2012 Nissan GTR First Drive

by under Review on 23 Mar 2012 10:19:41 AM23 Mar 2012
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km

Performance, technology and the continual development one of the best high performance cars


Seats need more support

You could call Nissan’s veteran Chief Vehicle Engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno obsessive…in a nice kind of way. The man known as ‘Mr GTR’ has done it again with detail technical changes making the 2012 Nissan GTR even more stunning that its predecessor.

Of course the big news is more power (404kW), enhanced fuel economy and lower exhaust emissions but as ever with this supercar it’s the myriad details which show the dedication and perfection of Mizuno-San and his team. 


How about asymmetric suspension settings (including race car-like corner weighting) to compensate for the driver’s weight on the right side? Previously the GTR was asymmetric for left-hand-drive markets only.

Or the development of special motorsport-derived oil for the differential.

Now that’s the sort of attention to detail performance car enthusiasts like. And the sort of service which owners of supercars costing three-times as much as the Nissan GTR do not enjoy.

Nissan GTR Overview

For 2012, the Nissan GTR rises in price by only $2,000 to $170,800. Detailed technical changes are numerous but there are no changes outside.

Nissan GTR Engine

Nissan still hand-builds each twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 VR38TT engine for the GTR (working like Formula One engine builders in controlled, clinical work stations, the eight technicians each produce two engines per day and they must deliver within a range of two kilowatts). That work includes laborious hand-finishing of items like the intake ports.

For the 2012 model Nissan GTR, power is up to 404kW at 6400rpm and peak torque of 628Nm arrives between 3200-5800rpm. ‘GTR-philes’ will note a boost in torque from the mid-range.

Fuel economy is down to 11.7l/100kms and exhaust C02 emissions have also decreased.


Switching to a resin intake duct and that fastidious matching of ports in the manifold provide enhanced airflow to the engine. And sodium-filled exhaust valves (as previously seen in the Nissan 200SX) plus lighter, more compact catalyser are also part of the story.

The six-speed dual-clutch transmission also sees some changes to enhance shift feel. There’s a firmer fixed bearing for the flywheel housing and the shift fork arm is a new, stronger design.

And Nissan now uses motorsport 75W140 oil for the GTR’s differential.

Nissan GTR The Interior

You notice detail changes inside too, the 2012 Nissan GTR looking and feeling a bit more up-market. 


There’s blue lighting inside the tachometer, an upgrade to EGOIST grade for the 11-speaker Bose audio system (with solid aluminium die-cast mountings for the door speakers and woofer) and a reversing camera is now standard.

Nissan GTR Exterior & Styling

No styling changes this time round. We love the purposeful look of the GTR from any angle – this is a mean-looking race car for the road. 


However GTR enthusiasts will note the new specially-developed Dunlop Maxx tyres. These are 255/40 ZRF20 fronts and 285/35 ZRF20 rears mounted on massive 20”x9.5”and 20”x10.5-inch alloy wheels.

Nissan GTR On The Road

For a car like this, the drive was obvious – start in Launceston, hit the coast, tackle a couple of stages from Targa Tasmania and finish with six laps around Symmons Plains race circuit. Can’t think of a better day really.


Hey – we’re professionals here at Car Showroom so we dutifully tried everything – the various chassis settings, fuel economy ‘Save’ setting, the transmission in both automatic and manual and the various displays for the information system - page two with the various temperature settings (engine coolant, engine oil, gearbox oil and gearbox oil pressure) was our favourite.

But there’s no point denying – this was a blast from start to finish. The Nissan GTR just howls with those four dump pipes sounding just like we remember the Bathurst 1000 winners and the chassis unwinding all of that AWD technology, delivering the GTR’s 404kW/628Nm with tenacity and aplomb most more expensive supercars can only dream of.

And those massive 390mm/380mm brakes wash-off pace with neck-bending efficiency (accompanied by the glorious sounds of the six-speed dual-clutch auto throttle-blipping down to the desired ratio). 


Apart from the staggering acceleration, a few things always stand-out when you press-on hard in the Nissan GTR. First is the grip, balance and sophistication of the chassis set-up (Bilstein adaptive dampers a big part) and secondly the precision of the electronically controlled steering, combined with the grip of the specially-developed tyres (the new-for-2012 Dunlops standing up well tour day of punishment).

Tuning for the asymmetric suspension settings to allow for the driver sitting on the right-side as well as the front-drive propeller shaft being on the right side was a complex task involving race car corner-weighting and testing around Germany’s Nurburgring circuit. The result in a nutshell is firmer springs for the left side and the rear suspension arm is installed upwards on the left side and downwards on the right.

The rear of the engine bay and dashboard are also stiffer for extra overall body strength 9and hence improved ride/handling).

It all adds up to one of the world’s great drives – and certainly the Targa Tasmania special stages are some of the world’s great roads.

Nissan GTR Challenges

The only thing we would complain about in the Nissan GTR – the only thing – would be the seats. Extra, adjustable under-thigh support like the Mercedes-Benz AMG seats would be good (we reckon Recaro might be able to help there).

Nissan GTR Verdict

Nissan’s supercar steps up again. The fact we’ve allocated our highest ever score says it all – the Nissan GTR joining the Lexus LFA and Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 and E63 duo as the only vehicles in that rarified air.


In the absence of any test cars from Porsche or Ferrari, we can only say, the Nissan GTR is for us the world’s best high-performance all-wheel-drive coupe.

Nissan GTR The Competition

Here’s where the Nissan GTR makes comparable European supercars feel uncomfortable. An all-wheel-drive Porsche with around the mark of the GTR’s 404kW/628Nm will set you back $363,700 (997 911 Turbo) – and even then you’ll be nearly one second slower zero to 100km/h.

How about the Audi R8? No, we’re sorry, even the range-topping V10-powered GT model is slower than the Nissan GTR zero to 100km/h, its 412kW/540Nm is short of the Nissan and at $470,700 the Audi is almost three-times the price.


And Ferrari fans, again we’re sorry. The all-wheel-drive Ferrari FF while more powerful than the Nissan GTR and also driving all four wheels is still eclipsed by the Japanese coupe’s 2.8-second zero too 100km/h (3.7 seconds for the Ferrari). And at $625,000, it’s more than three times the price of the GTR (in fact for the same money as the Ferrari FF, you could buy a Nissan GTR and a Porsche Boxter).

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