New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

On the edge in latest Nissan GT-R

2012-03-27 21:41


Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Nissan
Model GT-R
Engine 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged 24-valve V6
Power 397kW at 6400 rpm
Torque 628Nm at 3200 - 5800 rpm
Transmission three-mode dual-clutch, six-speed transmission with downshift rev matching
Zero To Hundred 2.8 seconds
Top Speed 315km/h
Fuel Tank 64 litres
Fuel Consumption 11.7 litres/100km
Weight 1740kg
Boot Size 315 litres
Steering speed-sensitive power steering
ABS with traction control, three-mode advanced vehicle dynamic control, hill start assist
Airbags driver and front passenger front, side and curtain airbags
Tyres forged alloy RAYS wheels with 20"x9.5" (front) and 20"x10" (rear) runflats
Front Suspension double-wishbone with aluminium links
Rear Suspension multi-link with aluminium links
There I was, happily chatting away to my driving partner – we hadn’t seen one another for a while – when he suddenly went quiet, an almighty roar appeared to rise out of the red-trimmed Recaro seats, and we bulleted forward. He’d seen the red mist – and I’d had a warm “welcome shove” from Nissan’s 2012 edition GT-R.

It feels as though this Japanese supercar gets an update every other year – it’s only been in South Africa since 2009 after being launched at the Tokyo auto show late in 2007 – but the latest one for 2012 includes an increase in output from the twin-turbo, 3.8-litre V6 along with a trick suspension upgrade for right-hand drive models such as those sold in South Africa.

Improvements have been made to the rigidity of the GT-R’s body while airflow around and under the body has been stepped up.

Better air intake and exhaust-valve cooling measures see Nissan’s headline V6 gain seven kW (to 397kW) and turn out an extra 14Nm (from 612 to 628) of torque. Despite these increases in firepower, average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are down. As a bonus, the sprint time – though still untested in South Africa – is now a shattering 2.8 seconds to the 100km/h mark from zero.


And this was probably the most immediate indicator of the GT-R’s potency. Although we had a go on public roads in Gauteng’s Magaliesberg area, there was definitely enough road surface to experience the latest Godzilla’s brutality.

There’s also no indication that this beast (despite a host of aluminium and carbon-fibre elements) weighs a portly 1.7 tons since it twirls around corners and guns down straights with all the agility of a burly principal ballerina who dabbles in a bit of choral work on the side. In the tenor section, of course.

The asymmetric suspension could have something to do with this. Right-hand drive models carry extra weight on the driver’s side where the prop shaft is also located and, to offset this, Nissan engineers have innovatively shifted the balance by using a slightly harder spring rate setting on the left front wheel, altering the ride heights across the front axle and tweaking the wheel alignment .

The suspension’s Comfort setting provided a great balance between blistering grip and a softer ride on the speckled B-roads, where the default mode was slightly more jarring, but the difference in response imperceptible.

The six-speed dual-clutch transmission is still around and infinitely entertaining when performing super-quick shifts through switchbacks along the route, although it’s as happy to autonomously shift down by a few cogs when an overkill overtaking manoeuvre is required. There are masses of feedback through the tight power steering, but be prepared to brace those biceps for the “dancing” at higher speeds.


The GT-R does not have a huge appetite for low speed, appearing to sulk at speeds less than 80km/h not requiring a healthy dose of boost, but this may be the best time to take in the cabin’s ambiance.

There are two trim levels to consider. Premium models come with a touch-screen, multi-function display to monitor the vehicle’s telemetry, audio functions and navigation, an electronic instrument cluster with a handy (and very visible) digital gear indicator and an 11-speaker Bose audio system that is compatible with your iPod and other media devices. A reversing camera is now standard, too.

Black Edition models add red-trimmed, black leather Recaro sports seats and a black headlining.

For more hardcore, track-day enthusiasts, Nissan SA is exploring the introduction of the Track Pack for GT-R in this country. It uses a revised, track-biased suspension with extra cooling ducts, grippier Recaro seats and goes without a rear bench. Nothing’s been confirmed but, should the GT-R Track Pack be introduced in South Africa, it will be available in very limited numbers only.

The GT-R is available at Nissan’s High Performance Centres in Hatfield, Pretoria and Melrose in Johannesburg.


GT-R Premium Edition - R1.387-million
GT-R Black Edition – R1.473-million

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