In 2007 chief engineer Katzutoshi Mizuno promised the world that the first 480-horsepower, 430 pound-foot of torque twin-turbocharged Nissan Gt R
was just the beginning and that three years down the road, things would start to get even more interesting. Three years -- and upwards of seven distinct road going iterations later -- Mizuno-san has lived up to his promise.
Late last year, the first major update to what is largely considered one of the Japan’s most technically advanced super cars arrived in domestic dealers. Not only is it more powerful with 530 horsepower available at 6400 rpm and 448 pound-feet of torque coming on at 5200 rpm (as a result of a raised turbo boost pressure to 13 psi from 11 psi, revised valve timing, air mixture ratio, less restrictive air intake, exhaust, and catalytic converter), but it is more refined thanks to a litany of suspension, driveline, and exterior improvements.
This month, the latest 2012 NISSAN GT R
arrived in America for media poking, prodding, and driving ahead of its February on sale date. Of course, we were there for all the action. And so was Mizuno-san, his dedicated team of skilled technicians, and a trio of engineers from Dunlop, now the car’s sole high performance tire supplier.
Prior to our spirited runs on California’s central coast roads -- and some speedy episodes on Buttonwillow Raceway’s West Loop -- Mizuno-san pointed out major changes:
Beginning at the front, the lower chin spoiler extends slightly to improve downforce. To either side of the gaping lower air intake (which feeds and cools the twin intercoolers) reside a trio of canards (with LED daytime running lights) that better deflect passing air around the car and improve downforce.
The upper front grille grows wider in order to give the car more visual girth, while at the same time assists in cooling the 3.8-liter VR38DETT engine. (Radiator temperatures during high-speed Nürburgring development tests, for example, were 50 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. There is also a bigger thermostat onboard.)