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PERFORMANCE | 10 out of 10
“a nearly foolproof chassis with supernatural balance”
Car and Driver
“most powerful production engine Nissan has ever built”
“True supercar performance”
“not all that exciting to drive”
Los Angeles Times
By any gauge—acceleration, top speed, braking, or handling, on the road or on the track—the GT-R's performance is stunning. 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. Popular Mechanics says that the GT-R's powerplant is the “most powerful production engine Nissan has ever built.” 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. Edmunds says the GT-R "delivers true supercar performance in a user-friendly package for less coin than a base Porsche 911.”
The GT-R is capable of astonishing acceleration times. How about a cornea-peeling “3.2-second zero-to-60 mph time,” as Motor Trend records? Edmunds reports the GT-R “teleported to 60 mph in a drama-free 3.3 seconds, thanks to its launch control function [no longer offered], and turned in a blistering 11.6-second quarter-mile at nearly 121 mph.” Motor Trend attests the GT-R “ties our best runs in a Porsche 911 Turbo and a 911 GT3-R, and trails only the Ferrari Enzo (3.1 sec) and Bugatti Veyron (2.7 sec) among production test cars,” making it a “Ferrari killer” in the eyes of the L.A. Times.
The much-acclaimed launch control system that made its debut in the 2009 GT-R is now gone from the 2010. Motor Trend explains that the system burdened Nissan with warranty claims, as it " tempted too many overzealous owners to abuse it while saying, 'Hey, watch this!'"
Edmunds says that the gearbox “ranks right up there with the best in the business.” Edmunds adds, though, “as good as the GT-R's exclusive clutchless manual is, you can still shift many competing models the old-fashioned way if you want, and we wish the same were true of the GT-R.” Up until now, the transmission hadn't been so smooth in normal driving, but Nissan has improved drivability for 2010.
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. Nissan calls the all-wheel-drive system ATTESA E-TS. “Though the AWD system has a rearward torque bias, up to 50-percent of the torque can be sent through the computer controlled center differential to the front wheels. How much torque depends on speed, lateral and transverse acceleration, steering angles, tire slippage and yaw rate,” Popular Mechanics explains. "Some cars provide tail-out fun, but the GT-R is serious business and keeps the party moving, flat and composed, in the right direction," says NADAGuides.
Handling is also aided by adjustable electronics that control the shift quality, suspension firmness, and steering response in the GT-R. Three switches allow drivers to fiddle with settings: “One controls the suspension, another adjusts how quickly the transmission shifts and the last determines the intrusiveness of the VDC-R stability control,” Popular Mechanics observes. “R” mode “is the most aggressive setting possible, short of turning the stability control off,” they add. There is a “perceptible difference between the 'R' and 'Comfort' suspension settings,” they note, while Edmunds reports “as capable as the GT-R is at the racetrack, it nonetheless manages to be bearable on the street, even if no one will mistake it for a luxury coupe…although the GT-R's ride is never less than stiff, the suspension settings can be fiddled with so pavement imperfections need not be treated like land mines.” MSN Autos says the GT-R’s “steering is very direct with a level of feedback rarely found in even today’s best high-performance offerings, keeping the driver in control and informed about what the car is doing."
The same holds true for the brakes, with a solid and direct pedal connecting the driver to the massive Brembo calipers, and Cars.com feels “this car rides impossibly smoothly.” Braking has also been updated for 2010, with rigid brake lines and improved stability control.
Overall, most reviewers sound a bit awestruck when summing up the experience. “This is a nearly foolproof chassis with supernatural balance,” Car and Driver declares. “It makes any driver seem smoother and faster.” On the challenging Nurburgring racetrack in Germany, the awesomely capable “GT-R lapped the Nurburgring in 7 minutes 38 seconds with a pro driver in partially wet conditions,” Popular Mechanics points out.
The only complaint—both from TheCarConnection.com and from several other reviewers—is that there’s a bit of detachment from its driving experience; with capabilities so awesome but an experience that's so user-friendly, it’s a bit like driving a video-game car. Cars.com also feels “it’s not engaging to drive in day-to-day circumstances.” The Los Angeles Times calls it “Godzilla on Prozac” and says it’s “not all that exciting to drive.”
Although the 2010 Nissan GT-R might not satisfy the emotional connection demanded by some drivers, its performance is among the best in the world.