The email invite from Nissan was enough to increase the heartbeats over normal levels. The three letters that read ‘GT-R’ have been embedded in the hearts and minds of millions of motoring enthusiasts alike. The chance to put it through its paces (at a race track no less) is bound to stir up a lot of emotions. Apart from driving the king of Japanese supercars we were also getting a chance to drive the all-new Nissan X-Trail, which will aim to put Nissan back in the premium SUV segment. Here’s what it was like….
While we were like a bunch of excited puppies, it was a case of too many mouths to feed considering there was only one GT-R and over 30 of us to drive. So it was going to be 3 laps round the Buddh Circuit, which would fairly give us an idea about the cars ‘giant-killer’ capabilities.
Growling out of the pit garage in Regal Red, it was welcomed with a lot of oohs and aahs and no matter how many times to set your eyes on this car, if you are a car enthusiast it will evoke drool. Low slung, plenty of muscle and more aerodynamic than a bullet, the GT-R ain’t no sleeper and makes its intentions very clear. The new car gets updates in the form of the efficient High Intensity Discharge (HID) multi-LED headlights create a distinctive GT-R “lightning” motif, generating a bold exterior visual signature. The four LED units are configured with LED high beam and three different low beams, including long distance illumination and wide illumination.
On the side, the four-passenger cabin retains it sloping "aero blade canopy" roofline and curved C-pillar "sword edge," which screams GT-R. And it's not just form, it also facilitates air flow around the rear of the vehicle. Airflow above and below the vehicle is managed by the functional rear carbon fiber underbody diffuser, rear venting, rear spoiler and large, integrated quad exhaust tips.
So while the GT-R looks every bit a supercar it still doesn’t boast the same flair as its Italian competition. A Lamborghini or a Ferrari might sprain more necks, but the GT-R just aims to be fast enough for you to just miss it!
On the inside, the GT-R's cockpit-style instrument panel surrounds the driver, with all meters and multi-function meter at a uniform height to minimize the driver's head movement. The meter cluster finisher has a special carbon look. But the party piece is the center console, which is right out of a video game. In fact the multi-function display that was created in collaboration with Polyphony Digital, makers of the Gran Turismo electronic game.
You have 14 different pages of information are available on this system, including mechanical and driving information, acceleration, brake pedal pressure, steering angle and a recording function with playback. The only thing missing are readouts of your heartbeats which will spiral north once you start driving this beast.
So by the time we got behind the wheel, the number of laps were reduced to 2 due to unforeseen circumstances. I did not get to try out the different driving modes, but since I was on the racetrack, I decided to put it in the best mode available, RACE.
Out of the pit lane, I mashed the throttle to make full use of that immortal VR38DETT 3.8-liter twin turbo V6 engine which let loose 545 horses and about 630 Nm. There is no drama, the ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system makes sure you have all the grip available, transferring power to the wheels that need traction in microseconds. In fact it's pretty much like driving in a video game. The GT-R simply defies the laws of physics as you hustle it through the corners at unbelievable speeds. The only things that tell you that this the real deal and not a video game are your shifting internals.
Plenty of goose bumps and an adrenalin overdose lap later, we came back into the pits with my legs still in Michael Jackson mode. The GT-R is an unbelievable piece of machinery and there is no reason to doubt why it’s Nissan’s Halo car representing the best of technology and performance.
For the rich and the famous, the car will be available on order in the coming few months with Nissan unveiling the prices soon.
‘Now this is a real good looking SUV’ is the first thing that comes to your mind when you first set your eyes on the new X-Trail. Now this isn’t the first for the X-Trail brand in India and Nissan had been selling the previous generation X-Trail in India till they finally pulled the plug. While it did not meet the number that Nissan expected, it was still an excellent car that did everything it was asked of. The only problem being it did not really look the part. Come 2016, Nissan definitely has that problem sorted out. The new car looks fantastic thanks to its balanced proportions and the sharp new design language. There are plenty of cuts, creases, muscular bulges and details that make the new X-Trail a head turner.
The insides of new car are quite spacious too. There is no third bench which is a bummer, but Nissan has made sure that 5 people can sit comfortably thanks to the car's generous girth. The dashboard is a blend of soft touch materials, aluminium inserts and a piano black finish which does give it a sombre appearance. While most of the quality felt good, certain plastics like on the power window buttons felt cheap and can be improved upon. There is also a 7-inch infotainment system which will offer all the connectivity options needed. Other than that our car was fully loaded with all the features like electric seats and a panoramic sunroof.
While the previous car came with a 2.0 litre diesel, the new car will be a Hybrid that combines a 2.0 litre petrol engine that pushes out 147 PS with a 41 PS electric motor. As a result the car that we drove around felt almost near silent. Refinement is simply brilliant and the only time that you hear the engine is when you mash down on that throttle.
The CVT gearbox goes into overtime to match the cars revs to its actual speeds. Yes, the CVT does have that rubber band effect; but then expect it to perform well in city conditions and be economical as well (thanks to the Hybrid system).
What was also impressive is the ride quality thanks to the Active Ride Control which soaks up bumps quite well, but then we need to take it out in real world conditions to see how it really performs. The new X-Trail will come as a CBU and will compete against the Honda CR-V, the Hyundai Santa Fe and the likes. Expect the car to be priced at around 35 lakhs with the launch in the second of 2016.