The New GT-R, Unveiled At Nissan HQ
The New, Not-So-New GT-R

The new GT-R has arrived! Well, new in the sense of a refresh at least, but this is the car that Nissan is using to ‘fill the gap’ until the much-rumoured real replacement arrives in around 2020. Given that the R35 has been in production for close to nine years now, and throughout that period has had to fight off competitors’ cars that continue to get faster and better with every iteration, Nissan really has its work cut out.

After the 2017 GT-R’s launch at the New York International Auto Show the other week, I received an invitation from the kind folks at Nissan Japan for the domestic unveiling of the car. Given that it’s essentially an update version and I already knew what to expect, it was nothing to get overly excited about, but what I wanted to do is gauge for myself if the changes made to Nissan’s flagship machine really do manage to keep it current in the supercar genre.


With Mizuno-san now retired from Nissan, it’s up to Hiroshi Tamura to ensure the GT-R continues to entice enthusiasts for years to come, and I honestly think there could be no better man for the job. This is the guy that was behind the R34 close to 20 years ago, and is a true petrol-head who has a tuned GT-R of his own. But he’s got a tough job ahead, as despite probably wanting to build a wide-body, all-carbon 800hp beast to destroy everything out there, he must align his ideas to that of a big company preoccupied with making soul-sucking, CVT-equipped hybrid transportation devices. But what sets Nissan aside from some other Japanese automakers, is that it knows the GT-R must exist; it brings strength to the brand and allows it sell commuter cars that turn profits.


What really helps Nissan out with this refreshed GT-R model, is that the R35 was so good back in 2007. In other words, it still has potential to be exploited – at least mechanically. I think that’s why no significant changes were made in the powertrain this time around; all of the attention was given to the areas that really needed it. The look has been sharpened up with a new grille design that aids in both cooling and aerodynamics, and the addition of small lateral side intakes.


There’s a more profiled edge to the sides of the nose and a redesigned lip spoiler design that’s then carried over to the side skirts.


The 2017 R35 also receives redesigned wheels, but they’re nothing too mind-blowing. Nissan probably knows most people fit aftermarket wheels anyway.


The back-lit blades running through the headlights that were first introduced in the last revision remain, albeit now joined by a more compact LED DRL setup in the front bumper’s side intakes.


The rear end borrows its bumper from the Nismo version and features extended edges to help clean up the air flow.


You can get a better idea of what that looks like from this angle. The afterburner taillights are a carryover from the previous refresh.


The metallic blue car was also fitted with the optional carbon spoiler; a very nice touch but one that’s been on offer for some time.

A Breath Of Fresh Air

While the exterior upgrades are nice, it was the interior I was most interested in. This is where Nissan really spent most of its development money – and it really shows. The redesigned steering wheel, now with paddles that move with it rather than being fixed, as well as an updated center console and transmission tunnel design pretty much transform what had become a very dated-looking cabin.


The overall feeling I got from the interior was that it just felt far more upmarket and modern in layout, with better ergonomics and higher quality materials. Plus, lots of carbon fiber always works!


The center console has been cleaned up significantly; the vents and A/C controls actually remind me of the ones used in the the R34. Tamura-san at work here, maybe? Good man! The start/stop button is the same, just relocated in a more intelligent position. It’s the same story for the drivetrain, suspension and stability control toggle switches, which also benefit from a more modern fascia.


The LCD monitor that since the BNR34 have defined the GT-R’s interior has been updated with cleaner and more easy-to-read buttons and knobs. Curiously, apart from the car on stage, this domestic market launch didn’t have any right-hand drive cars, and the navigation systems seemed to think that Yokohama was central London! I had a play through the various menus once I exited the gauge section of the display, and it all looks much better laid out and intuitive, bringing it in line with the newer models in Nissan’s line-up.


