The PlayStation GT-R has it all – apart from quality


If you’re reading this then you probably already know that the GT-R is lightning fast, features razor sharp steering and has a cult following among Gran Turismo PlayStationers.

Reviewers rave about the performance – but I’m just as interested in living with the car on a day-to-day basis.

The simple answer to that question is yes. However, you wouldn’t expect a car costing this much to be plagued by badly adjusted headlights, awkward door handles and now, a rattle in the daashboard.

I may be more critical than most but if this was my car, it would have been sent back to dealership last week with a list of ‘to do’ jobs.

Beam me up, Scottie – Nissan GT-R is not the light fantastic


Headlights – even supercars have their flaws. The Lamborghini Huracan features a dip/beam button on the steering wheel that your fingers can’t locate in the dark – the Audi RS7 Performance is equipped with a main beam that takes longer to flick on than Trump’s brain.

The GT-R’s issue is slightly more worrying. The dip beam is not adjusted corectly, so oncoming drivers are constantly flashing their annoyance in your face.

Just adjust the headlights, right? Well, I can’t find any mention of adjustment in the manual and there is nothing on the dashboard.

Frustrating and mildly dangerous.

And while we are on the subject of lights, the Nissan has flush door handles – an aerodynamic triumph, except you can’t locate them when approaching the car in the dark because they are not illuminated.

Silly. Remind the dealer about that when you are haggling ot the £80k pricetag…

Nissan GT-R – not for brand man, for individualists


In this age of common platform manufacturing and even commoner brand identity ” it’s no surprise that motor cars have been accused of ‘all looking the same’.

I mean, head-on in your rear-view mirror, can you tell the difference between an Audi A4, 5 or 6? BMW and Mercedes are especially flawed in this area.

If you want to be part of the middle class ‘gang’ then you need an aspirational vehicle to match. Thus the owner of a BMW 1 Series can feel the same brand attachment as a 7 Series driver.

Which is why cars like the Nissan GT-R are important. Yes, it costs around £80k (not far off the unique and very individual BMW i8, or the Audi R8 for that matter) but there’s no mistaking what is in your rear-view mirror.

And it should be applauded for that – instead of being a BMW M4 ,which will always look like a rep’s standard 4 Series however many spoilers BMW bolt onto it.

Has the Nissan GT-R gone soft? Lord P thinks so…


Lord Pembroke likes his cars. He stills owns a Nissan Skyline – one of his favourite motors, alongside the Bugatti Veyron and gull-wing Mercedes in his cavernous garage.

After an intervew about his Wilton Classic & Supercar Show in June ( at his home in Wiltshire today, he insisted we went for a wheelspin in my Nissan test car.

Verdict? Well, he spotted the revised suspension set-up, the improved interior and a surge in performance but overall, he though the GT-R had gone a little soft.

Just like the Porsche 911 he owned ten years ago, Lord P says the Nissan had lost its soul and felt rather detached.

Incredibly quick, yes, but then as another motoring writer once put it – it’s not how fast a car goes, it’s how it goes fast…

The Nissan GT-R – fast but all the style of Trump’s haircut


So, what’s new about the GT-R in 2017? Well, it still looks both musclebound and ridiculously bling, sporting all the style of Donald Trump’s haircut.

However, the good news is that the twin turbo’s power output is up 20bhp, the cabin looks like it is now made of something decent – and the ride feels somewhat smoother.

That’s all good then – especially the interior upgrade which finally brings the Nissan into the right millennium. There’s extra soundproofing and minor tweaks to bodywork too, making this the most significant upgrade since the current GT-R was launched in 2007.

Don’t go thinking the GT-R has gone soft just because they have eased off the suspension a bit. Just two minutes down the road and I know the Nissan is going to be 7 days of sheer fun.

More tomorrow…

VW Beetle Dune – brilliant fashion statement, terrible drive


It started with the Chrysler PT Cruiser. There was much excitement at the press launch of this retro people-carrier but then a collective sigh of horror after we had driven it.

How could something so cool be such a terrible drive? BMW later nailed it with their Mini but somehow VW has missed a massive opportunity with the latest Beetle.

The styling is fantastic and this Dune model turns heads – so why is it lifeless behind the wheel? It’s all the most perplexing when you consider the brilliance of the Golf, or the Jetta, with which it shares the same platform.

It’s brilliant as a fashion statement but the drive is less than engaging – espeically with the DSG automatic gearbox that works so well in other VW models.

And then there’s the price. Perhaps it’s no wonder my Dune test car is turning so many heads – it’s such a rarity. Nobody is prepared to pay £25k upwards to own one…

Beetle Dune – all style but nothing under the bonnet. Like Melania…


I’ve been Dune roaming this weekend… mostly country stuff, where the 2.0 TDI engine feels strangely underpowered for a VW unit.

Ever since I sold my own 1.4 TSI for being woefully lifeless I’ve been waiting for a ‘hot’ version of the Beetle to get excited about.

None of them break the eight second barrier, not even the R-Line ‘sporty’ version. And the extra torque of the diesel TDI is nothing to write home about either.

Just feels a bit sad to me – all the style but nothing under the bonnet. Just like Melania…


Paranoia – Doctor, why are pedestrians pointing at my yellow Beetle Dune?


The problem with driving a brightly coloured car is that you don’t know why pedestrians are pointing at you.

Is it VW’s Sandstorm yellow paintjob – or is the Beetle Dune the coolest thing this side of a Mini? (or just a bit silly?)

It’s certainly, erm, eye-catching. Even on the inside, the dashboard is a colour fest of dials (mostly pointless) and yellow paint.

So to avoid motorparanoia, I’ve taken to mostly driving it in the dark. The headlights are very good. I suppose to some folk it might look rather fecthing even in daylight.

I just can’t get my head around jacking up a car by 10mm and adding some decals to make it look better.

And then there’s the price – this particular car is £31,225 with all the extras!! More on that tomorrow…

Dune roaming? We put the pseudo 4×4 VW Beetle to the test


I should declare an interest from the start. Four years ago I briefly owned a new Beetle. I went out to buy a sensible Passat estate and came home in a Bug. It happens…

I soon realised the 1.4 petrol engine wasn’t equipped to deal with the demands of my right foot, so I binned it for a BMW 6 Series. Great car that was too.

So I wanted to try the TDI torquiness of Beetle in Dune form. Would it rescue the car I used to own – or is it really just a speciation edition that is all form and no substance? Four-wheel drive isn’t even on the options list.

Once I’d got over the price – £25k or there about, I took delivery of this very, erm, yellow coupe. More over the next few days when I’ve found my sunglasses…


The hybrid BMW X5 is not the pick of the bunch


Are you a BMW or a Mercedes fan? You can’t be both. The motoring world is split between the two – with a little Audiness going on in the background.

I never considered myself old enough to drive a Merc, although I once owned a smashing W123 that was the coolest estate on four wheels. It took me to France and never missed a beat.

But I did have two 3 Series, which were fantastically user-friendly and sporty around the edges. I’d buy another (especially the 335d), which suggests I’m more BM than I might like to admit.

So feeling slightly unsatisfied with the X5 hybrid has rather taken me by surprise. An SUV that looks highly appealing on paper is actually something of a let down in the metal.

Really, it all comes down to the powertrain. Somehow that 2.0 petrol and electic motor combo don’t quite work. It’s not smooth enough, or economical enough to prevent me choosing a diesel version every time.

Shame. I was looking forward to the 4.0e a lot.