By on May 7, 2008

2009_gt-r052.jpgThe GT-R is the blind date everybody’s been telling you about for months: incredible body, second in her class at Harvard, fabulous conversationalist, star athlete. Then you meet her. Yes, she has obvious “assets,” but nobody mentioned the halitosis. She graduated with a B.A. in accounting. She’s a great conversationalist, but her voice sounds like run-flat tires with three-inch sidewalls running over a concrete-aggregate rumble and tar-strip slap. She's an athlete, but a grunting shot-putter, not a Sharapova. In short, the GT-R is SO not a supermodel.

I spent 1,450 miles inside a Nissan GT-R in early April, flying through the deserts of Nevada and central California. I didn't notch 193mph, the GT-R's top speed. But I (or you) could have done so with ease. I decided not to approach this limit to preserve my license. In fact, the Nissan coupe plants itself on the road better than any car I've ever driven.

2009_gt-r054.jpgStretching the GT-R’s legs on an open Nevada two-lane road was so simple that my 28-year-old daughter could repeat the process a few minutes later while I lazed in the right seat. When we passed opposite-direction tandem tractor-trailers on these empty highways, it was as though the GT-R slipped by a Smart. With a Cd of .27 and just enough downforce in all the right places, aerodynamics are apparently a lot of what allows this car to go so fast so easily.

If there's anything to criticize about the GT-R's handling— I also spent an afternoon with the car lapping the mickey mouse Reno-Fernley Raceway— it's the steering. While the helm’s quick and precise, it’s strangely numb and electric-feeling. The Japanese still have a lot to learn from Porsche here, but the GT-R is ridiculously nimble for a two-tonner (with driver and gas).

2009_gt-r021.jpgTwo of the car's most highly touted features baffle me, though. One is the endlessly configurable instrument display, called-up via the nav screen. Nissan readily admits that it “was inspired by videogames.” It’s not what you’d call useful– unless you're intent on studying steering-wheel deflection, slip angle, transmission-oil pressure and brake-pedal position while late-apexing an off-ramp. It's the geek equivalent of the complex chronographs of the 19th century: pocket watches that read out everything from the tides to your mistress's menstrual cycle.

The GT-R’s fiddly “launch mode” for maximum acceleration (meaning turbo spool-up) is also a curiosity. It will amuse those who haven't an ounce of mechanical sensibility who don't mind abusing machinery. Actual GT-R owners will use it a few times to amuse the neighbors, and then will realize that they're still making payments on the $70,000+ appliance they're brutalizing. Even Nissan told me to only use it "once or twice."

2009_gt-r029.jpgFor me, the car's tires are the biggest turnoff. Quick! Name a single benefit to run-flats. They're noisy, expensive, difficult to repair and can only dismount with special machinery. I don't have a spare in my 911 either, since a fuel cell fills the trunk, but I use Ride-On to seal its tires permanently. (No, Ride-On has nothing in common with Slime or Fix-a-Flat.) The Bridgestones on the GT-R are so loud they negate the Bose sound system; a Costco Kenwood would have sufficed amid the din.

Obviously, this car's numbers– whether we're talking racetrack lap times, zero to sixty or MSRP– are stunning. We all know that GT-Rs are lapping the Nordschleife faster and faster, that they out-accelerate Porsche Turbos and ZO6s and cost $69,850 (plus “market adjustment fees…”).  There's a lot to like about this car, but is it the ultimate, the Godzilla, the Nurburgring killa? 

2009_gt-r049.jpgWho cares? Acquiring a supercar, rather than fantasizing about one, faces the buyer with a decision with vastly more to do with real-world attributes than with video games, bad movies and teen fetishes. (Admittedly, the last video game I played was Space Invaders.) It fascinated me that nobody in Nevada or California noticed the GT-R, other than carwash attendants, 14-year-olds with mullets and every parking valet in Vegas.  The rest of the world walked on by, assuming they’d encountered a new Toyota Supra.

Seventeen years ago, the first Japanese supercar arrived in the States: the Acura NSX. Fabulous numbers, a half-price Ferrari, buff-book craziness, slavering car writers, rumored to be the benchmark for the McLaren F1, development work by Ayrton Senna…  So where did the NSX go?  Ultimately, it became the orthodontist's car, when the world went back to buying Porsches and real Ferraris. Care to take bets on what will happen to the GT-R?

Bottom line: the car world may have gone cuckoo for Coco Puffs over the GT-R but it’s ultimately a pointless, nerdy, twin-turbo, electronics-laden technological curiosity. 

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111 Comments on “2009 Nissan GT-R Review...”


  • avatar
    JJ

    I agree…

    The GTR has a lot of appeal right now but I doubt it will age well, as it is an unmistakbly Japanese design. A lot of the appeal is in the technological prowess, but that will soon be outdone again by other cars with more appealing looks and brand names.

    One thing though…it’s McLaren, not MacLaren.

  • avatar

    JJ:

    One thing though…it’s McLaren, not MacLaren.

    My bad. Text amended.

    I’m kind disappointed. I drove the first (R34) Skyline. And while it was the hardest riding car ever created (128i excepted), it was FUN! I think the range was just over 100 miles, but WTH.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Also read (and watch) Dan Neil’s review, where he elaborates a bit more on what makes a Porsche GT2 special to drive and the GT-R a bit, well, boring.

    The GT-R inspires no lust from me. It’s just too ugly to be desirable. Nissan should spend their time by putting a V8 in the G coupe and going M3 hunting; at least the G37 looks the part.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Sounds exactly like my kind of car:

    I don’t listen to the radio nor music much at all. Radio not needed.

    The run-flats are easily replaceable, no?

    I’m a computer geek.

    Now if only it was actually purchasable….

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Nissan is Pretty Fast Now A Days with this
    GT-RRRRRRR.

    But they sacrifice something?
    The way it LOOK.

  • avatar

    Shame… I had higher hopes for it.

  • avatar

    Not the review we’ve been reading everywhere else.

    Great job, Stephan.

  • avatar

    I don’t usually like to sign on with the hype, and the GT-R has had nothing but hype for months and months, but I still kinda love it. Mostly because I think it’ll do the same thing for upper-end performance cars that the WRX did for the $25,000 set – force supercar manufacturers to rethink their products in order to compete with this bargain basement speed demon. Regardless of whether it has the cachet of a Porsche or Ferrari, it’s sure as hell faster than almost any car out there so them snobby big boys better start scrambling to turn oup the heat.

  • avatar
    John R

    Interesting. To me, this reads like a pretty scathing write up yet you still have it 4 out of 5 stars.

    I am wondering, is it that the performance is just that undenialble or did you really enjoy the car and are just being polemic in your review?

    And I believe the parallel you’ve drawn to the NSX is flawed. Just because both are pricey sports cars from Japan does not mean they are similar. You might as well compare a DB9 to a Exige. They are both from the UK, so why not?

