2019 Nissan GT-R Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

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February 14, 2019

Buying tip

No matter the GT-R you choose, spend a bit extra for lessons at a performance driving school so you can enjoy Godzilla’s talents to the fullest.

The 2019 Nissan GT-R is a racing video game for the road with twin-turbo power, immense grip, and everyday usability.

The 2019 Nissan GT-R might be the least-dramatic supercar in the world, but only because it’s effortlessly, breathtakingly fast. The GT-R’s video game-like pace and driving dynamics and (somewhat) palatable price keep it a compelling option even as this design’s age is readily apparent, warranting a rating of 6.6 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

After a handful of updates the past few model years, the GT-R is unchanged for 2019 apart from a $50 price bump at every trim level above the base Pure, which starts just a hair over $100,000.

Despite a decade in the U.S. market, the GT-R has aged remarkably well from a styling standpoint, with just enough modern touches to keep it current. Though the boxy profile is more akin to an ordinary coupe than a supercar, part of this Nissan’s appeal is its everyday usability despite mind-bending performance.

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Speaking of which, the fire-breathing heart of the GT-R is a hand-built 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 that cranks out 565 horsepower as standard and 600 hp in Nismo guise, making 60 mph possible in just 2.7 seconds. Standard all-wheel drive and a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission provide astonishing grip and responsiveness, and the adjustable suspension makes the GT-R both a more comfortable cruiser and a corner-carving monster.

Though starting at over six figures, the GT-R’s performance keeps it competitive with some of the world’s most exclusive supercars for a relative bargain, and an updated interior with standard navigation, Apple CarPlay compatibility, Bose audio, active noise cancellation, four seats (if not room for four adults), and nappa leather upholstery make it more usable than almost any of its more expensive competitors.

No safety ratings are available and without any active features such as automatic emergency braking, driving the GT-R will require your full attention, but it’s likely to hold it anyway. Fuel economy is impressive for a car of this performance level, too, managing 18 mpg combined.

 
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2019 Nissan GT-R

Styling

Now in its second decade of existence, the 2019 Nissan GT-R looks contemporary but restrained next to its counterparts.

Despite an age now in double digits, the 2019 Nissan GT-R has aged well, but isn’t as exciting to look at as other sports and supercars in its performance bracket. Still, the classic coupe proportions and tasteful touches warrant 8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

While other supercars wear slinkier sheet metal, the 2019 GT-R’s looks belie the performance within, cutting the profile of a relatively common coupe. There’s no mistaking Godzilla for anything else on the road, especially now that the Altima coupe no longer exists…

With the right amount of flares, intakes, and spoilers to dial up the intrigue, though, this is a handsome vehicle over 10 years into its run. A new grille and LED lights help keep things current, while the interior is updated from PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 4, and features the right number of knobs, buttons, and screens displaying pertinent driving information.

Opting for the Track Edition or Nismo versions of the GT-R dials up the visual intensity, but rest assured that the lip spoilers, upgraded brakes and wheels, and other touches are as much about shaving seconds off lap times as impressing bystanders.

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2019 Nissan GT-R

Performance

With mind-bending grip and acceleration, the 2019 Nissan GT-R keeps it among the greats.

Performance is what the 2019 Nissan GT-R is all about, and despite its age, this car scoots with extraordinary pace, especially for the price. That’s good enough for an 10 out of 10 in our book. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

By now, you may have heard plenty of the Nissan GT-R’s beating heart, a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that’s hand-built by specially-trained engineers in Japan for each individual vehicle. With 565 horsepower and 467 pound-feet of torque, there are some muscle cars and supercars that have it beat, but it’s in how the GT-R delivers that power that makes it a legend.

The sprint to 60 miles-per-hour comes in just 2.7 seconds (or less) on the way to a top speed of nearly 200 mph, and with over 10 years of tinkering with the performance, the 2019 GT-R is better-sorted than ever. That mind-bending acceleration is thanks in part to the excellent all-wheel-drive system and 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that both come standard, putting the power down through 20-inch wheels with no drama whatsoever and helping Godzilla corner like it’s on rails.

