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Its handling is brilliant, and its adjustability gives the GT-R something of a cushion on public roads—but you’ll never mistake it for an Infiniti G37. The GT-R’s somewhat punishing ride and noisy transmission remind you constantly that you’re in charge of a machine that can rocket to 60 mph in about 3.3 seconds and spin around the world's most difficult racetracks faster than any other car ever has.
There are some compromises to the GT-R package to make it usable on the street. You'll find two real rear seats, though adults won’t be happy to be scuttled in back. Some interior materials are merely acceptable—there are none of the exotic woods and swirled-aluminum finishes of the truly upper-crust sportscars. However, having a backseat at all is a bonus for drivers, even if those passengers end up at the wrong end of an airsick bag.
The 2009 GT-R hasn’t been crash-tested, and it almost seems a blasphemy to even contemplate the tests. Nevertheless, the Premium versions come with every safety device imaginable. You can even shut off the traction and stability control for track-time fun. However, be warned that base versions do not offer side and curtain airbags, likely to make them less costly for drivers who might use them exclusively as race cars.
Nissan has set an impossibly tough price-to-power ratio with the new GT-R. It’s the performance equal of cars costing twice as much. And though there’s a bit of detachment from its driving experience—its capabilities are so awesome and user-friendly, it’s a bit like driving a video game car—it’s absolutely stunning to be at the helm of such mechanical magnificence.
If you like the 2009 Nissan GT-R, also consider:
- Porsche 911 Turbo
- Chevrolet Corvette
Like some vice-presidential picks, the GT-R has laid low some well-thought-out plans for world domination with its scorching power and deft handling. The most attuned competitors are the new 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the Porsche 911 Turbo. The ZR1's supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 will push it to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, 0.3 second faster than the Corvette Z06, according to GM; it'll hit 100 mph in 7.0 seconds, turn in quarter-mile times of 11.3 seconds at 131 mph, and charge to a claimed top speed of 205 mph, all for a price tag some $20,000 higher than the GT-R—and minus two seats. The 911 Turbo punches out 480 horsepower for $125,000—and offers itself in convertible trim for buyers who want the top-down driving experience at nearly 200 mph.