Nissan may be coy about stating outright acceleration figures for the 2017 GT-R, but at least it’s consistently coy.

It was the same way after adding power to the car in 2011 and no one seems to know exactly why.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Car melds traction with directional precision effectively out of slower bends

So – for every last cult follower on the internet, every thumb-blistered PlayStation-generation fan, and those simply intrigued to know if an £80,000, nearly nine-year-old Nissan really can still be one of the quickest cars in the real world – here’s the whole truth.

The GT-R is easy to put into launch control mode. And what happens next, as the car surges forwards on a tide of turbo boost and a blur of just the right amount of wheelspin, feels incredibly potent and yet also remarkably smooth – smoother, certainly, than you’d imagine a 1.8-tonne, four-wheel-drive sports car catapulting itself to 60mph in less than 3.5sec has any right to feel.

But all those forumers can forget about true, repeatable sprints to 60mph in less than 3.0sec. With two occupants and fuel on board, in fairly chilly but dry conditions and timed in two directions, as all of our test subjects are, the GT-R declined to improve upon 3.4sec to 60mph, 7.8sec to 100mph and a standing quarter in 11.7sec.

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A turbocharged 911 Carrera S, a close rival for the Nissan on price, is a second or more slower to every one of those markers.

But representing the junior supercar ranks in which the GT-R once mixed on outright pace, both the Honda NSX and McLaren 570S have of late gone significantly quicker – and others quicker still.

No longer, clearly, is this Nissan the giant slayer it once was. And yet, while time whittles away at the folklore status it once unquestionably earned, it also somehow makes a driving experience that once felt relatively anodyne much more endearing.

Not so refined, mark you. Despite Nissan’s efforts, the 74dB of noise with which the GT-R’s cabin is filled at a steady 70mph cruise is more than plenty of normal family cars make screaming away at maximum engine revs in third gear, with persistent and pronounced roar from its 20in runflat tyres the main culprit.

However, telling improvements have been made to the smoothness of the gearshifts, which snatch and jar through the driveline only rarely now.

The shifts could certainly be quicker in manual mode. That said, the slightly clunky feel of the gearbox and four-wheel drive system actually adds something to the GT-R’s distinctive character in 2016, because most sports cars no longer feel so simple or mechanically forthright. 

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