    Here is what I mean. Say what you will about the NSX. It was a fabulous car and I am big fan of it, but you really had to love a $100k exotic that could have barely beaten a 300ZX Twin-turbo from a stop. The GT-R is not this. The MSRP at most is $76k (before the dealers decide to assault your check book), and it will consistently embarrass owners of cars 3 times its price almost anywhere and anytime.

    Looks? I like it, a lot. And I am not 14 years old. I am 27. You want a car that attracts the attention of Goldiggers and sycophants? That’s what Porsches and Ferraris and Lamborghinis are for. I’ve known people like that and I don’t care for them. I think there is something to be said for anonymonity in car that is so effortless.

    I find it amusing when a Japanese automaker puts out a design that is unmistakenly Japanese and then is chastised for it, but then offers a design that is more in keeping with American and European conventions and then is accused of plagiarism.

    I’m glad you don’t care for it. Which is what I love most about its looks. Japan’s automakers will never achieve the “prestige” of the European premium brands and I don’t think they have to. To me the GT-R is Japan and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    Gee, I didn’t think it was a _scathing_ writeup, I was mainly commenting on its chances for market success. The car’s pure performance is so stunning that it would be ridiculous to fault it by giving it three stars, say.

    Nor did I mean to draw a parallel to the NSX in terms of the machinery–just the concept.

  • avatar
    virages

    Somehow I think that the comparison with the NSX is off. The more proper comparison is the Corvette. The corvette is America’s supercar for cheap, Godzilla is Japan’s unlike the NSX that was ultimately underpowered and overpriced. The GT-R on the otherhand has the right power and handling for its price.

    As for the runflats… if that’s the only thing… change-em…

  • avatar
    brownie

    Nice writeup. But I’m also going to pile on the NSX comparison. It sounds like a bit of revisionist history, I think. Part of the reason the world moved on from the NSX is that the NSX caused the supercar industry to raise its game, and for whatever reason Honda/Acura were content to never really update the NSX accordingly.

    It will be interesting to look back at this period of automotive history in about 30 years or so. I suspect we’ll see the NSX and GT-R as bookends in some way. But bookends to what?

  • avatar
    phil

    Unless you have access to a track, just where are you going to use this car’s potential? Risk your license on a regular basis, i don’t think so. other reviews have described a rock hard ride, so you have to put up with a stiff ride, high insurance payments, the nerdy interface, etc 99% of the time, with the occasional blast through the hills as compensation. you don’t even get the pleasure of a great exhaust note. i’d rather have a cayman with a true 6 speed and enjoy it every time i went for a drive.

  • avatar
    John R

    “…, I was mainly commenting on its chances for market success.”

    I understand that. But the circumstances are not the same. Part of the problem with the NSX was value for money. The Honda didn’t have very good value for money and, as someone has mentioned, wasn’t continually improved upon. It seems Nissan is committed to not rest on its laurels with this one ( http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/did-nissan-cheat-gt-r-nurburgring-record/ ).

    @Phil,

    Nissan already makes something you want. Check into a 350Z. Sounds great and can come with a 6-speed.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Stephan – nice review but I would have to disagree with the GT-Rs market prospects. Nissan will sell every one it makes and buyers will pay MSRP or more for them. Also given Nissan history with the GT-R they will continually refresh it unlike Honda with the NSX. Unlike the NSX, I would also expect that we’ll see a lot of the GT-R and the V-spec on race tracks around the world giving it a much higher profile – particularly if they win.

    A more fitting analogy would be to say that the GT-R maybe is to performance cars what the LS400 was to luxury cars – it won’t put a large dent into either Ferrari or Porsche but it will develop its own market niche and loyal following.

  • avatar
    ande5000

    So, you give it 4 stars out 5, but have nothing really good to say about the GT-R other than acknowledging stellar “numbers”, which in the real world are meaningless anyway. Sorry, but I don’t get it.

  • avatar
    Samir

    pointless, nerdy, twin-turbo, electronics-laden technological curiosity.

    Sounds great! Seriously, for the Nintendo generation, what’s cooler than that screen? I’m getting a boner just looking at it.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Fire up your post deleting skills I think you’ll need to do a lot of them.

    Actually the fact that the GT-R isn’t “Supercar” pretty and “Look at me” like a Lamborghini is a good thing. Its function over form, like the big ass wing on an Evo or STI, sure they look a tad stupid but at high speeds they are there for a reason.

    Once had a guy tell me who drove a 911 and an M5 that he loved everything about his cars except the badge. To the world at large BMW owners are pricks and Porsche owners are bigger pricks; obviously not the case but the stigma remains, it’s why you have to worry about people messing with your car even if the Tahoe next to you costs more.

    The GT-R is not for everyone, it’s not for posers or badge snobs it’s purposely built to perform at exceedingly high levels for half to a third of the cost of the competition. As Goshn said, the GT-R is an everyday supercar for everyone; true enthusiasts realize this. I give credit where credit is due.

    Now if Nissan could just make a mini GT-R say with 350hp, 3,500lbs, AWD, 4 seats and DSG for about $35k I’d be all over it. Either that or grow 2 more seats in the 370z (G37 is to heavy).

  • avatar
    RayH

    My personal best was 160mph. [ED: professional driver, closed course.] I decided not to go any faster purely to preserve my license.

    Law enforcement on the closed course? Damn, they want revenue!

    I agree it probably won’t be a super hot seller… but that actually makes it a little bit more appealing to me. I love the 350z, but around here, you see more than its fair share. Nice review.

  • avatar

    RayH:

    My personal best was 160mph. [ED: professional driver, closed course.] I decided not to go any faster purely to preserve my license.

    Law enforcement on the closed course? Damn, they want revenue!

    You know what? That was lame– although it gave you a nice underhand pitch to knock out of the park. I’ve removed my snide asides.

  • avatar

    Great review Stephan. As blatantly ugly as this car is, I have to wonder if Chris Bangle’s been moonlighting over at Nissan. It’s sad, as the performance numbers are stunning, and Nissan has quite obviously put a great deal of time into making the car behave in supercar fashion.

    The NSX reference is somewhat oblique, as its primary failing was that the Acura nameplate could not attract the gold-chain crowd. Also, in typical Honda fashion, they worked diligently to make it so that it actually functioned as an automobile while looking like art. Whether it did well in the marketplace or not, it definitely influenced the folks in both Stuttgart and Maranello.

    Finally, I really wonder if we haven’t all lost our collective minds with respect to staggering horsepower numbers and real-world driving. I’m driving a 335 these days and find that 98% of the time there is just no where to use the measly 300 hp; even a base 435 hp Corvette would be even more frustrating. And when I take the 335 to the track, I’m reminded of a modern liter-bike; the vehicle is simply capable of more performance than 99% of its drivers. I suppose if we were all sensible, we’d be driving Mazda MX-5′s…

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    OK, time to pile on some more here. The NSX is NOT a good comparision simply becuase the NSX did NOT out-perform any of the European exotics of its day.

