The 2009 Nissan GT-R is utterly unlike any other car in the Japanese automaker’s lineup. With its scaldingly powerful twin-turbo V-6 engine, all-wheel drive, and automated manual transmission, it’s a supercar in all but price tag—a bargain Bugatti Veyron at less than one-tenth the price, though admittedly without all the cachet to spare.
The GT-R descends from a long line of Japanese Skyline sportscars. It’s one of the best-looking versions yet; the rakish roofline cuts into the rear end with tomahawk clarity, while the arching, reaching front fenders imply animalistic urges under the hood. It’s completely unlike the sensuous Italian offerings and the all-business German exoticars—an Ultraman among ultra-sportscars.
In its latest iteration, the four-seater brings with it a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-6 that pumps out 473 horsepower. That’s if you listen to Nissan’s official estimates; enthusiast magazines have tested the GT-R on a dynamometer, which measures horsepower, and come up with figures far higher. Coupling that amazing power to a stout paddle-shifted automated manual transmission (no clutch pedal here) and a variable-power-split, all-wheel-drive system, the GT-R achieves the unthinkable: It outraces the likes of Porsche 911 Turbos and Chevrolet Corvette Z06s, while ringing in at a price tag in the low-$70,000 range.