Adjustable suspension, transmission, stability control, and throttle settings change this car’s character dramatically too, making for an acceptable commuter car in Comfort mode but turning into a track star in R mode. Brembo six-piston front and four-piston rear brakes help reign things in, and though the Nismo version has a spine-fusing ride quality, it’s insane lap times and 600-hp output are hard to argue with, even at over $75,000 more than the base model.

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2019 Nissan GT-R

Comfort & Quality

While the performance has always been there, the 2019 Nissan GT-R finally delivers in the creature comforts department.

The 2019 Nissan GT-R has always offered a modicum more practicality than its counterparts, but finally has the interior chops to go along with it. We give it 5 out of 10 for comfort and quality, with points for its front seats and its fine furnishings but one dialed back due to a rear seat that’s not ready for adults. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Updated for the 2017 model year, the GT-R’s interior trimmings include new seats, finer nappa leather and other materials, and an infotainment system out of this decade. Small ergonomic touches like paddle shifters on the wheel instead of steering column go a long way for usability too, and popular features such as satellite navigation, Bose audio, and Apple CarPlay compatibility are welcome on all models.

With two back seats suitable for kids and a trunk large enough to hold more than a backpack, the GT-R could almost be a daily driver in comparison to other cars in its performance bracket. Though performance-focused trims like the Track Edition and Nismo are back-breaking in terms of ride quality, other GT-Rs are relatively comfortable and quiet in normal driving thanks to adaptive suspension and active noise cancellation. This car is a monster only when you want it to be.

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2019 Nissan GT-R

Safety

No crash test data is available for the 2019 Nissan GT-R, nor are active safety features due to its age.

Neither the NHTSA or IIHS has ever tested the 2019 Nissan GT-R for crashworthiness over its decade-long run, so we’re unable to give it a safety rating. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Beyond that, with its old bones the GT-R has no space to squeeze in the sensors and other electronic gizmos needed for modern features such as automatic emergency braking and active lane control, so its safety tech is limited to a rearview camera, stability and traction control, and a full complement of airbags.

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2019 Nissan GT-R

Features

With a six-figure base price the 2019 Nissan GT-R isn’t cheap, but it’s a relative performance bargain.

It’s hard to believe the Nissan GT-R cost about $70,000 when it was first released over a decade ago, but though the 2019 version has shot up from that number, it’s a bargain considering the performance on tap. That said, it warrants 7 out of 10 on our scale for features. It’s not lacking much, but it’s not exactly lavish, either. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

At $101,685 including a $1,695 destination charge, the 2019 Nissan GT-R certainly isn’t cheap, but at a discount of tens of thousands over its contemporaries, Godzilla starts to look like a steal. The base Pure edition rings in at that unchanged price and includes an 8.0-inch infotainment system with navigation and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, and configurable driving modes. The Premium trim adds an 11-speaker Bose audio system, active noise cancellation and sound enhancement, a titanium exhaust system, and more paint colors and interior options for around $10,000 more. Track Edition GT-Rs come in at over $130,000 but include several performance upgrades to the suspension, brakes, and aerodynamics, and the top-tier Nismo model gets 600 horsepower along with everything Nissan’s performance division has to offer for an eye-watering $177,235.

Still, how many other cars below $150,000 can reach 60 mph in just 3 seconds? The answer is three, since you asked. Only the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Tesla Model S Performance, and Dodge Challenger Demon share the honor, and the latter requires racing fuel to do it.

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2019 Nissan GT-R

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Nissan GT-R is relatively fuel-efficient for a supercar and is likely the last non-hybrid GT-R ever, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Thanks to a lower cylinder count than its contemporaries, the 2019 Nissan GT-R manages decent fuel economy for a sub-3-second car to 60 mph.

We give it 3 out of 10 for fuel economy as such. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Lacking a hybrid powertrain like its counterpart from Acura, the NSX, Nissan’s GT-R still manages 16 mpg city, 22 highway, and 18 combined. The Chevrolet Corvette manages better on the highway thanks to cylinder deactivation, and the Porsche 911 can reach the upper 20s, but few non-hybrid cars with over 550-horsepower come close to the GT-R in terms of efficiency.

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$99,990
MSRP based on Pure AWD
 
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6.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 10
Comfort & Quality 5
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 3
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