    On the one hand the NSX was a great car, on the other it was a “so what” car. Aside from some excellent engineering under the skin and its mid-engine layout the NSX did nothing to truely standout in the crowd. It had good power, but nothing to get a hard-on over. The looks were also a bit “so-so”. Aside from adding a whopping 20hp HOnda did basically nothing to improve on this project over its 10+ year life. In all honesty Honda’s use of aluminum for the chassis was a big mistake, it made the car too expensive and made it too difficult to make changes to the design. Im sure hindsight would have Honda devoting its resources to a v8 and forgone the aluminum chassis. The irony of the NSX is that Porsche took a boxster, made a Cayman that cost far less and yet out-performed the last NSXs to come from Honda.

    The GT-R on the other hand is the second coming of the Porsche 959. Considering all of the cars on the market today the GT-R is undeniably special. It is a technological tour de force and also is putting up performance numbers that ARE shaming the likes of $150,000+ Porsches and Ferraris. The GT-R shows us just who has actually doing the real serious R&D in the world of sports cars lately. Put into perspective the GT-R makes the engineering that went into the ZR1 look like a aftermarket project and it also makes the Veryon look like a silly exercise in over-kill.

    The GT-R serves as a big fat victory not only for Nissan but for the entire Japanese auto-industry. It reenforces the fact the outside of their different missions in the marketplace the “so-called” high-end euro brands have NOTHING over the likes of Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and even Mazda when it comes to making high-performance cars.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    @carguy

    Your analogy is flawed as well. The LS400 put MB and BMW on their ears in terms of quality, performance, luxury, and sales. The LS400 took a huge chunk out of the S-class, E-class, 7 and 5-series sales. It also set the demise of American luxury brands.

    The GTR won’t be doing the same. The NSX analogy makes sense to me…except instead of going after the 348/355, the GTR is gunning for the 911 Turbo.

    The NSX showed that the Japanese can build a true sports car (midengine, lightweight, excellent handling, exotic materials at the time) and beat the Europeans at their own game, while costing a bit less.

    The GTR is doing the same, but the game has moved on from 1990-91 as well. It takes more electronics and safety nets to please the enthusiast with deep pockets, because those items give the numbers that look so good in bold print on the cover of Car & Driver or Motor Trend.

    Yes, we’ve had a little inflation in the past 17 years, but the NSX was originally priced around $75k…correct?

    I guess, at 25, I should be in love with this car. But, I’m not. It’s too much, it’s too heavy, and it’s too boring. Give me a Superformance Daytona instead.

  • avatar
    N85523

    Stephan,

    Before we go any further into the GT-R, there is one pressing issue which you seem to have omitted from your review. Could you please enlighten us to the button depicted below the instrument screen labeled “CARWINGS”. It can clearly be seen in the photo provided.

    I don’t care about the MSRP, 0-60, run-flats, or how it compares to its German competitors. I don’t care if this car is living up to its hype. We all need to know about CARWINGS.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @ N85523
    We all need to know about CARWINGS.

    Didn’t the 135i in “The Ramp” have CARWINGS?

  • avatar
    John R

    CARWINGS is an integrated SatNav Bluetooth dohickey from Nissan.

    http://www.engadget.com/2005/07/13/nissan-launches-carwings-bluetooth-based-telematics-systems/

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Interesting review, Stephan. I’d like to hear you describe the acceleration from 0-60, with AWD traction and both turbos spooling…what is that sensation like?

  • avatar
    N85523

    John R,

    So it’s On-Star with blue teeth? I was expecting something a little more Bat Man. What a let-down.

    Thanks for the info, though.

  • avatar
    geoff03

    I think the tech. goodies in this car are fantastic and aimed squarely at a younger crowd. The Japanese especially seem to be much more embracing of the newest bleeding edge technologies than Americans or other countries. A nav screen inspired by Gran Turismo? I love it.

    Anyway, the Nintendo NES was released in 1985, so if you were old enough to enjoy it at the time, say 10 years old, then you’d be in your early 30s now. These are the same people making lots of $$$ with their own software/tech companies with plenty of disposable income to drop on a GT-R. These same people probably wouldn’t be as interested in a Ferrari/Porsche which are more ‘traditional’. These are also the same people who’ve known the Skyline GT-R from all the video games its in.

    Anyway, I think Nissan is without a doubt aiming at the younger demographics and I think they absolutely nailed it with all the cool tech toys in the car.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Can anyone say nitpicking!

  • avatar
    cgraham

    Robert
    I love this site, i read it every day but I need to point this out:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/edmunds-gt-r-blog-reckless-driving/

    “I didn’t notch 193mph, the GT-R’s top speed, but I (or you) could have done so with ease. My personal best was 160mph.”
    “Stretching the GT-R’s legs to 160mph on an open Nevada two-lane road was so simple that my 28-year-old daughter did an easy 150mph a few minutes later while I lazed in the right seat.”

  • avatar
    serpico

    I could care less about Nissan. I know there are fans of this car just like back in the day with the NSX. I agree this model is a step above the NSX, but it is the same initial wow factor that is only present at the moment for me.

    It is a ‘nerdy techy playstation’ car for those who love it. I still think it’s a small niche of the market. I wouldn’t spend money on a NSX nor this GT-R. I don’t even drive the car in any console games and I love driving games.

  • avatar

    cgraham Robert I love this site, i read it every day but I need to point this out: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/edmunds-gt-r-blog-reckless-driving/ “I didn’t notch 193mph, the GT-R’s top speed, but I (or you) could have done so with ease. My personal best was 160mph.” “Stretching the GT-R’s legs to 160mph on an open Nevada two-lane road was so simple that my 28-year-old daughter did an easy 150mph a few minutes later while I lazed in the right seat.” You're absolutely right to point this out. I've removed the references above and regret their initial inclusion. I will also use this editorial misjudgment as a basis for our podcast intro today, so that others may comment on the changes without hijacking this thread.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While it may be disappointing to some that their latest acquisition is not attracting the stare of every pedestrian as they cruise by, but for others like me its a bonus. I don’t buy cars for the admiration or jealousy that they inspire in others – I buy cars because I enjoy driving. While the GT-R will not win any beauty contests it does what every performance car should – go like hell around a race track, be usable in real world driving and cost half as much as their Italian and German counterparts.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    Nitpicking.

    What’s your point?

  • avatar
    Wolven

    I think his point was, as plenty of others have pointed out, that it seems like you were working overtime to find things to slam the car for…

  • avatar
    Wolven

    Cutting the speed references was lame Farago

    Once again, TTAC is pandering to the Politically Correct. How fast do they (safely) drive on the German autobahns? Oh, yeah, but it would be a big moral (enviro) faux pax to drive like that in the land of the Puritanical… Ma guvnment says it just ain’t safe.

