Buckle up and get a firm grip on the new leather-bound steering wheel to prepare yourself for a lickety-split wild ride test of the 2017 GT-R 2+2 super sports coupe by Nissan in a fresh incarnation of a legendary vehicle which traces clear back to 1969 with the Skyline GT-R sedan.
By 1989 Nissan created a GT-R edition for the Skyline coupe known as the R32 and it stocked a twin-turbo 6-pack engine and a traction system which distributed the engine's output to all four wheels. A subsequent version labeled R33 GT-R became the first production car to cover the 14-mile rollercoaster track of Germany's Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in less than eight minutes. And a decade ago the R34 GT-R achieved cult status with American fans as Japan's iconic supercar through the video game "Gran Turismo" and street-racing movies like "The Fast and the Furious" series.
Then Nissan launched the 2009 all-wheel-drive GT-R as a wedge-shaped 2-door and 4-seat GT coupe constructed from carbon fiber, aluminum and steel with massive speed-rated rubber rollers on the ground and an awesome twin-turbo V6 tucked below the extended front hood.
Now the 2017 GT-R lands in North America as a Generation 2.0 makeover with revised body styling including a new hood and V-motion grille, a more rigid body structure and new suspension linking to new 20-inch forged aluminum wheels for improved stability in motion, a redesigned premium cockpit suiting a high-performance super sports car, and a power boost for the handcrafted twin-turbo engine.
Erected on a 109.4-inch wheelbase, the 2017 GT-R stretches for 185.4 inches long by 74.6 inches wide and rises only to 53.9 inches high.
Note the aggressive shape of the package: The exaggerated prow carries an integrated chin spoiler and aerodynamic underbody diffuser with sharp blade-like fenders bulging over the big wheels and big vents carved into the trailing edges of the forward fenders. These functional vents are designed to apply downforce air pressure on the front wheels when the car runs at high speed.
The roof of the GT-R is a thin canopy flowing downward from the windshield toward the stubby tail and seems to float above a narrow wrap of darkly tinted window glass. And the low side sills have been pushed out to direct air flow around the vehicle.
The rump is curt and simple in design with a tail-deck spoiler wing, four round articulated LED (light-emitting diode) lamps and four big chrome-tipped exhaust pipes with new side air vents set next to the quad exhaust tips and a silver-finish underbody diffuser.
The GT-R platform mounts the motor up front yet behind the front wheels and moves the transmission, transfer case and final drive mechanism to the back but ahead of the rear wheels. This arrangement incorporates an independent rear transaxle so each rear axle can manage tire grip without bias from the other.
Heart of the GT-R has to be the VR38DETT, a new hand-built 3.8-liter V6 engine with symmetrical independent intake and exhaust manifold fitted with twin turbo-chargers. This high-tech plant produces 565 hp at 6800 rpm and 467 lb-ft of torque between 3300 and 5800 rpm.
The 6-speed transmission in a dual-clutch gearbox uses that rear transaxle and AWD transfer case.
GT-R's smart electronically controlled AWD equipment is able to distribute the engine's torque in amounts which vary with the pavement conditions (smooth or rough, wet or dry) and a particular driver's intensity. That torque division could be 50:50 (front/rear) to assure good tire grip on wet pavement or slippery snow, or a split of 0:100 (front/rear) for optimum acceleration on dry pavement from a standing start.
The 2017 GT-R is supercar quick, zipping to 60 mph in an official measured time of merely 2.7 seconds.
The GT-R cockpit is a cozy space with two bolstered bucket seats in front of two carved rear seats.
A redesigned dashboard features an instrument panel wrapped in one seamless piece of hand-selected Nappa leather. Integrated navigation and audio controls cluster in the center dash with an 8-inch touch-panel monitor and a new Display Command controller pinned to the carbon-fiber center console.
Nissan imports the 2017 GT-R to North America in GT-R Premium trim. The MSRP for the 2017 GT-R Premium hits $109,990.