The seats have a new stitching motif, but they remain the same, and unfortunately still mounted far too high for tall people to get comfortable ‘in’ the car, as opposed to feeling like they’re sitting on it. Hopefully Nissan doesn’t make the same mistake with the R35 replacement.


Color-wise, interiors can be specced in a few ways: from the more sedate black and black/red leather, to this new brick tone which looks really striking up close. It’s very much in line with the whole push toward refining the driving experience and making things more comfortable.


Door cards are something that I’ve always thought Nissan has really nailed, and here’s why. The lower carpeted section is a must-have on any car I think, but especially so on coupes with massive long doors that always force you to run your shoes against them as you get in and out of tight spaces (i.e. everywhere in Japan).

Lineage Counts

The GT-R’s lineage was nicely laid out on this display board that highlighted the main points of each of the six GT-Rs since the very first in 1969.


Can you guess which one I liked the best?


Overseeing the whole presentation were two important race cars, serving to highlight that all-important motorsports link the GT-R has always had.


The R35 Super GT car was great and all, but the legendary blue Impul-Calsonic BNR32 Group A racer is what most members of the Japanese press were identifying with.


Look at this thing! It’s just so brutally aggressive; a completely stock body, but totally functional with big slicks barely contained at each corner by the pumped arches. And that crazy negative camber up front: onikyan what?!


The R32 iteration is the one that turned the GT-R from a sports car into a true supercar-slayer, and the rest is history.


But what about the ‘new’ GT-R’s performance? Will it be able to fence off rivals for years to come? That’s something that remains to be seen, because its 565hp is deployed in such a physics-defying way that the R35 is much more capable than what the figure suggests.


Absolutely nothing has been changed under the hood – visibly at least. The VR38DETT has mustered up a tad more power and torque thanks to a little more boost and a refinement in engine management, and it also exhales through a titanium exhaust which apparently sounds better. However, Nissan still saw the need to add Active Sound Enhancement, which is precisely what you think it is. On a GT-R… It doesn’t say much for the VR38’s V6-drone-like sound, does it? The system also nulls harsh frequencies in the cabin, so it does have its place I guess.


Sorry , there is one new addition to the bay: AMG-esque tags for the artisan that hand-build the car’s engine. There has also been some refinement in the transmission apparently; previously the one aspect that made the GT-R feel very ‘last generation’ compared to fresher dual-clutch transmissions from BMW and Porsche. Shifts are smoother and some of the clunks that the transaxle has become famous for have been quietened down. Mind you, that’s what Nissan has said with every update since 2007, and I’ve never felt any negligible difference myself.


I’ll be able to give you more info on that once I get to sample the car later in the year, but right now all I am thinking about is what the Nismo version will be like. With a push to make the base car quieter, more refined and overall nicer to drive on a daily basis, surely there is now a more defined space for a focused Nismo car? I certainly hope so. I know Tamura-san knows it too. Only time will tell whether or not he’s been able to sell idea to the members of the board at Nissan…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

No idea why but I've really taken a liking to BCNR33's lately


LukeEVOVIII you like boats - thats fine , i love MNP R33 GTRs


I like the new design but the old design still looks good, if I had the money I would buy the older one and spend the difference on bolt ons and of course fuel :)

Perhaps they should of made a convertible instead of a facelift, it wouldn't be faster but boy would it look good and sell well to the rich, sort of a gallardo convertible competitor.

turbo BEAMS ae86

that silver look villanous
interior:  highly pleasing

But i still love  all, even 2008


I really want something new...when can we have a R36 please?


racerlordheiman  2020


What if, just what if, Tamura-san (note: and he'll be able to convince the board for the go-ahead) is able to go crazy on the Nismo version with stuff like a free optional rear seat delete, optional rollcage, and I don't know, maybe a collaboration with Mine's to create a 1000+hp monster? I've been hoping for a long time that the R35 will be able to stand it's ground in factory spec against other likewise performance cars, like the ACR and the GT3 RS.


