Now to the most astonishing aspect of the GT-R, its performance. I drove the car at the Buddh circuit in Delhi and with just limited three laps at the wheel. But before the driving bit let’s focus on the tech it possesses. Now with all that 1.7 tonne plus weight to lug around, the car’s claimed time of 2.7 seconds to 100kmph is ridiculous. But, Nissan has used some unique solutions and it actually uses the weight to its advantage. This is the first and so far the only rear transaxle-based all-wheel drive system for a front engined car with the gearbox sitting at the back.
Unlike most conventional all-wheel drive systems, Nissan has employed two parallel propshafts, with the main shaft providing drive to the gearbox and the rear LSD diff, and the second one is used to send the power back to the front wheels. The transaxle and the dual clutch gearbox weigh nearly 180kg which in turn gives the GT-R the neck bending traction off the line and exiting corners. The GT-R is powered by a bespoke 3.8-litre twin-turbo hand-built engine that makes 542bhp of power.
Tap the throttle and the GT-R vaults off the blocks with an immediate and powerful thrust. The power delivered is explosive, and even short bursts of acceleration are addictive. My instructor had configured the gearbox, dampers and engine to race-mode from the go. It is just remarkable the way this turbo-charged engine builds its revs so cleanly. There is no hang, no lag and you ask of the throttle and the engine delivers in an utterly predictable, linear fashion. Contributing factor to its ferocity and speed is its dual-clutch automatic transmission. The six-speed gearbox is lightning-quick with its shifts and you can use it in manual mode as well. But do remember it only shifts up at the pull of the right paddle, and not automatically.
Along with all that power the Nissan also possess an eye-watering blend of grip, balance and composure, not to mention its steering and traction, both of which are phenomenal. And that’s to say nothing of the car’s most surprising bit – just how easy it is to exploit it. With just three hot laps to spare, I got surprisingly comfortable pushing the GT-R to its limits. All the electronics and the clever AWD system help you extract the best from this Nissan but at the same time it feels natural and well connected. The car displays a remarkable willingness to change direction thanks not only to the quick-geared steering but also the exceptional rigidity of the body structure.
On the smooth-surfaced track, the GT-R turns with a remarkable absence of slack, settling swiftly into bends and feeling controlled and planted, with plenty of grip from its bespoke nitrogen filled Dunlop rubber.If there is anything to criticise about its handling, it’s the GT-R’s tendency to run wide turning into slower corners; but nothing a well-timed lift-off won’t correct, tucking its nose neatly into the corner.