When Nissan launched the GT-R in 2007, chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno confusingly proclaimed that the ‘real GT-R' would arrive only in a few years' time.
Now there's only one way you could spin that: the first car was a half-baked, haste-job that had been up against a looming deadline and lost. But no. Swirl these numbers in your head for a few moments: 0-100kph in 3.5 seconds, 300kph-plus top speed and 485bhp peak horsepower. Those aren't figures that sum up an unsatisfactory vehicle.
Then, predictably, a revised version with 530bhp and a 0-100kph sprint time of 3.1 seconds made an arrival in 2010. But before you could exclaim ‘holy smoke Batman, that's quick!' yet another revision was unveiled. This time with 550bhp.
Meet the GT-R Version 3.0
So what are the modifications? On the surface, precisely none. But underneath is where all the big stuff has happened. And it's not just ECU cheating. The engine gets revised manifolds, inlet valves, heads and pistons and the net result is a 20bhp and 20Nm bump over the 2011 model.
But this being a GT-R the changes are more far-reaching than that. It's perhaps the only supercar with an asymmetric chassis — it sits lower on one side than the other.
You see, the transaxle is mounted on the right side of the propeller shaft, which means the weight distribution is not perfect. That won't do.
So, to make sure the kilos are lined up perfectly, the spring rates in RHD models are revised to compensate for the driver's weight, while the rear suspension arm sits lower. And all this to eke out those precious milliseconds when negotiating a corner.
The six-speed double clutch gearbox meanwhile gets a stronger shift fork arm and is purportedly much smoother in operation, but you can still feel your vertebrae being rearranged every time second gear slams home.
Cumulatively, the tweaks mean the GT-R is much quicker off the line — 0-100kph time now pegged at a faintly ridiculous 2.8 seconds. To put that into perspective, a Lamborghini Aventador, with 700 horses aiding progress, takes 2.9 seconds to crack a ton.
In R mode, the AWD behemoth does a fine impression of a nippy rear-wheel drive sportscar. And excessive application of throttle while exiting a corner results in the back rubbers breaking traction, but never to the point of being dangerous. But despite its substantial girth, the way it single-mindedly refuses to understeer gives you a distinct impression it's unperturbed by trifles such as laws of physics.
The interior too gets a few minor tweaks. The rev meter, for example, now has a halo of blue light to marks this out as the 2012 model, while a reversing camera is now standard fitment. Good job, since rear three-quarter visibility is absolutely rubbish.
Drive the 2012 GT-R for a few minutes and it's impossible to comprehend how it could be improved. It's already quicker than any Ferrari, Lamborghini or Pagani out there. This should be the car Mizuno-san sees in his mind's eye. Only it isn't — there's still a good 20 per cent more to come out of the GT-R, he says