Deceiving Impressions

Impressions can be deceiving . . .or not! The Nissan Skyline GT-R, just launched in its 2012 guise, is exactly what it looks like, a monster muscle car with neck-snapping acceleration and more hooligan attitude than a bunch of lager-fuelled British football supporters.

For the record the 2012 version will not annoy 2011 owners as there are no exterior changes and the revisions are engine and suspension related, where power is up by 7 kW but, more significantly, the 628 Nm of torque is tweaked so the mid-range offers so much more instant response when overtaking grunt is needed – and that is rather often.

Since Nissan launched the first version locally, some 222 have been delivered and 30 more are on the way, the GT-R available only on a firm order being placed.

The 3,8-litre twin turbo-charged 24-valve V6 engine fitted to the GT-R develops 397 kW of power at 6 400 r/min and offers that 628 Nm of torque between 3 200 r/min and 5 800 r/min. It also features continuously variable valve timing and an aluminum cylinder block with high endurance/low-friction plasma-sprayed bores and aluminium pistons.

In the latest version overall fuel consumption has been improved and ‘normal’ use claims are for 8,8 l/100 km – which brings us back to the deceiving impression.

Not the usual fare for fleet use, but if the Chairman wants something that makes a statement, this is it. The point being while it is a muscle car, does 315 km/h and sticks to the road like Pravin Ghordan to your wallet, it is still easily driveable as a go-to-work car.

So, while stuck behind the blue-rinse lady in the 10-year-old Tazz, said Chairman can get to enjoy the chooglin’ boogie of the V6, hear the latest news on the radio, take hands-free phone calls and do all the things that would be done in any other luxury car.

Even when it comes times to whoosh past the blue-rinse lady, the GT-R will accelerate quite sedately, stay within all norms and bound and make the pass – even though, when required it will launch from rest to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds. Making this even more enthralling is the fact the car comes with launch control – press the button, hold the brake, floor the throttle and release – (screaming with joy is absolutely permissable).

The GT-R has several setup options from purely comfort to racetrack and these change suspension, response and gear shifts all depending on what the driver wants from the car. Ideally it requires smooth tarmac surfaces and, when found, it is so soul-satisfying to explore the monumental levels of grip from the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres (255/40 ZRF20 in front and 285/35 ZRF20 rear).

The all-wheel drive GT-R also features an asymmetric suspension setup where the weight of the driver is considered as the propellor shaft is located right of centre. Considering this, the setup improves the balance of the vertical load on the four tyres, ensure it stays put.

Sadly, our rural roads are not the best and going quickly, even on Comfort, means quite a lot of work in the cockpit dealing with the feedback through the steering, with each ripple felt. This does not make the car unstable, it just means the driver has to stay wide-awake.

But the, who on earthy would want to get dozy behind the wheel of a car that simply emphasises all the reasons I am a petrolhead.

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Colin Windell

Colin Windell is an apprentice retiree, petrolhead, rock music addict, lover of fine food and has been writing about cars for more than 40 years.

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