-R enthusiast, you probably won't notice a thing. If you are, the latest model's updates might seem a sacrilege: extra insulation from road noise, additional sound-deadening features, a noise-canceling windshield and a dramatically improved interior with enhanced leather upholstery, cushier seats and a simpler center control stack.

And yet, this classic hasn't lost touch with its roots. At the same time as Nissan was enhancing the cabin's luxury appeal, it was also giving the GT-R even more bragging rights in terms of performance. Power, for instance, is boosted from 545 horsepower to 565 hp, and torque is up to 467 lb-ft. The automatic transmission has been enhanced, the exhaust system has been improved, and revised shocks provide a wider range of driving options from comfortable to grippy.

So how does it all come together? Not surprisingly, the new GT-R -- which now starts north of $110,000 -- wears its updates masterfully.

Still a Performer

Whether we had our foot on the floor or the steering wheel cocked during a turn, we found the 2017 GT-R to be just as monstrous as its predecessor. That's no surprise, since everything that's always made this car such an excellent performer has stayed roughly the same. Steering is incredibly responsive, braking is predictable (and very, very quick), and the car's legendary all-wheel-drive system gives it a sturdy, stable feeling even on a rain-soaked Belgian racetrack.

Not much has changed in the acceleration department, either. Despite the additional 20 hp and a more linear torque curve, the GT-R accelerates at roughly the same brisk pace as before -- not that we're complaining, as that pace equates to 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 2.7 seconds, making the GT-R one of the quickest cars on the road. But if you don't stop at 60 mph, don't worry: We had the opportunity to take the GT-R all the way to 150 mph, and it still felt stable and quick, without a hint of drama.

The Grown-Up Supercar

And yet, there's definitely something a little more grown-up about the latest GT-R. We sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic with the car for about 30 minutes, and we found it surprisingly comfortable and easy to manage -- so easy, in fact, that we think it could be driven every day. That notion becomes even more realistic thanks to the car's simplified, easier-to-operate controls and much quieter interior compared to its predecessor.

In other words, the 2017 Nissan GT-R is no longer just a car for wannabe racers to bring out of their garage on the weekend and take to their local track day. You might say that, with the latest model year, the GT-R has grown up.

Don't get us wrong: While the GT-R may have shed some of its rambunctiousness as it's matured, it still has a rowdy side. It's just that the sports car's newly found buttoned-down sensibilities make it more practical for days when you just want to drive to work without thinking about your lateral g-forces or feeling every single bump in the road.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Nissan GT-R: First Drive Review - Autotrader