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Nissan GT-R
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Nissan GT-R driven

Driven November 2010

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It's a well-known (albeit completely made-up) fact that 41 percent of all traffic on the worldwide web concerns the Nissan GT-R. And now that Nissan is launching an improved version of the unimprovable supercar, it's obviously vital that TopGear.com adds to the chat-storm.

However, in direct contravention of all internet custom and practice, we have facts and direct experience to bring to bear.
 
The 2011 GT-R's engine is fettled to 530bhp. That's an improvement of nine percent. I always think five percent isn't really enough to be noticeable (and, in fact, with many cars it disappears within individual engine-to-engine tolerances). But nine percent? Yes, you can feel it.

This is proper old-school tuning, by the way, not just re-chipping. There are new intake and exhaust systems, so more oxygen is passed through the cylinders, making it worth pumping in more fuel for a bigger bang.

The result is an alteration - almost a transformation - in the engine's character. There's the same mid-rev lunge as before, but it's backed up by a wilder and crazier race for the red-line now. So the delivery feels more progressive, more predictable. And at the same time more skull-shattering.

The day I drove the car, the roads were biblically wet. Sorry, then, but I'm going to refrain from commenting on the chassis changes. There's a new carbon-fibre brace across the engine bay, new dampers, new tyres and slightly different suspension geometry. The aim is to give more feel from the front end. I couldn't tell.

But the new seats are nicer and the mildly freshened cabin has a more expensive aura. The dash looks like it was designed by one team, rather than a collection of individuals who were each given a few square inches to work on.

This all matters because the new GT-R brings with it a socking great price rise of £10k, to £69,950. Is Nissan being greedy? Probably not. Can you imagine Porsche giving you 55 ponies for £10k? And in other mitigation, the Japanese Yen has taken a bath since the original GT-R was launched. And the new price includes VAT at the higher rate of 20 percent, so buying a GT-R contributes more to our nation's schools and hospitals.

By the way, for the usual third-hand gossip, idle speculation and pointless flame wars, just type 'Godzilla' into any search engine. You will be told that the new GT-R has a refinement to the 4WD systems that puts it into 2WD for low-speed parking, which takes away some of the jerking and creaking of the transmission. This is a fact. You will also be told that there is a cheat mode to engage this RWD-only configuration at all speeds, for enhanced drift action. This, like 63 percent of all GT-R facts on the web, is complete cobblers.

And yes, 63 percent is another invented number.

Paul Horrell

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