- Excellent handling and poise
- Automated manual transmission
- Stunning acceleration
- An affordable exotic
- Styling isn't quite that of an exotic
- Detached feel of driving experience
- Lack of a true manual transmission
The 2010 GT-R achieves the unthinkable: It outraces some of the world's top sports cars, at a fraction of their price.
With its tremendous twin-turbo V-6 engine, all-wheel drive, and automated manual transmission, the 2010 Nissan GT-R is a supercar in all but the price tag. To those who don't mind the modest cachet, the four-seat GT-R is a bargain Bugatti Veyron at less than one-tenth the price.
Far from a completely new idea, the GT-R descends from a long line of Japanese-market Skyline sports cars. Nissan made a smart choice in bringing this one to the United States, as it's one of the most attractive versions yet. With a more conservative, minimalist look, the GT-R's design shows a lot more restraint next to flamboyant, sensuous Italian exotics and all-business German sports cars. The flared-out, reaching front end and rakish roofline cut into the rear end with tomahawk clarity, with a prominent rear wing and abruptly abbreviated rear end, marked with quad rear circular lights. Inside, the GT-R looks quite different than other current Nissan products in the United States, with a definite cockpit feel, including center-stack controls angled toward the driver and rather narrow, heavily bolstered seats.
For 2010, the Nissan GT-R gets an additional 5 horsepower, with output from its twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-6 now at 485 hp. Coupled to that is a stout paddle-shifted automated manual transmission (no clutch pedal here). No doubt, the GT-R delivers dizzying acceleration, with 0-60 times of about 3.3 seconds. Up until now, the transmission hadn't been so smooth in normal driving, but Nissan has improved drivability for 2010. Braking has also been updated, with rigid brake lines and improved stability control. The GT-R's handling is brilliant, and its adjustability gives the GT-R something of a cushion on public roads—made more assuring with the variable-power-split, all-wheel-drive system. Our only complaint is that there’s a bit of detachment from its driving experience—with capabilities so awesome and an experience that's so user-friendly, it’s a bit like driving a video-game car.
Surprisingly, you'll find two real rear seats in the 2010 GT-R, though adults won’t be happy wedged back there. Think of the GT-R as a race-worthy car adapted for the street and you'll be more positive about the interior; some of the materials used in the cabin are merely acceptable, with none of the exotic woods and swirled-aluminum finishes of the truly upper-crust sports cars. But you’ll never mistake it for an Infiniti G37. And even though the suspension has been retuned for 2010, the GT-R’s somewhat punishing ride and noisy transmission remind you constantly that you’re in charge of a machine that could throw down for track time and reach 193 mph.
The 2010 Nissan GT-R—or any of the previous model-year GT-Rs—hasn’t been crash-tested, and it almost seems a blasphemy to even contemplate the tests. Both GT-R versions now come with seat side airbags and roof-mounted curtain bags, and you can even shut off the traction and stability control for track-time fun.
Just two options and two accessories are offered on the GT-R for 2010. There's a Cold Weather Package, Special Super Silver Paint, an iPod interface, and special floor mats. Base GT-R models now get 20-inch smoke-finish RAYS forged-aluminum wheels, while the Premium model gets a "near black" metallic wheel finish and nitrogen-filled run-flats. Premium models also add heated seats and an upgraded Bose audio system with Music Box hard-drive storage.