‘Nissan GT-R’ – the name says it all. The twin-turbocharged all-wheel-drive wonder is the pinnacle of the Nissan lineup and remains Japan’s benchmark high-performance coupe.
Taking on-board all of its performance and technology (not the least of which is the hand-built twin-turbo V6!), the latest version of the GT-R at $170,800 is a remarkable buy. The lowest-priced all-wheel-drive Porsche 911 is the $220,200 Carrera 4 and it’s over two seconds slower zero to 100km/h.
This was the first time we’d had a current generation Nissan GT-R for a week. It’s absolutely gob-smacking in every department and thoroughly deserves CarShowroom.com.au’s maximum five stars.
Different cars we know, but for us, the Nissan GT-R ranks alongside the all-new Jaguar F-Type, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, A 45 AMG and CLA 45 AMG, Audi R8, RS5 and RS6 Avant and BMW M6 as the best cars we’ve driven this year.
As Channel Nine rugby league commentator Phil Gould would say: “Wow, wow and wow!”
Nissan GT-R Overview
Earlier this year, Nissan simplified the GT-R lineup in Australia to just one model – the GT-R ‘Premium’ which means items such as leather-trimmed seats are standard.
The GT-R is a ‘one-off’ – there’s nothing even close in the Nissan world and not much in the broader sense. A brutal—looking two-door coupe with extensive use of aluminium and carbon fibre in its construction, the GT-R does run rear seats but even our nine and ten year-old youngsters struggled back there.
Of course the Nissan GT-R’s heart is the driveline – that twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel-drive makes this a supercar with a capital ‘S’.
Nissan GT-R Engine
Much fuss was made about the ‘hand-built’ elements of the limited production run Lexus LFA supercar, but don’t forget Nissan with the GT-R. Like Mercedes-Benz AMG, each of the GT-R’s VR38DETT twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 engines is hand-assembled by one of only four trusted engine builders who, when finished, affixes his personal signature plate to each unit.
In the absence of writing a book about his remarkable engine, here’s a few key points: it’s an aluminium block with super low friction/high-endurance plasma-coated bores and the aluminium pistons are precision matched to those bores; the wet sump is made of light-weight magnesium and runs thermostatically-controlled cooling; the throttle system is electronic drive-by-wire and there is a secondary air intake system to rapidly heat the exhaust catalysts to maximum cleaning efficiency.
So, in its latest guise the Nissan GT-R delivers 404kWof power at 6400rpm and peak torque of 628Nm from 3200-5800rpm.
Drive is via a hand-built six-speed dual-clutch transmission (with three drive modes including ‘R’ for race) and Nissan’s technological masterpiece - the ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system with its patented independent rear-mounted transaxle integrating the transmission, differential and AWD transfer case.
That all gets you zero to 100km/h in 2.7 seconds. Yep, that is the official zero to 100km/h mark.
What’s close? Well the $761,500 V12 all-wheel-drive Lamborghini Aventador stops the clock in 2.9 seconds, the fastest Ferrari is the $691,000 F12 which covers the distance in 3.1 seconds and the $493,100 McLaren MP4-12C does it in 3.3 seconds…that’s what we mean about the $170,800 Nissan GT-R being sharply priced.
Combined-cycle fuel consumption is rated at 11.7l/100kms.
Nissan GT-R The Interior
Just like a real race car, adjustment of rake/reach for the GT-R’s steering wheel sees the cockpit instrument binnacle also adjust up-and-down – brilliant. And just like all true high-performance road cars, the Nissan GT-R delivers the required low-down and straight-legged seating position.
We wouldn’t mind a bit more support from the front seats (the GT-R Black Edition’s Recaros for example) but really we’re splitting hairs on that one as the standard leather-trimmed seats are more than adequate.
Centre dashboard is where all the action is – the seven-inch multi-function screen (doubles for the reversing camera) has no less than 10 different selectable pages with technical information such as oil temperature, oil pressure, boost etc but also driving information, including a lap timer, but the one which captivated our mates who rode in the passenger seat is the instantaneous g-force gauge (and it delivered some tasty numbers when pressing-on hard through the hairpins).
Audio is an up-scale 11-speaker Bose system with the usual connectivity and the interior is nicely trimmed in carbon-fibre type material.
