In 1969 Nissan added a performance-laden letter ‘R’ to the Nissan Skyline GT. This rejigged Skyline was the first of the ‘Godzilla’ legends that we know today. The current R35 GT-R was launched in 2007, with an updated edition of the car released every year since then. Ten years on and the GT-R has aged more gracefully than anyone thought it would.
Your first meeting with the GT-R is intimidating. The lines are sharp; made to scythe through the air rather than move under it. Nissan’s GT-R doesn’t grin at you like a Ferrari or stare, wide-eyed like a Porsche. The GT-R glares with fierce intent.
Press the gleaming red Start button and the car forcefully ticks into life as if clearing its throat. The feeling from the driver’s seat is immediately visceral; at no point are you fooled into thinking you’re sitting in anything other than a car with massive potential in the speed department. The GT-R wears no make-up, and it has the work ethic of a Michelin star chef.
Once you mash the accelerator into the footwell, first gear teases with a touch of turbo lag, but by the time that needle hits three grand your skull feels stitched into the headrest. You’re totally connected to a torrential downpour of speed. The steering is wonderfully communicative but light for a car this obnoxious, and this heavy. The GT-R is a 1740kg supercar, but it has the litheness of a ballet dancer paired with the ferocity of Mike Tyson. When you’re forced to bury the brake pedal it’s as though an elephant has been dropped on the roof of the car.
There is a certain brutish charm about the GT-R. Yes, it may lack the social grace that similarly-priced cars have, but it is honest and does what it’s made for with surgical finesse.
All this being said, Godzilla is a supercar anyone can drive. It’s not a skinny car but visibility is comforting and you can trundle about town with relative ease. That is until you take the training wheels off in which case you better have your wits about you.
Every facet of engineering and design in this car has a singular purpose in mind: an intuitive and all-consuming driving experience. The interior of the 2017 GT-R is a quantum leap from previous years but still not the best in the business and the sat nav is prehistoric. The GT-R is not for someone who wants to be cosseted in luxury but a car for the enthusiast, for someone who’s less affected by status and brand and more a lover of pure driving.
This car perfectly encapsulates the difference in thought, style, form and function that separates Japan from the rest of the automotive world. As Nissan's chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura explains: “Symmetry is a western concept, the Japanese are more comfortable with imbalance.”
2017 Nissan GT-R
Engine: 3.8 Litre twin-turbo 24 Valve V6
Transmission: 6 Speed Sequential dual clutch
Output: 408 KW
Maximum Torque: 632 Nm
Acceleration: (0-100km/h) 2.7 sec
Fuel Consumption 8.8 l/100km