Why do we give the R35 Nissan GTR such a hard time about being Like a video game to drive, maybe partly, it's because the interior instruments were made in collaboration with Polyphony, the makers of Gran Turismo.
Maybe it's because, the incredible level of sophisticated engineering that goes into these things makes its super car bothering performance incredibly accessible and usable.
Maybe it's because, just a generation ago, the R34 GTR was raw, alive and a challenge to drive.
Just to prove it to myself I borrowed one for a week and it was so refreshing to feel so connected to a car that could destroy almost anything out on the road But for which you had to fight to get it to work for you.
When the R35 first came out, it made some amazing leaps forward in engineering, and no one can disagree that it is a phenomenal car.
But has making all this performance so easily accessible taken away from the pleasure of driving?
Well, to find out, we're going to take this thing out for a spin on the Autobahn on our way to a track day at Spa.
We'll be starting at Dusseldorf Airport, and driving 202 kilometers to Spa-Francorchamps on a mixture of German Autobahn and Belgium rural roads.
Once at Spa, we have two hours on track to put the GTR through its paces.
Let's just hope the weather holds out.
Now, the GTR has always been a car of two halves, the GT half and the R.
The R is the racing, the track-hungry Godzilla that can absolutely destroy anything else out there and set amazing lap times.
But the GT half is, well that's what has to do well out here on the Autobahn.
High speed, long Long distance cruising that's easy and comfortable but exciting.
And out here well.
Well that's two hundred KPH.
And in the comfort mode on the suspension this thing just feels so nice to drive.
You barely feel like you've even taken a look at what this car can do.
And the interior of the R55 is such a comfortable place to be.
This lovely cream upholstery makes it feel just as nice as you could in any Ferrari.
This is for a car that easily costs half as much but really this drive on the Autobahn Is just a means to an end.
The Autobahn driving, that's fun.
But lots of cars can be fun on the Autobahn.
Pretty straight, and you can go as fast as you like.
Know where you really challenge a car is out on the track.
So, Let's make up some time and head to spa.
This latest face lifted R-35 has 562 horsepower, 460 pounds of torque, a new titanium exhaust, better aerodynamics, greater downforce, and an improved more rigid body.
0 to 62 is 2.8.
Seconds which remains bonkers for any car and has to be experienced to really appreciate and almost by contrast the interior is delightfully refined with beautiful leather and a pretty decent new infotainment system.
Although the GT-R isn't quite the bargain it used to be, at well under a hundred grand it still outperforms cars twice the price.
The sophistication of the drive train combined with that all-wheel-drive system that can keep you pinned to the road no matter how badly you decide to take a turn, make every last ounce of this car's capability accessible.
Traditionally, these kinds of stats would make for a two-tenths car in the real The world but the technology deployed in the GGR allows you to access so much more of that power without the risk of being spat off the road.
We're in the rural roads approaching spa and I haven't been here in years.
In fact, when I was a small boy The track was still part of the public roads and when we used to drive back from holiday in the summers, we would pass through [UNKNOWN] and you'd find yourself all of a sudden driving on the Formula One track.
It was a thrill, even though we were just in my Dad's station wagon.
And this is the first time I've been back since.
I thought that would have been the closest I'd ever come to driving here, and yet here I was about to head on to the track in a car with performance that would have blown my mind 25 years ago.
So survive the [UNKNOWN] and the Autobahn, and now I'm here at [UNKNOWN], ready to take the beast out on the track.
My very first time at Spa.
Haven't driven this version of the R35 ever.
Whether it's fun or not, that remains to be seen.
I would only be getting a dozen laps out on track, so I was determined to make the most of every single second.
Watching the track being raced on TV for years and having done a thousand virtual laps in video games, Wasn't the most effective preparation for what can be a very challenging circuit.
And it was easy to scare the Jebus out of my instructor by getting a little bit too constant with my brake points early on.
Yep, 220 KPH.
Wait, wait, wait, wait, 200.
But quickly and with some excellent guidance the lap times started dropping and the real potential of This really advanced car became clear.
Rouge, you're not bad!
What's amazing is that with everything set to [INAUDIBLE] mode, you still feel like the puppet master of the car pulling the strings and making it [INAUDIBLE] while all the time the immense mechanical grip and powerful yet subtle driver is quietly correct any over enthusiasm and keep you on track.
Yes, the car is making it as easy as a video game to have fun but the process was so hidden that the experience itself still felt pure.
Up again, come on, 220
235, and ready for the brake, 240 and brake.
The traction is unbelievable.
This car is so forgiving.
There's a couple of times that had this car not been so sophisticated, it would've gone wrong.
Modern cars can do this, they can keep you safe, they can give you the confidence that you can really push a car and you can have so much fun.
It's 90% the car doing that though If you have a fraction of the confidence you don't even come close to touching this cars potential.
The grip limit in it naturally is so high that unless you're out on the track you are never really going to push it.
You have become a perfect driver at this speed.
It doesn't quite have the level involved Cars could have.
You could become a really, really fast driver.
You could get there quickly.
You'll live a lot longer.
That's a good thing in my book.
So after blasting up and down the Autobahn in this thing and amazing day out on track [UNKNOWN], it's time to answer the question.
Is driving the R35 like playing a video game?
Well, if by that we mean it's incredibly easy for anyone to jump in and have an amazing time and feel completely safe, then yes.
The sophistication in this thing makes it so anyone can jump in and have an absolute blast around the track.
Compared to its predecessors, it's so much safer, and that performance is so accessible.
Is it a little bit too easy to drive?
Do I care?
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