Nicknamed “Godzilla”, the Nissan GT-R has an aggressive stance and looks fast even while standing still. You can tell it’s “just business” with this car, it isn’t concerned with looking too pretty or too tame, it simply has all the right tools for getting the job done. The GT-R’s job description? Being downright quick. The Nissan GT-R is in supercar territory with a zero-sixty time of 2.9 seconds. Add the track package and that will drop down to 2.7 seconds. This is comparable to cars that cost 10 times the price of the GT-R, but that’s the beauty of this vehicle. It provides hyper-car performance in a package that has the drive-ability of your everyday sedan. Pair that with good reliability ratings, and the GT-R becomes mighty tempting with a starting price of $101,770. It’s possible to find used examples from around $60-70k if you look hard enough. Performance is almost identical even back to the introductory model year (U.S.) of 2008. It has always been touted as a 3 second car.
Our Test Drive
The overcast day on which I finally got to drive this iconic Japanese sports car, was heavy with fog, which made testing conditions even better if you ask me. Turbo-charged engines love moist air, and it allowed me ample opportunity to test the limits of Nissan’s traction control system. The acceleration builds deceivingly fast, and when combined with “launch control” is something you have to experience for yourself to believe. The dashboard display has the ability to display G forces while you drive, and I noticed that during launches I was pulling almost 1 G…. one entire G! An invisible force presses you back hard into the bolstered leather seats, and the GT-R quickly goes through gear changes redlining each one, all without making a fuss or so much as hinting at torque steer. Rather, it feels like a freight train from the future, and handles like it’s on rails. I remember one moment where I hit the gas pedal while taking a hard left, and felt the rear tires break away. As the car’s rear end drifted out of alignment with the front wheels, the magic of it’s traction control system kicked in and I was effortlessly able to keep the nose of the car pointed exactly where I wanted to go. I was amazed as the car quickly regained traction as if nothing had happened. The GT-R truly is a feat of engineering and a result of what must have been thousands of hours of testing.
My one and only complaint with the GT-R is that it feels a little too composed at times, and a little too quiet. It’s bite is definitely much larger than it’s bark, and for some that may be an issue. When you cross the $70,000 mark, there is a lot of fun that can be had across many car manufacturers, a host of options when it comes to fast, fun sports cars. And usually what people are searching for is that little extra something, a sort of drama that you don’t get with every day drivers. The GT-R delivers in every measurable category in the automobile industry, and competes with vehicles many times it’s senior as I’ve said before, but at times it seemed to be missing that “intangible” factor that excites and connects with the driver, and makes someone’s hair stand up on the back of their neck. Would I gladly park it in my garage? Of course. Without hesitation. Would I drive it hard and fast and push it to it’s limits on my daily commute? Most likely. And I would love it. But I wonder… I wonder if as I heard the louder exhaust note of a Porsche 911 Turbo driving by, or the growl and rumble of any big block American muscle car idling in a shopping mall parking lot, I wonder if I’d get a nostalgic sort of jealousy. Even though I’d leave pretty much any muscle or german sports car in the dust in a drag race, I feel as if I’d be missing that intangible drama and connection those drivers share with their loud, raw, and more boisterous cars.
The Nissan GT-R is an icon, and will forever be a benchmark against which many great sports cars of the future will be measured. It will be exciting to see how long this current generation production run will last, and in what ways Nissan will use it to continue to push the envelope when it comes to all out speed and performance. Freedom aint free, but it’s worth considering that this car comes at a price most people can conceivably afford.
Photos used are property of Nissan Motor Company