Silverstone Drive Day - Nissan Excel In All Areas
We tested the latest models from the Nissan Range at the Silverstone Stowe circuit
Last week we had the pleasure of testing some of Nissans most recent model updates at the famous Silverstone circuit. The day offered the opportunity for journalists to get a real insight into the different models on offer and experience the real variety of vehicles being produced by one of the worlds most renowned automakers. Here’s a quick preview of what was involved...
Nissan Pulsar 190
First off, we took the spritely Pulsar hatch for a spin round a ‘gymkhana’-like circuit, weaving in and out of cones and really testing the cars agility. Happily, we can report that the Pulsar handled itself excellently even in wet conditions. The family-sized hatch cornered well and stayed fairly flat while taking some sharp bends. To end the circuit we had to slam on the brakes, hard, and even in the torrential rain the ABS worked a treat and the Pulsar never felt dangerous, even when pushed to the limit!
We can happily recommend the Pulsar to anyone in the market for a medium sized hatchback, and the 190 model if you fancy a bit of oomph too!
Nissan X Trail
Next, we put the Nissan X Trail through it’s paces on a muddy off-road course. The X-Trail has been a famously versatile marque for the more outdoors-y Nissan buyers, but have they lost their edge as the rest of the segment turns to more ‘soft-roaders’ than off-roaders? Nope. The X-Trail is still a fantastic car for getting down and dirty on rough terrain. We climbed, and descended, steep muddy banks in the new X-Trail, which never broke a sweat. Even on the medium profile ‘half off-road/ half on-road’ tyres the X Trail really pulled its weight, far better than most other 4x4 in the same market and price band.
Nissan know that most buyers won’t do all that much off-roading in their X-Trails, but it is more than capable of negotiating snowy roads and sunday league pitches for the times when the 4 wheel drive is called upon. Reassuring.
Nissan 370z Nismo
Next up for us was a few laps of the Stowe circuit in the juiced up ‘NISMO’ version of Nissan’s sports-coupé, the 370Z. This weapon boasts a healthy 344bhp from the 3.7 litre V6 engine, 16 more horses than the standard 370Z, but what we noticed was the huge amount of torque, roughly 370NM. Through the twistier bends we sat in 3rd gear knowing the meaty unit up front would shove us out the other side, and with a dab of the right pedal the tail would comfortably whip us on to the next turn. In wet conditions the rear did get a bit lively under heavy braking, but nothing uncontrollable at all.
The 370 is a much more refined, well-designed beast than the 350 that it replaced. The interior is more cushioned, road noise is flattened-out and the suspension is less rigid, but the DNA is still the same and if you’re looking for a lively coupe to balance with weekend fun and weekday monotony, you’ll do well to find a more suitable and affordable car than the 370Z… If you can look past the 26mpg of course!
Nissan GTR Track Edition
Lastly, we had the pleasure of taking the Nissan GTR Track Edition out for a jaunt round the sodden Stowe circuit at Silverstone. The Track Edition costs from £88,560 and places itself between the standard GT-R at £78,030 and the NISMO model which sits at £125,000. The twin-turbo V6 unit puts out a whole 542bhp and 466lb ft of torque, which is just plenty.
In most supercars nowadays, a wet racetrack can be quite a daunting prospect, however this is simply not the case in the tech-fest GT-R. Even while pushing it right to the limit you’ll always be reassured that the onboard technology has got your back, allowing the tail end to swing out on sharp bends and then collecting itself in a composed manner, instead of spinning off. The incredible 4 wheel drive was a godsend on the day, whereas you’d usually be reluctant to squeeze the throttle in fear of spinning the rears, the GT-R wouldn’t worry and pressed-on regardless. At the start of the day the poor weather seemed like a ruined opportunity, by the end of the day the weather allowed it to really earn its stripes.
The main reason we headed down to the Silverstone circuit was to test the new 30 kwh Leaf that now offers up to 155 miles of range on one full charge. We took the Leaf out for a spin for over an hour or so and it’s clear to see where the improvements have come from. We’ll have a full review going live on the site in the next 7 days and it is certainly one to look forward to if you’re thinking of making the leap to an EV.