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The 2017 Nissan GT-R is a more civilized, more powerful Godzilla

Nissan brought a substantially updated 2017 GT-R to the New York Auto Show this week, featuring more power, an updated look, and a touch of refinement inside the cabin.

Basically, Godzilla is more terrifying — but also somehow friendlier — than ever.

To be clear, this isn’t an all-new car; that’s still a year or two (or three) out. But what’s amazing is that Nissan has managed to keep the GT-R basically at the peak of its game since its 2007 debut (not to mention the original concept car, which debuted some 15 years ago in 2001). The refreshed 2017 model features 20 additional horsepower and four more lb-ft. of torque from its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 for a total of 565 and 467, respectively; new performance figures haven’t been published, but the outgoing model can hit 0-60 in 2.7 seconds, which is well into supercar territory. Granted, the base price is just over $100,000 for a 2016 model — but even so, the car has always been an extraordinary value for that level of performance.

You have to look really carefully to spot the physical differences, but most of the body panels have been tweaked: there’s a new hood, new vents near the enormous exhaust tips, and a higher beltline, to name a few. (Nissan says the changes “result in a sportier and sharper looking car.”) There’s also a refreshed interior — there are lighter materials, more comfortable seats, and a larger touchscreen display that reduced dashboard button count by over half. And don’t worry, Gran Turismo fans; the company tells me that the new user interface is still designed by Polyphony Digital, the studio behind PlayStation’s iconic series of racing simulators.

More horsepower, but quieter and more comfortable

Speaking of more comfortable seats, Nissan is upping the GT-R’s selling point as a viable touring car across the board. The new model is said to be quieter — you’ll still get a roar out of that engine, I suspect, but the mechanical sounds of the drivetrain have been tamped thanks to new sound deadening. Basically, the theory goes that you can do more than take this car to the track, you can take it on a road trip and not regret your life choices after a few hours.

All of this can be had in a striking new exterior color, Blaze Metallic, which is on display at the New York Auto Show this week. Gone, though (at least for the moment) is the uptuned NISMO version of the car, which produces 600 horsepower for a few dollars shy of $150,000 in 2016 trim. It’s possible the NISMO will return, but we can’t be that far away from the next-gen GT-R, either. We’ll see which gets here first.

In the meantime, the 2017 GT-R will be in showrooms this summer.


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