Inside, there is a fantastic suede-ish-covered steering wheel and new Recaro seats that offer brilliant lateral support. The interior got a host of upgrades in 2017, with plenty of carbonfibre on display and some nicely stitched leather. And the retention of analogue instruments and the presence of plenty of other physical buttons mean that, although visually ageing, it remains more usable than some cars in which controls have migrated to an all-seeing digital system.
The price is pretty modern, mind. In 2015, the Nismo started at around £125,000, which had increased to £149,995 by 2017 and, well, look away now for your 2021 costs. The new Nismo is £180,095.
But, then, it’s a supercar, isn’t it? Well. I don’t know. Supercars have two seats and an engine in the middle and the GT-R is not like that. It’s also 1703kg, yet it’s not as plush as, say, an Aston Martin, nor as compact as a Porsche 911. It’s a car that almost sits in its own class and that’s reflected by the way it drives.
It is hard and intense. There are different modes for the dampers, including Comfort, which I think might have been called that as a joke. The GT-R Nismo is not a comfortable car, grumbling over surface imperfections and sometimes when there aren’t surface imperfections, either. But it does get better as you go faster.
So, too, does the steering. At normal road speeds, it’s quite light and there’s a little bit of nothing just off straight-ahead, but then as you steer a few more degrees, a lot happens quite quickly.
Disconcerting, but again better if you go faster, where it’s heavier and less nervy and starts to transmit road feel. The brakes are good at any speed, but the best pedal feel comes when the discs are warm. Under harder braking, and on smoother roads, the GT-R is less affected by tramlining than it is if you’re driving it mildly.
High-level single-seaters and sports racing cars do this sort of thing to an extreme: if a driver fails to keep the tyres and brakes warm enough, performance and mechanical grip fall away to the extent that tyre grip runs out before the speed where aerodynamics help it go faster.
The GT-R Nismo isn’t an animal to that extent. It is a 1700kg road-registered car, after all. But similarly, you don’t get a huge amount back going slowly. And on the road at this time of year in the rain, there’s a limit to how warm you can get it.
It’s worth the effort, though. The Dunlop SportMaxx rubber (255/40 R20 at the front and 285/35 R20 at the rear) finds more purchase than you might think, the nose is direct if you bleed the brakes off gently into a corner, and then the power will shuffle itself around to allow a little rear-biased shimmy on the way out of a bend, which feels very natural and secure.