Looks like a really tacky bodykit imo.


raidensnakeezio racerlordheiman
You mean the Vision Gran Turismo is the R36?


The dash looks very 80s. You could almost call it retro. Especially black with red stitching. Front looks nicer than before though faux vent are not cool on a GTR


I agree aith the "80s" opinion... I think it's the blockiness. And is it just me or does the new front bumper look very Toyota-like? I didn't like the look of the original R35 at first either, but it has grown on me over the years. Maybe this will.


looks absolutely menacing as with all GT-R's, but I have to agree with Dino, the R34 is still one of the best

Dimitry Mochkin

Fun stuff! After reading this I have decided to find more info on Impul-Calsonic R32. After reading a very dry article about Impul and Calsonic on wikipedia I found a picture on a forum. A picture that had both the Calsonic R32 and the Taisan Porsche featured recently - ready to duke it out in the best way cars can.


Speedhunters #ВернитеМнеМой2007


Speedhunters I need more money.


I absolutely adorable the Impul-Calsonic R32 -Especially in that configuration shown


They took some design features from LFA and I love it.


Speedhunters I'll take one in Midnignt Purple please! #MoneyWellSpent


I want to like it...but, I can't. It just seems visually distasteful and over-processed.


I'd rather have the shifter paddles fixed... But I'm probably the only one.


@BaysideBlueBoy  If it had to be flappy-paddles, I agree.


Give me that Calsonic R32 Over any car in world... ANY!!!! I'd take that....


I wonder if this one will be able to beat a new corvette with a little over half the sticker price. Doubtful. Nice car but get real Nissan.


I like this GT-R, especially the new aero additions. It's great how the engineers try to extract the performance with each iteration of this generation.


No corvette has yet beaten the nismo edition so not sure what you on about mate.


I think it's a good improvement in everyday apart from cringe worthy "sound enchantment".


BigTmoneyD A Corvette is like a McDonalds compared to Nissan's 4 star Restaurant. I say 4 star as the Prancing horses and some of the other European supercars take the 5 star cake, but the Nissan still punches far above it's weight for it. While the Corvette also does that it still feels like a cheap plastic thing every day, unlike the Nissan.


the godzilla is a real beast that you gotta love but its worringly becoming outdated an eight speed gear box and some torque  700nm+ would keep it above its rivals that are constantly evolving


finally got the paddles right! I just never understood why they didn't move with the wheel. As soon as I jumped in one, the paddles were immediately odd


racerlordheiman raidensnakeezio that's supposed to be the idea.  the gran turismo team was actually the group which designed the digital gage cluster above the instatement panel.  the vision 2020 vgt is basically a virtually functional prototype to see what Nissan can do with a new platform.


LukeEVOVIII i have the same thing going on.  i personally love them in silver or white.  the nismo r-tune r33 is absolutely sinister.


Still a near decade old platform... Regardless, I find it funny how other companies are trying so hard with their newer platforms to compete with something that's due for a replacement.  I'm glad Tamura has taken over for his knowledge and tuning of past GTRs. Just a side note for anyone that doesn't know why he is beneficial, his R32 GTR bares the sticker of the Midnight Club.


BigTmoneyD  Ya but its still a Corvette.


raidensnakeezio Nismo is its own entity to I doubt they would bring outside tuners like Mine's. IMO it will get more extreme, it has to, but probably not that much on engine I imagine more on weight saving and making it look more like a stripped out track car.


CyborgGT It does, that's probably why I like it. As for exterior, Toyota like? Maybe, but who cares lets wait for the Nismo


mikum Amen


Dimitry Mochkin Superb find!


shark87 Damn now that you've said it I can't un-see it lol


@BaysideBlueBoy you mean you don't want them ?


Thommo Ditto


BigTmoneyD Beat what? Half? Uh?


