It’s all too easy to think of the Nissan GT-R as a blunderbuss – point, and destroy. With that blocky styling and its sheer physical mass, it’s not a car that speaks of finesse, while the staggering magnitude of its performance is old news by now.
Faced with the inevitable, one imagines most Ferrari and Porsche owners simply shrug and say ‘after you’ at this juncture. In essence, it has almost nothing to fear, and certainly nothing to prove.
And why are you reminding me of this now?
Thing is, those crazy peeps at Nissan just cannot leave the GT-R alone. Every year there’s a new round of revisions – a spring rate adjustment here, an aero tweak there. Recent examples include the 45th anniversary special, but since that was little more than a numbered plaque and a gold paint job, there was obviously room for further high-tech tomfoolery.
Hence this £88,560 GT-R Track Edition, which slots into the line-up £10k above the standard car, outfitted with a number of enhancements from the range-topping, £125,000 GT-R Nismo.
So what’s new for the GT-R Track Edition?
Most obvious are the forged Rays alloy wheels, wrapped in the Nismo’s bespoke Dunlop rubber. But it’s the stuff you can’t see that’ll set the local outpost of the JDM, yo! club humping your leg: a Nismo suspension set-up and the big dog GT-R Nismo’s reinforced body structure, which features adhesive bonding in addition to the usual spot welds.
What you don’t get is the Nismo’s carbon bodywork modification, nor its 592bhp; the Track Edition has to make do with the regular 542bhp version of the 3.8-litre twin-turbo. For shame.
Is this another pointless upgrade then?
Far from it. Be assured that even the standard power output remains enough to keep you interested – a thunderous industrial dirge giving notice that rearranging organs and baiting police helicopters remain the GT-R’s prime directive. Here, though, it’s the other augmentation that beg closer scrutiny.
Miraculously, basic ride quality has suffered not at all despite the retuned dampers and thinly veiled intent of the thicker, hollow rear anti-roll bar, stiffer wheel-hub attachments and new links on the front wishbones.
Yet, with greater body rigidity, reduced unsprung weight and an underlying sense that the dampers have a better idea of what they’re doing, this GT-R is a tauter, more focused experience. Albeit one that tramlines and nibbles at surface imperfections in a manner that makes damp and greasy conditions a tad more thought-provoking than you might imagine, given the near-sentient reputation of the GT-R’s four-wheel drive.
But this in itself is a triumph, for it conspires to make this most imperious of supercars feel more involving. Instead of merely pulling the trigger, on the road in the Track Edition you occasionally have to activate a brain cell or two and consider the consequences – forcing you to engage with the GT-R to an extent that hasn’t always been a necessity in the past. Thus throwing the gobsmacking brutality of the drivetrain into even sharper relief.
We can’t help thinking that everyone who wants a GT-R has probably got one by now, and perceptibly effective – not to mention good value – though the Track Pack’s modifications are, it’s surely only going to be of significant interest to existing owners looking to upgrade. And even such committed enthusiasts might be getting a little tired of how old the interior is starting to feel. Come on Nissan, stop fiddling and hurry along an entirely new one.