New & Used Nissan GT-R: In Depth
Matt McCulloh takes delivery of the first 2015 Nissan GT-R NISMO in the U.S.Enlarge Photo
Shopping for a new Nissan GT-R?
GET A FREE PRICE QUOTE
Though prices have climbed steadily since it was introduced, the Nissan GT-R continues to represent a relative value in the super-performance car world. Using its twin-turbocharged, all-wheel-drive powertrain and advanced electronics, it delivers performance on par with supercars costing three times its price or more. Its design, though familiar after more than five years on the market, remains a head-turner. The GT-R competes with the more powerful versions of the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, and Audi R8, among many others.
For the 2015 model year, Nissan added a higher-performance NISMO model and improved the comfort and refinement of all GT-Rs. For more details, see our full review of the 2015 Nissan GT-R; driving impressions can be had in this 2015 Nissan GT-R Quick Drive.
The GT-R draws on a heritage of performance from a long line of Japanese-market Nissan Skyline sport coupes, not all of which were top-shelf sports cars. Today, just a quick look at the GT-R's spec sheet is enough to see it's a supercar. It has a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6, now making 545 horsepower (up from 473 hp at its introduction), and it follows a unique layout, with the engine in front and transmission in back. All-wheel drive does its best to put all that power to the road.
The GT-R's shape is nowhere near as exotic as those of most of its competitors; Nissan's all-wheel-drive coupe can appear downright blocky and chunky from afar. Once you approach, however, you start to see the details, like its cantilevered roofline, big rear wing, and iconic circular taillights. Inside the GT-R, there's a very driver-focused feel, something different form all other Nissan products, with a center screen programmed with help from video game designers.
Whether or not you're a fan of the look, the GT-R delivers with dizzying acceleration, including 0-60 times of about 3.0 seconds and a top speed upwards of 193 mph. Shifts are made through an automated manual gearbox. In normal driving, the GT-R's performance potential is hard to tap into, but push a little faster when you get the chance and the driving experience is a little more detached and video-game-like than it should be. That said, handling is excellent and the variable power-split all-wheel drive system helps make you both fast and safe.
Like nearly every model year since the current model was introduced, 2010 brought a few upgrades to the GT-R lineup. A brake upgrade consisted of more rigid lines, and there was an update to the stability-control programming. A Cold Weather Package, an iPod interface, and forged RAYS wheels with a smoked finish were added as well. There were two trim levels for 2012, base and Premium, with the more expensive one including upgraded Bose audio and heated seats.
Nissan discontinued the Launch Control feature due to excessive warranty claims. Since launch control helped yield the former GT-R its excellent acceleration times—with some testers saying the GT-R is a second or more slower to 60 mph without it—Nissan restored it in a limited way for the 2012 model year, while it also boosted total output to 530 hp. Those changes bring the supercar's 60-mph runs down to about 3.0 seconds, according to buff-book numbers. Other changes for the 2012 model year include a special "black" edition and revised interior trim.
Nissan brought a more extensive round of improvements for 2014. In addition to some structural reinforcements, the new GT-R got revised suspension mounts that lowered its center of mass. A special Track Edition was also offered. Peak output for the engine remains at 545 hp and 463 lb-ft, although mid-range response has been improved with high-output fuel injectors and revised turbochargers. Pricing rose to a base of $99,590.
The 2015 Nissan GT-R brought the Nismo edition to reality, turning the wick up to 600 hp and 480 lb-ft, and setting a new GT-R Nürburgring lap record along the way. A Premium model offers slightly tamer performance with more focus on refinement and luxury, with the base price rising to $101,770. Nissan also plans a 45th Anniversary edition 2015 GT-R, 45 of which will be sold in Japan only.