Gary89 Everyone is doing it, they can't be left behind I suppose. That V6 needs it though, it's no RB is it


@skyline agree


@TrixX BigTmoneyD Only in America is the GTR considered anything other than a Nissan. In fact it's rep is nearly exactly the same as the Vett's. CHEAP speed. Except the Vett certifiably does it better....because CHEAP SPEED!


JeremieSunico Yes, not that he wants anyone to know! He's also the guy that came up with the Bayside Blue color for the R34 GT-R. He took the paint samples to Daikoku PA and checked how the color looked under the lights at night. Wanted to call it Wangan Blue but Nissan freaked out as it sounded way too much like a reference to the illegal racing scene that was still going on in 1998. So they just translated it to english wangano -->> bay side


iProGam3r GT-R and convertible is like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole, imho.


Speedhunters I absolutely love it!


Those seats were the most hated aspect of the R35 for me. I still cannot believe that Nissan insists on fitting those behemoths inside the small cabin, thus robbing the back seat passengers of critical knee room. Hopefully Nismo comes with a set of manually adjusted, grippy clots, buckets, thus shave off a lot of weight of this too heavy car. 
Love the looks and the interior - really a huge move in the right direction.


speedhunters_dino There are plenty of people that don't want them - imagine this thing with a 6spd - it would be epic. Shave some weight off too and you would have a purists wet dream.


Thanks for the Wallpaper Fest Dino!


There is a internet show called head 2 head where they do a shootout between a gtr and a vette. I recomend everyone check it out before making judgement.


Youtube would disagree


BigTmoneyD I recommend everyone to test drive their before making judgement. It's a matter of personal preference after all, just like any other consuming choice.


When the R35 debuted, I was appalled by its appearance, but that freshened nose is the first use of Nissan's current design language that actually makes the car look better (especially in that silver).

I hate to say it, but the R35 is growing on me. It's amazing how a few little tweaks can change your whole attitude.


I'm pretty sure most R35 buyers keep the original wheels.


Speedhunters I love it!U0001f60d


speedhunters_dino That's a great fun fact, I never knew that. It all makes sense now.


I'll drive my S13 if u want something purely mechanical, the GTR is about being at the edge of performance, blending mechanical and digital to give amazing performance.


Front end is too busy now.


Yeah, I get that. Not everyone wants to drive a computer even if it's a bit faster. Nissan doesn't care for a future in Z and S chassis.


I'm fairly partial to the new look that they have given it, but the piece that really grinds me wrong is that U-shaped chrome piece that they have been desperately trying to tie into the grill of every car they have. Something about it just seems so unprofessional, and just shouts "hey, we're sweating at the collars as to how to create an image for our brand, so whatever - here goes". It might be just that I have a personal preference against it, and that is all that it is. Besides, Mike already gave a very thorough look into Nissan's misgivings.

Branding nuances aside, the R35 has had a very storied journey, and I'm pleased with the last iteration of the model before it gives way to the R36. Now, if only they continued with the Skyline family in a (more-so) affordable sports car line, and I am not looking at you Eau Rouge-less Q50.


Small point, but hasn't the engine always had a "hand built by" plaque?


Nah lots of people go with Rays, BBS, and other brands....


good car for the race and I'm sure very fast


The two extra intakes are kinda like Zele's front bumper.


the car was very good 
really really like to see the car that shiny new car fits like made ​​for walking trailsthe car was very good" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> and very fast" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> mix of colors" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> from which to" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> make want pobud see hatnya" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> kecepatanya" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> was very nice ," rel="dofollow" target="_blank">  suitable for a "" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> sharp bend or not sharp I guess motorists like this is" very skilled in the speed I hope I can membilinya someday will whether there are new cars are better I" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> 'll wait for it , with a stylish car classic" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> style I" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> also like" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> to see would be whether there is a" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> car that is as fast and forius like in the " movie , the car very good car designed a way apparently hopefully there will be new cars more good and the price is quite pantastis then chances are I can membilinya the same as you have at this time