Nissan GT-R Exterior And Styling
In the automotive stylists’ textbook, under the heading of ‘purposeful design’ there should simply be a photo of the Nissan GT-R. We love the bulbous rear-end covering those massive 20-inch alloy wheels, the precision of the dual round LED rear lights and the massive dual five-inch exhaust tailpipes.
As you’d expect of a true supercar, the exterior masks a lot of technology. There’s aluminium for the bonnet, boot and outer door skins, die-cast aluminium for the door structures and front shock absorber towers and a carbon-composite front crossmember/radiator support and it’s all put together like a race car using high-precision ultra-low tolerance jigs.
Aero was of course a big factor with three underbody panels, front fenders designed to optimize airflow down the sides and specially-designed airflow through the suspension and wheelarches for driveline and brake cooling.
Nissan GT-R On The Road
High-powered race cars are brutal things and, as the closest thing you’ll get to a race car on the road, likewise the Nissan GT-R can be brutal. You get that from the moment you climb-in, fire-up the twin-turbo V6 and try to exit a car park – the GT-R clunks and groans and whines with the diffs and all-wheel-drive system seemingly complaining about this excruciating walking speed stuff.
But snap the six-speeder into sports manual mode and tromp on the throttle and nothing – and we mean nothing! – can prepare you for the onslaught, the noise and the blistering acceleration this thing unleashes.
Set the drive mode to ‘comfort’ (as default mode is set to ‘firm’) and the transmission to auto and there’s some relief – in fact we drove the Nissan GT-R every day of the week with no complaints.
Our runs in the Nissan GT-R over the Carshowroom.com.au mountain roads test loop…well, they were epic. Not since the Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG and CLA 45 AMG (turbo all-wheel-drive as well) have we shredded that strip of bitumen at a pace which your brain sometimes find hard to compute.
The GT-R just grabs the road like a white pointer grabbing a bait with that entire technology working overload to harness the turbo V6’s 404kW/628Nm. After Melbourne’s torrential spring rains a couple of corners had some wet patches and you felt the GT-R stepping into oversteer but in hundredths of second technology took over (note: performance drivers enjoy that ‘oversteery’ feel but less sophisticated systems take over and cut power before you get it).
Back in the city, yes the Nissan GT-R did present some challenges – rear three-quarter visibility is restricted and there’s not a lot of steering lock so parking manoeuvres need to be thought-out. But hey, who cares?
Nissan GT-R Challenges
We’ve read criticism of the Nissan GT-R centered on that driveline ‘clunkiness’ at low speeds and when parking. Get a grip! Driven a race car lately? With all that power and torque, multiple differentials and the six-speed sequential of course there’s going to be some hardware noise when reverse parking at the mall – we reckon it’s a neat feature of the GT-R which barks its technology and performance potential.
Likewise some point to the firm ride on rough roads. C’mon – what else would you expect from a 1740kgs coupe with race track suspension and 20-inch alloys which are 10.5 inches wide at the rear?
Nope, we can’t deduct points from the GT-R in any department.
Nissan GT-R Verdict
One of the best cars of all time? We think so and we’ve been saying that since the original Nissan GT-R appeared back in the 1990s.
In saying that, there’s no doubt the GT-R isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It is hardcore and like all cutting-edge high-performance cars it isn’t relaxing to drive – never has been and, we hope, never will be.
This is a car for enthusiasts – driving enthusiasts and technology enthusiasts. This is the very best of automotive technology as it stands today (and with word out the next GT-R will debut some hybrid componentry, it sounds like Nissan isn’t about to change that strategy any time soon).
The GT-R remains the best car of its type money can buy…and yes it wears a Nissan badge.
Nissan GT-R The Competition
Let’s not kid ourselves, we’re taking a stunning lineup here, all of which are Carshowroom.com.au favourites.
Audi’s RS5 is very sharply priced at $161,400 and its 4.2-litre V8 packs a mighty punch with 331kW/430Nm delivering zero to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds (2.7 seconds for the GT-R don’t forget). The RS5 is brutal but nowhere near as gut-wrenching as the GT-R.
There isn’t a Porsche 911 with zero to 100km/h under 4.2 seconds (that’s the $249,050 2WD Carrera S). The fastest all-wheel-drive 911 is the $258,800 Carrera 4S (4.5 seconds).