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You don't have to be a Formula 1 demigod to extract every ounce of potential from the shock-and-awe Nissan GT-R--but it wouldn't hurt.
The GT-R commands respect from a cadre of cars straight out of the exotic section--cars like the 911 Turbo, Corvette Stingray, practically the entire AMG and M lineups. Key it to life, and your attention needs to be laser-focused, even though it's one of the most predictable supercars ever. You'll roll up into triple-digits speeds--in corners--before you can catch your breath.You also have to pay special attention, because the $100,000 GT-R doesn't look so wild or iconic as the other supercars that categorically fall short of its benchmarks, except in the most sensual, subjective ways.
As an objective reality, nothing even comes close to the GT-R's 545 hp, 0-60 mph times of less than 3.0 seconds, or its brilliant all-wheel-drive handling. Still, Corvettes and Vipers and 911s and Veyrons have instantly identifiable shapes. The GT-R doesn't lack for a possessing style, but it doesn't quite live up to those iconic outlines, either. Its jagged outline reads more tuner car, more body kit, than instant classic. The components cut interesting swaths across its luxury-coupe outline: a tomahawk cut at the roofline chops into the rear end, and carbon fiber trim gives the plain interior just a dab of intrigue--given more panache with the red-and-black Recaros in Black Series models.
You'd have to spend a lot more than the Nissan GT-R's $100,000 base price to sling yourself to 60 mph any faster on four wheels. The next step up? The Bugatti Veyron, at a cool million-point-plus, if you even qualify for consideration. Last year's rework of the drivetrain brought another 15 horsepower and 15 pound-feet to the party. The 3.6-liter, twin-turbo V-6 now thunders with 545 hp and 463 lb-ft of torque, for blistering acceleration that hooks up perfectly with awe-inspiring traction from the GT-R's brainy all-wheel drive system. Those huge wheels and tires hang on with near-bottomless buckets of grip, leaving you little room to explore the GT-R's beautifully balanced handling--which can be dialed into a softer state at the touch of a switch.
With four seats, the Nissan GT-R makes two rare concessions to practicality. It's almost impossible to name another supercar with a pair of rear seats, other than the Porsche 911 Turbo--and the GT-R's actually have real leg room. The GT-R has great room for people in front, and that bit of room for small people in back, as well as a useful trunk. But don't expect too much in the way of touring-car comfort; there's plenty of noise from the road and the driveline. In fact, if you choose the new Track Edition, you don't even get the rear seats.
The Nissan GT-R has the safety equipment we expect to find in any modern luxury car, and some necessary features we routinely see now in sportscars and supercars. But there aren't any crash-test scores yet, and we don't expect to get any from the IIHS or the NHTSA any time soon. A rearview camera, now standard, addresses the GT-R's blind spots.
It's no longer the screaming bargain it was in 2008 when it cost less than $70,000, but at $99,590, the standard GT-R Premium still is well-outfitted with all the gadgets its drivers will want--though the $109,300 Black Edition and the $115,710 Track Edition boast their own worthwhile features. Features are as respectable as they can be without begging any mention of plush or luxurious (that it is not), but all the basics are included, as well as a great 3D nav system, Bose audio, and Bluetooth. Take the Premium Interior package--it goes a long way to correcting the inexpensive-looking cockpit, the GT-R's most visible flaw--and you'll have Infiniti-grade luxury in a car with NASA-grade acceleration.
- Unbelievable all-wheel-drive composure
- Rapid-fire dual-clutch shifts
- NASA-grade acceleration
- The only $100,000 car bargain we know of
- Premium Interior package's lavish leather
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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