The makers of supercars have become fixated on the lap time their car can obtain at Germany’s Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack. The time at the track seems almost more important than the 0-60, quarter-mile and top speed numbers!
And just how important is getting a good track time? Well, important enough that Nissan camped out for three years in Germany with their GT-R supercar. So far, Nissan has provided an unofficial lap time of 7-minutes 24-seconds for the revised 2012 GT-R. The time is just two-and-one-half seconds faster than the original R35 that first appeared in the United States in 2008. Nissan states that the car is capable of a faster time but that the new GT-R was slowed due to a wet road surface. Regardless, three years of occupation in Germany to gain two-and one-half seconds!
But how fast do we really need to go? Won’t there always be some car that is faster? And what about the ‘other’ aspects of a vehicle such as how it communicates with the driver, interior ergonomics, and even how it looks when it is sitting still (people stopping to admire a vehicle is certainly worth a few 10ths!).
Although the GT-R’s lap time at the Ring did not improve sustainably, the stay in Germany did result in some big differences behind the wheel for the new GT-R compared to last year’s model.
Living in Germany means spending some time running all out on the Autobahn and such taught Nissan’s engineers a few things about suspension dynamics. Thus, the new GT-R has gained new dampers (from the German supplier Bilstein) and new control arms that result in more suspension travel. This results in greater high-speed stability and a better ride on the bumpy Nordschleife.
Furthermore, the 2012 GT-R has additional caster that provides the car with much better steering feel when it is driven at the limit. Also, a revised alignment rids the GT-R of its past steady-state of understeer.
On the exterior the new GT-R has tweaked fascias that help to reduce drag and provide extra cooling to the engine and the front brakes (the discs of which are 0.4 -inch larger in diameter). Ten spoke wheels and LED daytime running lights are the most noticeable exterior updates.
On the inside the GT-R now has seats that are wider and softer but offer greater support. A new Black Edition GT-R includes exclusive Recaro seats.
What supercar is updated without an increase in power? The GT-R is no exception as it receives larger turbo inlets, a freer flow exhaust, and an increase in boost pressure. Thus, the GT-R 3.8-liter V-6 engine now makes 530 hp and 559 ft. lb. of torque vs. the previous 485 hp and 434 ft. lb. The car’s top speed increases from 193 to 197 mph. Last, but not least, a revamped launch control will likely cut a half a second off of the car’s already quick 0-60 mid three second time.
And what about the ‘numbers?’ Well, with a car such as the Nissan GT-R how will it not be about the numbers! However, the car’s Ring lap time aside, the car’s years in Germany have provided it with well required driver involvement and chassis handling that it did not previously have. And such results in more driving enjoyment.
The Nissan GT-R is one of the world’s fastest point A to point B supercars. Next, might it be useful for Nissan to camp out in Italy for a few years to work on inserting some passion into the GT-R’s exterior design and personality?
See the slideshow for photos of the 2012 Nissan GT-R!
Kyle Busch is the author of “Dri the Best for the Price…” He welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site: DriveTheBestBook.com. Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.