    Or is it the fear of legal repercussions? Free speech doesn’t apply to pointing out ignorant government restrictions?

  • avatar

    Wolven:

    Cutting the speed references was lame Farago

    Once again, TTAC is pandering to the Politically Correct. How fast do they (safely) drive on the German autobahns? Oh, yeah, but it would be a big moral (enviro) faux pax to drive like that in the land of the Puritanical… Ma guvnment says it just ain’t safe.

    Or is it the fear of legal repercussions? Free speech doesn’t apply to pointing out ignorant government restrictions?

    I see you posted this comment both here and on the blog about Edmunds’ GT-R review. So I’ll do the same…

    I can see both sides of this debate. Easily. Personally, as well as professionally.

    I just don’t think it’s a good idea for a website– a “mainstream” car website– to encourage illegal activity.

    I’ve just amended Stephan Wilkinson’s GT-R review to reflect that opinion. But the fact that I put it up in the first place shows how deeply inured I am to the idea of serious speeding.

    Take that as you will.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    This car is incredible. I would love to drive one.

    That said, there is no reason why a car shouldn’t have both incredible performance and good looks. Owning a good-looking car is not all about attracting attention, some people that drop $70k on a toy expect it to appeal to them aesthetically as well. While being understated might be a virtue (although I think it is one that is vastly overrated), being ugly is definitely not.

    Performance and styling shouldn’t be either or. Especially at $70,000+ you should expect to have your cake and eat it too

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    Bottom line: the car world may have gone cuckoo for Coco Puffs over the GT-R but it’s ultimately a pointless, nerdy, twin-turbo, electronics-laden technological curiosity.

    I’d beg to disagree…

    technology trickles down…

    if you’re going to actually believe this last comment in the article, then every performance car that costs over 75k$ is also a pointless endeavor…
    (which many would probably agree with) – except for profits for the automaker…

    Also, how does driving at 160mph (or even 120 mph) preserve your driver’s license compared to pushing the 193 mph limit…

  • avatar
    Wolven

    I just don’t think it’s a good idea for a website– a “mainstream” car website– to encourage illegal activity…

    …But the fact that I put it up in the first place shows how deeply inured I am to the idea of serious speeding.

    Take that as you will.

    I can understand the delicate position condoning illegal behaviour puts you in. But if you recall, our country was founded by people that condoned and encouraged illegal behaviour. (Ben Franklin and his Poor Richards Almanac). I hate seeing a “free” press cave in to politically correct standards.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I think his point was, as plenty of others have pointed out, that it seems like you were working overtime to find things to slam the car for…

    The car ultimately didn’t do it for him. He’s working overtime to explain why.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    If anybody ever happens to read my Conde Nast Traveler article about this car and our drive in it–it’ll be in the September issue–you’ll see that I point out that driving 160 on a dead-straight Nevada highway with about 20 miles visibility is about as difficult for a reasonably experienced high-performance driver (which my daughter is, and I hope I am, after doing this for 33 years) is about as difficult and dangerous as going down a bunny slope on a garbage-can lid.

    I don’t know what Edmunds sez–didn’t read it.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    In a nutshell…

    I hated this car when I saw it in magazines.

    It looks stunning in person (saw it at NYAS)

    I would love to drive one on a track

    I would never want to own one. Too conspicuous and I hate stoplight challenges with douchebags in Civics.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    I point out that driving 160 on a dead-straight Nevada highway with about 20 miles visibility is about as difficult for a reasonably experienced high-performance driver (which my daughter is, and I hope I am, after doing this for 33 years) is about as difficult and dangerous as going down a bunny slope on a garbage-can lid.

    Exactly, they do it every day in Germany. And BIG KUDOS for telling the truth!

  • avatar
    losgatosCa

    You can probably pick up a good used one in a couple of years with low, low miles. The owner spent all his time parked in his driveway playing (games) with the computer. So, the battle lines are still drawn: BMW, Porsche, etc. owners are posuers, pricks, etc, etc. Generalities shape up to class battles and it is a shame. This is, of course, not limited to performance car sites. I live in the SF Bay area and owners of pools and hot tubs are under attack for ‘wasting water better used for other purposes’. We all love performance cars and work hard all our lives to be in a position to afford the Porsches, BMW’s etc. that we own and enjoy. Why does that make us pricks/posuers to the younger commentators? This is deeper than the obvious I can and ‘they’ can’t. (yet) Well, just wonderin.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    One interesting piece of GT-R trivia, by the way: I kept reading references to some “$1,000 inspection” that has to be performed if the car is run on a track, in order to keep the warranty in force. Turns out it’s true, but only in Japan.

    JDM cars are speed-governed to 111-112 mph (depending on who at Nissan you talk to). Their GPS system has a database of every known track in Japan, and if it detects the car’s presence at any one, it cancels the speed limiter. But it also essentially voids the warranty until the car is officially inspected, and it does cost something equivalent to $1,000.

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    this car does nothing for me. i will never own one if i had the means, though i was excited to purchase it in Gran Turismo last week. which is kind of ironic in a way.

    i want to see Porsche build an Elise. a sub-Boxster no excuses car. with the VW partnership i think the 2.0T would be a great candidate to stuff in there.

  • avatar
    Howler

    Do 350Z owners really feel that their cars aren’t fast enough? Seriously when was the last time you got the tail out on a public road. This car is a waste of money unless youre a track day multi millionaire. For everyday use its overpriced Nissan Z with a cheap interior and disposable electronics worth a few dimes. You poor interested speed freaks should buy motorcyles instead. At least there’s less chance your speed mongering will kill others. High performance was reasonable when in the hands of a few, the overall theme of this car is then in some way irresponsible. Great review. There are many cars that will provide much more enjoyment for the same $. The review should have given 3 stars BTW.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Coming from a 911 owner, the tone of this article makes sense. Say, from a Z06 or Evo owner I guess the attitude would be different.

    quote: pointless, nerdy, twin-turbo, electronics-laden technological curiosity.

    So GT-R is exactly like 911 Turbo, but with half the price. 911 Turbo is the showcase of Porsche’s dailydriver-supercar technology. Nissan beats Porsche in this game by offering more advanced technology with less price. But still GTR remains true to its roots by being unique in its own Japanese way, not copying the Germans.

    GTR had, has now and will have street cred among the enthusiasts, because of the racing roots – history/victories. Tuners/aftermarket community will make new GTR a legend, like they did with the previous versions. NSX never had that background or suitable technology for acheiving this status.

    GTR has that potential underdog appeal – a Japanese player in the German game with half the price, to challenge expensive cocky class bechmarks. Sounds like Stallone and Rocky 1976? :) People love those kinds of stories/this kind of image, people that are car enthusiasts with nessecary means to buy the GTR.

