It was around the third or fourth turn, as I cornered the 2017 Nissan GT-R on a tight canyon road high above the cliffs of Malibu, that it hit me: This thing is utterly mind-boggling. Not in the purely figurative sense, but mind-boggling in a literal way that leaves one open to the possibility that, just maybe, there’s some mysterious place in the universe where mind can control matter. Such is the power of the latest iteration of the famed Japanese car also known by the nickname Godzilla. Fans of the massively popular and pioneering driving video game Gran Turismo may also know earlier models of the GT-R as the Skyline, which partially explains why I caught so many Los Angeles millennials drooling over the car.
This wasn’t my first time driving a GT-R. I recall trying to contain my excitement after tackling a few Michigan back roads in the outgoing model some years ago. But the 2017 GT-R is far more exhilarating.
Much of that can be credited to a stiffer frame, which improves the car’s handling in situations that call for tricky maneuvering. The GT-R’s award-winning twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 engine has also increased by 20 horsepower, for a total of 565 hp, which allows for quicker acceleration when you hammer down on the gas pedal. All that power is perfectly balanced by one of the most revolutionary all-wheel-drive systems in the game, leading to unparalleled confidence on the road. The GT-R’s six-speed dual-clutch transmission has been refined for smoother shifting in normal city driving, but it’s clear that the beast, which starts around $110,000, is most comfortable revving at higher speeds.
Cosmetically, the 2017 GT-R has an entirely overhauled face and hood, redesigned to improve the car’s overall performance. And the interior has undergone upgraded modifications as well, including a new dashboard and an eight-inch touch screen, creating a more premium luxury feel. Still, it’s the intoxicating, thrilling feeling I get when pushing the GT-R through a wicked turn that sells me on the idea that there’s so much more to this super-car than its sheer power.