Matthew Jones07 November 2011

The 2012 Nissan GT-R

Still looks the same. Still (relatively) cheap. And now even faster…

We do love the GT-R. Maybe even a bit inappropriately. Which is why we're quite excited about Nissan's third and latest revision of its fiendishly quick flagship.

The outgoing twin-turbo V6-powered 530ps monster was a car that Jeremy described as "beyond-belief quick". But the new ‘uns even quicker. Power's up 20ps to 550ps and torque's increased to 623nm (20nm more than the last one). That whittles the 0-62mph time down from 3.0 seconds to 2.8. TWO POINT EIGHT. That's 0.1 seconds faster than a Lamborghini Aventador. 

This isn't a sneaky ECU-n-exhaust job, either. For the first time since it left the European launch pad in 2009, the 3.8-litre engine's been uprated mechanically. In the pursuit of a crisper throttle response there are tweaked cylinder heads, a reworked inlet manifold and new sodium-filled valves. It's also dragged fuel economy up from a dismal 23.5mpg to an ever so slightly less dismal 24mpg.

Nissan also seems to have had a go at addressing its disinclination to absorb Britain's deeply, deeply rubbish roads. TG Mag's long-term GT-R custodian, Tom Ford, says: "It had an absolutely tooth-cracking ride. It feels like they need to soften off the damping and twiddle with the spring rates." Which they've sort of done - the dampers have got new programming and the springs have been slightly revised.

There's other exciting sprung stuff, too - there are different spring rates and rear suspension geometries from one side to the other to account for the driver's mass.

Another defining characteristic of the GT-R's been tightened up, too - the stupid-fast double-clutch, paddle-shift transmission. The shift fork's been strengthened and there's firmer fixing bearing for the flywheel housing. Which will relieve our Mr. Ford - his car's gearbox failed, necessitating a technician to be flown in from Japan to make amends.

Which is where, save for a sensor position change here and blue tachometer backlight there, the differences end. Outside, there are some new led lamps and lightly remoulded bumpers, but otherwise it's a facsimile of the 2011 model. And if you're endowed with eyes, you'll know that's no bad thing.

But, on the press release, hidden underneath lots of extraneous information about sound systems and rear-view cameras (now standard, fact fans) there's a cursory mention of an even more acerbic track-spec variant. Information's scant, but we know it'll be right-hand drive only, wear lighter wheels from the SpecV, have stiffer suspension, no rear seat and a new front carbon splitter that channels air to the brakes, cooling them under hard use.

Pricing for the terror-spec track version's predictably absent, but the tinkered 2012 model's expected to climb up to £75,000 from £71,950. A lot for a Datsun, but not a lot for a car that's performance is only rivaled by mid-engined Italian supercars.

Now, TopGear.commists - answer us this. After driving the last one, James said "I think I should have one of these." Do you think he still will?

And while you're pondering your answer, have a look at May playing with the launch control during a filming break in our last series...

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