    I assume the author is 50+ of age – reading your review I feel that you don’t understand the background and attitudes of today’s 30+ successful automotive enthusiasts who can afford such cars.

    I guess you also like the the posing factor of your 911 because you were dissapointed when basically nobody noticed the GTR. That is kinda funny.

    GTR is victim of the hype. No car can fullfill 100% all the expectations that have been put on this car. Especially for grey-haired Porsche guys who first heard about the GTR a few months ago from their 10-year old grandson.

  • avatar

    whatdoiknow1 :

    OK, time to pile on some more here. The NSX is NOT a good comparision simply becuase the NSX did NOT out-perform any of the European exotics of its day.

    I think your memory is off.

    1991 NSX: $62k, 18/24mpg, 0-60 5.6s, 1/4 14.4s
    1991 348TB: $107k, 13/18mpg, 0-60 6.0s, 1/4 14.3s
    1997 NSX (290HP motor): $84k, 17/24mpg, 0-60 4.8s, 1/4 13.3s
    1997 F355: $117k, 10/15mpg, 0-60 4.7s, 1/4 13.0s

    I didn’t dig up the 911, but I recall it basically being behind the NSX and Ferraris at the time (unless you went with the Turbo, which was in the Ferrari’s price range). While not BEATING it, it did match it, and at a much, much, much, (much, much) lower price.

    I’d have a hard time arguing that the NSX was spanked by its contemporaries. Fuel economy included because it highlights that it was still a Honda, even if it went very, very fast at the time. Couldn’t dig up skidpad/slalom/track times in my limited searching, but believe it was the same story: nearly identical performance, less power, less coin. Considering Honda has operated very differently from Nissan over the years, the similarities in their attack are striking, as are their market prospects.

  • avatar

    This car looks like a refridgerator on wheels and sounds like an appliance whereas cars like the Corvette, 911, and Ferraris all have their own unique look and feel. It’s not going to steal any customers away from any of those cars and the majority of video gamers here in the US can’t afford their ultimate Gran Turismo fantasy at it’s MSRP.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Trishield

    you are right on the money. Go CarDomain.com
    and You Tube broadcoast.

    Majority of kids,twenty to forty something prefer
    a low budget car with everything in it.
    650 rockfort fosgate system,fast key,easy to pimp out,paddle shifter,and exciting to drive. etc etc

    who needs a billion $$$$ car if a regular person can buy a car that is worth 60 percent lower than a Nissan GT-RRRRRR.

    NSX??? I don’t get the comparison.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Trivia Question:

    What car that looks like the Honda NSX?

  • avatar
    DetroitIronUAW

    Of course they just got caught cheating. The Nurmenburg track times were on a souped up car.

    Plus this thing is all electronic V6. What we really need is some real horsepower from a V8

  • avatar
    AlmostFamous

    One thing keeps me from loving the GT-R. And that one thing is, not having a third peddle. It makes absolutely no sense on Nissan’s part with not offering a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Joshvar :

    I understand your point but in reality the Ferrari 348 is NOT a good example because it was always considered a dog of a performance car. The entry level 206 to 348 Ferraris were never really serious until the 355 came along. Dont get me wrong I used to lust after a 328GTS but I do know a Vette of that era was more than a match. Today’s the 430 is a much more serious car than its 348 counterpart. It has morphed from being an entry level Ferrari into a core product in a much smaller lineup.

    A better comparison to highlight the shortcomings of the NSX is with a 1993 Toyota Supra Turbo. The Supra Turbo listed for about half the price of an NSX yet could provide equal or better performance. It is the Supra Turbo that made the NSX a “so-what, not so big of a deal car”. On top of that the aftermarket tuning potential of teh Supra was right up there with the Skyline.

    The difference with the GT-R is that unlike the NSX this car is a game changer. With the NSX folks were able to say Honda can make a car that is capable of hanging out with the big boys, with the GT-R folks are able to say Nissan is making a car that is actually Out-performing the big boys.

  • avatar

    Excellent work on the review – best one I’ve read of the GT-R so far.

  • avatar
    Joe Chiaramonte

    An interesting review on a car I find intriguing, yet unappealing. I’m wondering why Nissan marketing let you have one for review. Not because you didn’t give it an honest and balanced review, but because you are obviously not their target for this vehicle. You have a 28-year-old daughter, Stephan.

    Here’s my thinking: My 15-year-old son is quite interested in this car, like he and his friends are in love with the Evo X. They’ve been “driving” these cars in Gran Turismo and Need For Speed for years. I think both of these cars are visually odd, but they don’t care. A “pointless, nerdy, twin-turbo, electronics-laden technological curiosity” hits them right between the eyes.

    You and I started hearing about and reading about Skylines a long time ago, and we started wanting one at least 15 years ago. But our taste in cars stemmed from hands-on driving, body-sculpted beauties from the 1950′s to 1970′s, and distinctly NOT from a video game console.

    Yet, the car we wanted to have then is not the car that satisfies us as completely as we might have thought now.

    It surprises me not one bit that the dash display resembles a customizable video screen (have you ever watched a teen easily keep an eye on six different spots on a video screen simultaneously?), and steering resembling the electronic control wheels Millenials are quite familiar with.

    This car is life imitating art imitating life. Nissan’s apparently done an excellent job of creating a video game car with the look and feel of reality.

    But, like the 20-something ladies around the office, they may make me wish to be 20 years (okay, 25 years) younger, that’s pretty much where the appeal ends.

    I like my driving reality just fine, thanks. I want feedback in the steering wheel, and I want gauges I can trust, and I want to drive a car, not a video game avatar. I am not the person Nissan wants driving this car.

  • avatar
    losgatosCa

    Joe, Count me in that catagory also. I suppose all of us ‘of an age’ probably don’t ‘get it’. Although I did play Gran Tursimo (3) and loved the simulation of the tracks I had been to and (some) I had driven. The market is there and they will sell all they can build. Just not to me.

  • avatar

    whatdoiknow1 :

    Yes, the Supra was great in a straight line, and competent in the turns (and completely awesome on the skidpad with those fat tires and high curb weight), with enormous tuning potential, but you said European contemporaries in your original post. Also, since handling was the primary aim of the NSX, that attribute was frequently praised, even toward the end of its life. And the $40k price for the Turbo in 1997 was $10k *DROP* over the previous year; they did that just to move the last batches of Americanized ones. The Viper, if you bring that up, was the broadsword of the time. The NSX (and Euros) were epees. The Vette was quite good, but as much as people deride its completeness as a car, it was far, far worse in the C4 generation.

    But, the GT-R is an absolute monster and needs to exist. I think kids will fantasize about the GT-R, and end up buying the Sentras, the 350zs, and the Rogues of tomorrow when the time comes much more readily than the Cobalts, Camaros, and uh…small crossovers “related” to the Z06/ZR1.

  • avatar
    casper00

    Finally “Godzilla” is coming to the US…..enough said…..

