For all the snorting performance of the Nissan, the GT-R is surprisingly old fashioned in the cabin. I guess the real cutting edge stuff has been saved for under the bonnet, encased in a hand-built,3.8-litre twin turbo engine.
The steering wheel is a rash of buttons – probably too many to even consider if you are driving the GT-R with gusto – and a pair of elongated flappy-paddle gear changers that just add to the sensation you are travelling very fast indeed.
The entire instrument binnacle adjusts with the steering column, so you will never have any excuse for not seeing the speedo hit 100mph in just a matter of seconds. The seats are actually quite comfortable – I can even squeeze the dog onto the back seat.
The infotainment system is thoroughly entertaining, My favourite screen today is the one that shows G-force settings on acceleration and cornering! Surely every car should have one?
The best piece of advice I was ever given about driving a high performance sports car was never press my foot on the accelerate – just squeeze the toes.
I was driving a Maserati on the Ferrari proving track in Italy. At the wheel was an elegant woman racing driver who steered the 3200 with a passion normally reserved for the bed chamber.
A memorable moment for many reasons but I digress. If ever a car demanded elegant squeezing of the toes it was the GT-R. Today I drove to the supermarket in Chipping Norton and tweaked the accelerator on a mini roundabout.
Well, you can imagine the consequences. Fortunately, the traction control and four-wheel drive sorted the problem out in an instant. But be warned, 550bhp on a wet day in a car like the Nissan demands the driving skills of a scintillating Italian racing diva…
Driving the GT-R up the main approach to Goodwood House today was like introducing a soap star to the Queen. We all know it’s going to happen one day but there’s still something rather vulgar about it.
Lord March’s latest money-spinner is a tie-up with BMW for a public on-road, off-road driving experience around his 12,000-acre estate. It was launched today in the dampest conditions I’ve seen in months. Some of the track driving was abandoned it was that wet.
Lord March, who looks remarkably similar to Hugh Grant these days, has the Midas touch at the moment. His Festival of Speed is second only to the British GP as the top motoring event in the country.
Surprisingly, the BMW engineers and mechanics were secretly itching to peep inside the GT-R. They had some electric i8s available and I would gladly have swapped. To put it bluntly, the Nissan looked like a fish out of water at Goodwood. Yet there’s no doubt it would destroy all the M5s and M3s we had available to drive.
And there’s the rub. The GT-R is a crowd-pleaser of epic proportions. But is it classy? I think not…
Tucked away in the small print, at the end of the GT-R press pack, are the official fuel consumption figures. Of course, you can take them with a pinch of salt because NOBODY can ever get anywhere near what a manufacturer claims is possible (Ford being the worst offender).
Urban 16.6, extra urban 32.1 and combined 23.9mpg. I usually slice 5mpg off combined to get something akin to real world driving, except the temptation to floor the accelerator in the Nissan will no doubt reduce that dramatically.
So when the vermillion red GT-R was delivered this morning, I was a bit shocked to read the on-board computer claiming 12mpg! Yikes, this is going to be an expensive week – especially as I’m heading down to Goodwood later for a BMW event.
According to the press pack, the official 0-60mph is 2.84 seconds, although again, just how I’m going to measure than on my wristwatch will be something of a challenge.
The GT-R is a monster, however you look at it. I hate the colour, so that doesn’t help. More late tomorrow when I’m emptied the tank. Twice.
Well, yes, it should have been here last Thursday but some young hack has stuffed it. So Car Couture has been waiting patiently for Nissan’s outrageously fast coupe to land.
From Tuesday we will be steering a rocket that can accelerate from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds – in the same league as the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari.
Despite a hand-built engine, it’s massively cheaper than both. What the Nissan may lack is the right badge on the bonnet.
