New & Used Nissan GT-R: In Depth
2015 Nissan GT-R - Quick Drive, June 2014Enlarge Photo
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The Nissan GT-R is a turbocharged supercar that is less expensive than many other exotics, but still has performance that rivals virtually any Italian car on the market. Its technology and sophisticated software make it drivable enough to take to the store, and its rear seats provide a degree of practicality. Despite its familiarity at this point, the GT-R’s design still turns heads. It competes with the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911, and the Audi R8.
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 530 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.
In silhouette only, the GT-R isn't as exotic as some of those other fanboy dream cars. Some enthusiasts might be put off by its more minimalist, conservative look. But up close, the GT-R delivers on the details, with the rakish roofline, rear wing, and quad circular rear lights. And inside, the GT-R is quite the departure from any other current Nissan product—including an instrument panel design that angles its controls toward the driver.
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.
A number of small changes were introduced on the GT-R for 2010. Brakes were upgraded, with more rigid lines, and the stability control system was updated. Also, smoke-finish RAYS forged-aluminum wheels were introduced, along with a Cold Weather Package and iPod interface. Base and Premium models were offered with the latter getting heated seats and a Bose audio upgrade.
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 has already announced a more extensive round of improvements for 2014. In addition to some structural reinforcements, the new GT-R gets revised suspension mounts that lower its center of mass. A special Track Edition will also be offered, to be followed by a Nismo edition in 2014. 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 has also risen to a base of $99,590.