  • avatar
    blowfish

    It’s the geek equivalent of the complex chronographs of the 19th century: pocket watches that read out everything from the tides to your mistress’s menstrual cycle.

    s there an instrument like that on sale? Or comes with the Nav nstruments in the GTR?

    Me and da boyz need that badly, at least it’ll cut down the days spend in da dog house.

    Men u folks are brilliant writers.
    Sadly because all the Pulitzer judges all ride to work in mundane Toyodas. Should they start readng TTAC, I bet neither Steely Dan nor Danielle Steele wouldn’t have got all awards every year.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    It is the Mitsubishi 3000 GT or GTO

  • avatar
    thebigmass

    From what everyone has posted I should be right in the heart of the demographic interested in this car (26 in a couple weeks, raised on video games, owner of a Talon TSi AWD (my first car), relatively successful financial advisor) yet I don’t find it that desirable. Those that love this car cite it’s otherworldly performance numbers (especially relative to its price), which are truly incredible. Those that are unmoved by it seem to feel that it essentially drives itself.

    Some are interested in drag racing and bragging rights. Some (count me in this camp) prefer the joy of driving unaided: shifting ourselves, turning off the stability control on a (well-known) winding back road, beating our previous (never recorded) time. Neither camp is (nor can be) in the right in such a subjective topic.

    Give me a Boxster with a proper 6 speed (don’t tell my wife that I’ve been looking for one for some time now) and blow past me with your GT-R. You’ll be happy to beat me, and I’ll be happy to be more involved in my drive.

  • avatar
    casper00

    Since people are hating on the NSX, I’ll take a shoot at this. Honda built the NSX to compete with the european exotics. The the idea behind the NSX was not a super high horsepower car that people expect. The purpose of the NSX was to combine style, looks, performance, balance and handling all into one. Honda never needed a 500-600hp car to compete with the european exotics. All parts, shape, materials in the NSX is there for a reason, You have a light, all allue. body chasis power by a 280(earlier model) and a 290 hp later model v6 engine. Imagine what kind of performance would the NSX have if Honda would have use a 500-600 v8 or v10. Honda philosophy is to maximize the full ability of a non-turbo engine, and they have succeeded it with most of their vehicles. Nissan on the other hand relies much on turbo-charge engines for performance, different philosophy. Just name one non-turbo nissan vehicle that can performed like a honda integra type R. Not to say that nissan is bad, i’m just saying that they have different philosopies when it comes to their vehicles. And for the european exotics, they’re just over price cars that have high horsepower to make it up for the high price tag……

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    When Porsche first showed the 959 to the public back in 1985 I believe their were many folks back than that also claimed it was an ugly car and totally missed the point. The 959 and the GT-R as well as such as the Ferrari Enzo are all about function over form in the same light as an F1 or Indy car. I happen to like the look of F1 cars but I could never make a successful arguement that they are things of beauty. It is the technology and sense of PURPOSE that makes the form of such machines like F1 cars and fighter planes appealing to my eyes.

    Many of the cars from the 1960s were very beautiful but also had shapes that wants to go airborne once the speedo past 90mph! I have heard a few personal stories of XKEs and have read about Miuras that were scary as hell to drive.
    The reality is the GT-R is no more neutered by electronics than today’s 911 Turbo but does have a much better transmission.

  • avatar
    rtz

    It’s still not one of the fabled and legendary Skylines of years past. The ones that could be tweaked past the 1,000hp range.

    I imagine it’s just a pumped up 350Z. No performance aftermarket. Just a few of them roaming the streets like the NSX did. All stock.

    350Z: Any engine mods don’t hardly give anything for the money and to boost one takes big bucks. I still haven’t seen a fast 350Z.

    Once that new mega Vette comes out, everyone will forget about this half horse gtr. For the price, it should have had Vette horse power. Then it would have been impressively fast and insanely fast. And worth the money.

    I wouldn’t buy one just because it doesn’t impress me enough. But I will enjoy dusting them at the stoplights with my turbo charged `87 Stang.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    If you do, you’ll have to wait for the GT-R driver to go to launch mode, which entails about 15 seconds of fiddling and button-pushing to set everything up while you’re impatiently whanging the throttle. “Wait, wait, I have to get everything set up, I’ll tell you when I’m ready…”

    And you’re gone.

  • avatar
    Macca

    DetroitIronUAW:

    “Plus this thing is all electronic V6. What we really need is some real horsepower from a V8″

    Ironic, considering the source, no?

  • avatar
    Shannon

    But I will enjoy dusting them at the stoplights with my turbo charged `87 Stang.

    Stephan Wilkinson:

    If you do, you’ll have to wait for the GT-R driver to go to launch mode, which entails about 15 seconds of fiddling and button-pushing to set everything up while you’re impatiently whanging the throttle. “Wait, wait, I have to get everything set up, I’ll tell you when I’m ready…”

    And you’re gone.

    I’m reasonably sure the GT-R could hold its own without engaging launch mode. The relatively small integrated turbos are fairly quick to spool, and all wheel drive helps it dig pretty hard.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    Oh, and you’ve driven it, eh?

    There’s a huge amount of “reasonably sure” that’s been going on here. The “relatively small integrated turbos” aren’t, in fact, that “quick to spool.” But what do I know?

    One of the interesting things about the GT-R is that there’s an enormous school of experts out there, few of whom have ever seen the actual car and none of whom have driven it.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    This review actually made me respect the GT-R more. I hear what you are saying re: real world considerations, however, its f’ing cool that Nissan went out and produced a badass machine in defiance of real world considerations. They set a performance goal and achieved it. Its also cool that they clearly marketed it towards autogeekdom instead of rich tools who don’t know anything about cars even if they are the ones who will end up buying it. Still 12 years from now…

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    It sure catches a lot of flak for its looks.

    I don’t think it’s quite fair to liken it to sports cars like the Corvette or the 911… it’s flattering that it can match the best of them without being one, but expecting it to have the looks and the light weight of a sports car is going a bit too far.

    It’s more like an M3 or an M6. Maybe that’s hard to grasp for those who are new to world of GT-R fandom; those of us who will always consider it a super Skyline have a different view of it. To us it’s a tarted-up luxury coupe full of awesome insanity. So it’s heavy, ungainly, seats four in comfort… and we love it all the same. Actually no, compared to its German equivalents it’s not ungainly at all, it’s beautiful!

  • avatar
    Shannon

    There’s a huge amount of “reasonably sure” that’s been going on here. The “relatively small integrated turbos” aren’t, in fact, that “quick to spool.” But what do I know?

    You’re right, I have not driven the car yet. And you have. But I have driven 997 Turbos, and I can tell you from that experience that the Porsche is considerably faster from a dead stop (from just off idle, not sidestepping the clutch) than most equally-powerful rear-drive cars when the driver launches like they’re John Force.