Should that be an issues? If you like speed, of course not. Some would prefer the Jaguar F-Type for its historic cache but can sheer brute power be enough to persuade us? Find out from tomorrow, with daily reports every day…
Unless my dog strikes oil burrowing in the garden, it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to afford a Wraith. However, if I’m honest, I’m not sure it’s really the car for me!
This is a vehicle that belongs to the chairman of the board and retired City types. I’m 51 and would probably spend my £234,000 on buying a gull-wing Mercedes and driving it across Europe, endlessly.
It is also quintessentially British (despite the German owners), which might explain why so many Rollers end up in the Middle east, US and Russia. The Wraith is just too big for UK roads and needs more room to roam.
So does that mean the Wraith is just an expression of wealth and social standing? Possibly. It could hardly be described as practical at this price. However, a world without Rolls-Royce would be a less beautiful place and no other luxury limo comes close…
The arrival of British autumn always leads to some shenanigans on the road. This morning I drove past a Mercedes E-class which had slipped off a leafy corner and was on it’s roof. Cars never look as pretty upside-down.
At least in a Rolls-Royce you can be sure to keep your dignity intact if the worst happens. The Wraith has centre wheels caps that are weighted, so you will never see the ‘RR’ logo upside-down. Brilliant.
And the days of stealing the Spirit of Ecstasy figure off the front grille are long gone too. Fiddle around with the chrome Spirit and she automatically lowers into the bodywork. It can also be lowered before you park up.
You can pay around £5k for a gold-plated version – or there’s another option for an LED light at the base. How times have changed… Somehow I can’t imagine even the Queen wanting such blingness.
Some might say that Rolls’ first fastback is a coupe that has been a tad over-engineered. Apart from rambling on about the ‘suicide doors’ (they are rear-hinged) and hidden umbrellas, I keep finding features which I do wonder are quite what one would expect in a Roller.
The night vision feature is an example. The centre sat nav display can be switched to infrared night vision that identifies potential hazards more than 200 yards ahead. They show up as a white blurs, rather like a cine-film in the negative.
It is sure to entertain your passengers on a long night trip but I can’t help but think this smacks of gimmick. And besides, you have to take your eyes off the road to study it properly and that can’t be good.
Our test car didn’t have the ‘star light’ roof lining, which brightens up the interior with a star-spangled top. But it did boast the inch-thich, lambs wool floor mats that are a bugger to clean.
Am I being picky? It just seems like the Wraith is something of a luxurious fairground ride with too much going on. Sure, it’s a class car but I think I can do without all the extras that I’m unlikely to ever need.
James Bond had machine guns fitted to his Aston Martin, wealthy people in South Africa arm their motors with flame throwers for extra protection. So what does the Wraith come equipped with? Umbrellas, of course.
Yes, it’s just what every English gentleman should carry when skies turn grey. But what makes the Wraith brollies special is where they are stored in the car.
The chrome-plated handles are embossed with the Rolls logo and slot neatly into the bulkhead. They are only visible when the rear-hinged doors are open, press a button and they pop out to meet you.
It’s quite bizarre that for all the luxurious features fitted to the Wraith, it’s the umbrellas which have proved the most entertaining for passengers. We’ll talk about the night vision and retractable Spirit of Ecstasy tomorrow…
There was a moment yesterday, driving the Wraith around Trafalgar Square, surrounded by red buses and listening to Desert Island Discs, that I’ve never felt more British.
There may be a German V12 engine at the heart of Rolls-Royce these days, but is there a more ‘British’ car I wonder?
The air of serenity inside the cockpit of the Wraith demands you switch from Radio 2 to Classic FM immediately, then set the slightly complicated heater fans to ‘soft’ and just soak up the atmosphere.
No need to press the 6.6-litre engine too hard, it’s gulping fuel at an alarming rate already. The Wraith isn’t a sports coupe by any measure – the ride is sublimely comfortable, like an armchair floating on air.
It’s a car built for Mr Bridger in the Italian Job, except you don’t need to be Noel Coward to appreciate it…