- Incredible all-wheel-drive grip and composure
- Rapid-fire dual-clutch shifts
- Rocket-ship acceleration
- Even with a six-figure price, it's still a performance value
- Lavish leather interior
- A supercar, but the look still says supertuner
- Expensive for its brand
- Big price hikes every year
With sub-3.0-second 0 to 60 mph times and an advanced all-wheel-drive system, the 2017 Nissan GT-R delivers supercar track performance in what has become a fairly refined package.
The 2017 GT-R ranks as one of the world's top-performing production cars. With its front-engine, all-wheel-drive layout, it offers immense capability and accessible performance, and it's pretty much a class of one.
It gets a 7.4 overall from us based on its remarkable performance and great features. There's room for improvement in styling and comfort, which is par for the course for many supercars. It doesn't need anything when it comes to performance, not with a sub-3-second run to 60 mph and a top end over 200 mph. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For 2017, the GT-R gets its most extensive update since the so-called R35 generation debuted as a 2007 model (we received it in the United States in 2009). Performance fans will care that "Godzilla" adds 20 horsepower, but it also gets revised styling front and rear, a new infotainment system, an extensively updated interior, and new levels of refinement.
Styling and performance
Objectively, few cars come close to the GT-R's 0-60 mph times of less than 3.0 seconds, or its brilliant all-wheel-drive handling. It delivers blistering acceleration, hooking up perfectly with awe-inspiring traction from the GT-R's brainy all-wheel-drive system. But this isn't a car just meant to go in a straight line. A rigid body structure, special springs, and custom-developed Bilstein DampTronic dampers help balance ride with track-ready handling. The all-wheel-drive system aids handling, too; rear-biased, it can send all the power to the rear wheels, or up to 50 percent of it to the fronts. Nissan also provides several drive modes, including an R, or Race, mode to tune the driving character to the conditions.
On the road, the GT-R isn't the same raw beast it once was. While Nissan engineers have raised the power on an almost annual basis, they've also dialed in more refinement, improving steering, ride, and interior quality along the way, and the 2017 model is the smoothest yet. That makes the current GT-R fairly easy to live with given its supercar capabilities.
The GT-R's looks have indeed always been controversial—part edgy performance car, part exotic, part race-influenced. Its jagged outline is perhaps the only non-sequitur; it reads more tuner car, more body kit, than instant classic. The components cut interesting swaths across its luxury-coupe outline: a tomahawk cut at the roofline chops into the rear end.
Design changes for 2017 include a version of Nissan's "V-Motion" grille, a revised front lip spoiler and bumper, more pronounced character lines on the hood (which is also sturdier so it won't deform at high speeds), side sills pushed outward, new 20-inch wheels, and functional vents next to the quad exhaust tips. Nissan says these changes make the car more stable at high speeds while maintaining the same 0.26 coefficient of drag.
Comfort, safety, and features
With four seats, the Nissan GT-R makes rare concessions to practicality. It's almost impossible to name another supercar with a pair of rear seats, other than the Porsche 911 Turbo—and the GT-R's will actually accommodate a pair of kids. There's great, usable space in the GT-R's front seats, as well as a useful trunk.
Changes for 2017 bring the interior considerably upscale. The instrument panel and many of the touch surfaces are now wrapped in Nappa leather. Nissan has made the GT-R quieter inside by adding more sound deadener and an acoustic glass windshield. Active noise cancellation carries over. The result is Infiniti-grade luxury in a car with NASA-grade acceleration. These updates tune some of the road noise and "mechanical charm" out of the GT-R, but we're happy that it's not too raw and it still sounds something like a land jet.
Also inside, an 8.0-inch touchscreen replaces a 7.0-inch unit, and the number of knobs and switches is reduced from 27 to 11. A Display Command controller is added to the center console, and the car gets the NissanConnect system with navigation and access to mobile apps.
Value is the other rather surprising side of the GT-R's appeal. Prices have risen $111,585 to start for the lone Premium model, but you'd have to spend a lot more to sling yourself to 60 mph any faster on four wheels. An even more track-focused Nismo model will arrive later in the year, and two more models are due as well, perhaps even a lower-priced base model.
As it stands, the GT-R commands respect from a cadre of cars straight out of the exotic section—cars like the 911 Turbo, Corvette Z06, and practically the entire Mercedes AMG and BMW M lineups. Key it to life, and your attention needs to be laser-focused, even though it's one of the most predictable supercars ever. You'll roll up into triple-digits speeds—even in sweeping corners—before you can catch your breath.