    Since the GT-R is measured to be at least as fast than the 997T, it was/is a reasonable assumption that the GT-R would be at least similar. All wheel drive has an advantage, even without the electronically assisted launch mode.

    Proof from others who have not only driven the GT-R, but also instrumented the test, confirm my assumptions: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/coupes/112_0803_2009_nissan_gtr_acceleration_test/acceleration_runs.html

    Not in quite that big a hurry? Floor the throttle without Launch Control and the quieter launch adds just 0.8 second to the 60-mph time, 0.6 to the quarter mile.

    In their test (follow link) they timed the GT-R at 3.2 seconds to 60 mph with launch control, and 4.0 seconds to 60 mph without.

    Would a GT-R driver happen upon an impromptu drag race with a car that would turn a sub-4 second time? Unlikely.

    I stand by my uneducated, inexperienced statement that the GT-R could hold its own, even without engaging launch control.

    I’d really like to see a counterpoint article written by your 28 year old daughter.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    My point is simply that there are six GT-Rs in the U.S. right now–six, that’s all–but that there is enough second-, third- and ninth-hand expertise created from myth, legend, gamer experience, PR, buff-magazine hysteria and blogger hyperventilating that it would seem there are 60,000 of them. There are assumptions and there are guesses and there are massaging of the numbers, but it’s all pointless until you have actually driven the car. Otherwise, we’re just playing video games. Oh, wait, that’s where this all started…

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I’d really like to see a counterpoint article written by your 28 year old daughter.

    Good idea. I’d like to read that, too (hint hint), whether it amounts to a counterpoint or not.

    BTW, do you think Mr. Wilkinson really believes the Nissan supercar can’t smoke a “lowly” Boxster in a straight line but for launch mode? You’re reading too much into that rhetoric. Sometimes you need to acknowledge an obvious rant for what it is and not take it literally.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    qupte: Otherwise, we’re just playing video games. Oh, wait, that’s where this all started…

    The modern history of twin-turbo AWD GTR started in 1989 when R32 GTR whooped everyones and everthings ass in all the races it took part in. It offered Porsche 959 technology with a fraction of a price. R32 was sold in vast numbers in Japan – total of 43.000. Crazy number for a race homolgation special for the streets – car that was purely build to meet FIA Group A regulations of this era. By the way the original street versions of E30 M3 and MB 190E 2.3 16V were built with the same homologation purpouses to race in Group A. Current BMW M3 is as far from the original E30 M3 concept/purpouse as R35 GTR is from the R32.

    First GTR became a legend on Japanese streets/racetracks and 8-10 years after its introduction it started to appear in video games which made the GTR popular in the U.S.

    So all you guys with GTR-videogame jokes get your facts straight.

    I’s like saying Porsche brand took off in the U.S. in the 80′s only because of Flashdance and Risky Business, all the Reagan era posing stockbrokers drove 911 Turbos – that’s the foundation of Porsche’s roots in the U.S.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    Actually, the GT-R bloodstream flows back to the R380 racecar, which predated the ’69 GT-R. “The R in GT-R,” Nissan says, originally denoted the street use of the 200-hp two-liter inline six engine from the R380.” It produced 160 hp, which was pretty good for the time.

    My remark was intended as a joke, not meant to be taken literally.

  • avatar
    Campisi

    Nothing about this GTR has interested me. Not once have I looked upon or read about it with more than a passing interest since it was circulating in the realm of rumour, and that has not changed now. I am not quite sure why, but I just do not like this car.

    Maybe it’s because it’s too easy to drive. The idea that any idiot can get in it and drive it almost as well as a professional (assuming they’re not embarrassingly incompetent behind the wheel) irks me somehow. I like the paddle-shift gearbox and the trick AWD system and the fiddly display and even the looks, but the sum of these parts just repulses me.

  • avatar
    Captain Neek

    There seems to be an undercurrent of a cultural inferiority complex (or, dare I say it, racism?) with respect to this vehicle.

    Basically, the train of thought is as follows:

    “It’s jap-crap engineering with Tokyo by night styling – how on earth could it beat the holy trinity of Porsche/BMW/Ferrari?”

    The allegations of “cheating” w.r.t Nurburgring times would appear to have the same basis.

    Be that as it may, this car has raised the bar for all PERFORMANCE vehicles. Griping about a hard ride or donkeykong-inspired dash is misdirected (at best)or disingenuous (at worst). This vehicle is supremely fit for purpose.

  • avatar
    Nue

    I find it odd that people are crapping on this car for being too much of a performance benchmark/bad looks/atrocious everyday usage and so forth.

    And so… CONGRATULATIONS NISSAN! You’ve managed to construct the perfect supercar where the critics can only stumble and argue on the intangibles.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    i can`t believe you are criticizing GT-r. You hope that people will buy rather `real` sports car like ferrari? like what more real sports car is that ferrari? because it is hand crafted? because ferrari doesn`t posess nor robots nor technology to do laser cutting or hydroformation? Gt-r is the ultimate car, because no matter what your f.. up subjective senses tell, the lap times tell the real story. So what are the drawbacks of this Nissan? Price is tremendously competetive. Design is not a copycat noer obsolete or boring. Quality and fit and finish? At high level ,plus you have leather dashboard. Is it too harsh for a ride. Nope. No luggage compartment? Not enough gizmos? nope. What do you call a real sports car? A ferrari with air conditioner plastic knobs and visible screws? How come ferrari belongs to the same company as fiat, yet fiat rocks the unreliability charts. Is a real sports car a ferrari with .8 mm gaps between fenders and bumpers? or the 16k carbon brakes that can be had also on 70k Z07? Sports car essence is about control, total control, total ability to squeeze every available inch out of racing circuit. And the bigger the moron can get the better lap times, the better the car. can`t imagine, that even the snobof all british snobs jeremy clarkson was drooling over Gt-r, yet Stephan Wilkinson who likes playing computer games, gives some 4 stars. by the way nissan is pulling out gt-r v-spec totally carbon addicted supercoupe. And not to fight against `real` ferraris or Astons but against `mediocrities` like Nurburgring killers- Lexus LF-A and Honda next gen NSX. You are such double faces. You say Nissan doesn`t have Audi interior, as if your Maseratis or ferraris had. Then again, you say nissan doesn`t have Bimmer sensuality while carving chicanes, as if ferrari had. how come if bimmers are the ultimate driving machines their uberchassis don`t translate in nurburgring laps, nor F1, nor WRC? Just grab that ultimate m3 and leave in smoke that plebeyan WRC Corolla or Focus, why don`t you? You know what today looking exactly at those legendary ferraris i want to laugh. laugh at those subpar plastics , ugly finishes, primitive switches and miserable reliability. By the way how often does an engine fire happen in a lambo ,and how often in a nissan Gt-r whatever?

  • avatar
    matt

    I think its amazing that after reading most of these comments defending the GT-R, you would think Stephan gave it 1 star!

    I think the 4 star review says it all. He respects the cars performance, but it just doesn’t float his proverbial boat enough to get that 5th star.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Yes the car is great but who cares!!!

    Remember my fellow consumer the gas price is almost $5.00 in some areas.

    Do We really need another sporty car?

    Nissan made a marvelous car in a time when the economy is slowing down and prices of good and services are going up. And please with the price of this car I rather buy 1 Ford Mondeo, 1 Hyundai Elantra and a used motorcycle. If one of those cars I purchased got hit. I have another car to drive than buying one car and get hit once with no reserve car to drive. Get Me?

    Especially in New England cars like this will only last for 6 years. if the driver didn’t spin during a winter storm or get rear ended by an old Honda Civic it might last another 6 years.

    Americans be a smart consumer!!!

    They Hey days of driving fast is in the history books except if you have a hybrid that has 200 horsepower under its hood.

    Speaking of driving fast I was tailing a Porsche 911 last night the car was fast but couldn’t leave my Evo X (have you seen one lately) behind while I listened to my 650 watts car stereo. Hey does the Nissan GT-R has that 650? I guess NOT.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    I don’t know why there’s all this concern about the stars. Here’s how, as far as I’m concerned, the overall-rating-stars system works:

    one star = totally unacceptable
    two stars = marginal, adequate
    three stars = the vast middle ground of ordinary, capable, acceptable automobiles, nothing special
    four stars = an excellent car with a few flaws
    five stars = automotive perfection for the market and purpose for which the vehicle is intended.

    So there’s no way, in my opinion, the GT-R could be awarded either three stars or five. It’s neither perfect on the one hand nor ordinary on the other.

  • avatar
    tubbsbright

    I’d rather have the Kenwood deck (and speakers)over the Bose…

  • avatar

    Very nice review.

    From my point of view, vastly overdone car. Who needs 0-60 in 3.1? Why should any car weigh more than 3200 lbs? When driving, one needs to keep eyes on the road, not the geek screen. And it’ s not a thing of beauty.

  • avatar
    peteypete

    Great review and very well written. I can’t believe the reaction considering the fact that the car received 4 out of 5 stars. Honest disagreements are one thing, but these people seem to have something emotionally invested in this car. Honestly, I don’t get it.

    I’d love to drive one, in spite of it’s looks (which may grow on me). But much admiration goes to Nissan for raising the bar and making a statement. All enthusiasts are the beneficiaries of the HP wars…Kudos to the Nissan (GTR), and GM (ZR1), and every other manufacturer willing to take a shot on a car that is neither affordable (by most standards) or practical but a pursuit in engineering perfection and performance brinkmanship.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    For its direct purpose- How could nissan get 5 stars? To accelerate faster than an SR-71 Blacbird? to tolerate in corners 5Gs like formula 1? As if 3 something secs to 100 km/h is not good enough , as if scoring Nurburgring lap in 7: 29 is not good enough. may be you think the car is too expensive for this category? or You wanted for 70 k also Connolly leather and self-parking assistance and polished titanium inserts? Those japanese negineers were running their asses of to build a supercoupe, and all you can say that it will age fast and go nowhere like 300z or Supra.this year there are going to be only 2 supercoupes- Nissan GT-R v-spec and Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1. Why? because their price compared to competition is mind warping!

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    It’s fashionable for car buffs that visit this site to disagree with majority’s opinion (media hype)on the GTR. Is it hard to accept that GTR is one of few cars that 100% live up to the hype?

  • avatar
    B.C.

    A car like this having numb steering is a capital sin. A supercar that doesn’t goad you into hooliganism means you’re loafing, and loafing around in a supercar means you are a poseur. Its like injecting your willy with novocaine before engaging in a mass orgy with horny supermodels. Sure, you did it, and everyone envies you for doing it … but how did it feel?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    jurisb,

    What about the Z06? Do you really think the ZR1 is the only Vette that qualifies for supercar status?

  • avatar
    simonptn

    This is a bit of a contrast to the very numerous glowing articles that have been published on Inside Line over the last few months.

    I was not counting but the number is way into double figures – including driving impressions of a GT-R in a video game!

    Looks like Edmunds is now a subsidiary of the Nissan marketing department.

    However, I like ugly (let’s say unconventional) … I had one of the original Saab 99 Turbos … Mad torque steer, staggering turbo lag and no traction control. Wheeeee! You soon learned only to accelerate in a straight line.

    a bit of a contrast to the all electronic GT-R. I would have one in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    Captain Neek

    jurisb,

    You hit the nail on the head. Nothing comes close, at any price, and that may be what’s inducing the cognitive dissonance…

  • avatar
    Pch101

    There seems to be an undercurrent of a cultural inferiority complex (or, dare I say it, racism?) with respect to this vehicle.

    Puhleeze. Maybe you read a different review than what I did, but that isn’t what Mr. Wilkinson said.

    He didn’t like the allegedly numb steering, was annoyed by the run flats (which generally are annoying everywhere else, so I can see how they could be an issue here), and thinks the dash is gimmicky.

    Great cars (or, for that matter, just about everything else that is great) aren’t a numbers game. The whole package has to be there, with the sum greater than the parts. It isn’t measured by running it through a spreadsheet.

    I could live with the dash, but if the handling is numb, that would personally kill it for me. Performance isn’t just about acceleration, it’s about the tossability factor. If you can’t throw it around and feel good doing it, then it’s just a muscle car and not at the level of an exotic.

    I don’t know if the author is right, as I haven’t driven it myself. But I’ll bet you haven’t driven it, either. Unless you are a Nissan stockholder or your brother was on the GT-R’s engineering team, why all the emotional investment?

  • avatar
    shoes

    Like everyone else here, I love fast and interesting cars. As soon as I heard about the performance specs on the GTR, I wanted one. When I was told they would be hard to get, I wanted one even more. When I finally saw the car in person and spent time behind the wheel (stationary), the reality set in- for me it was appearance challenged and uncomfortable.

    I felt guilty when I canceled my order for the GTR, like I lost my own identity. Thank you Stephan for writing this piece and explaining why it isn’t for everyone in a way that I can easily relate back to myself.

  • avatar
    vento97

    shoes:
    When I finally saw the car in person and spent time behind the wheel (stationary), the reality set in- for me it was appearance challenged and uncomfortable.

    Don’t feel bad. Even if the looks didn’t compel you to cancel the order, the $125+/barrel oil and the eventual escalation of gas prices WELL BEYOND the $4.00/gallon mark will.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    I think that a distinct generational difference in automotive design has arrived.

    My bet is that most of those who read and comment here on TTAC and have driven very involving sports cars which could be steered with throttle and/ or brake and perhaps even had only “Armstrong” PS, PB and PWs.

    Cars these days are – I will posit – designed by kids whose frame of reference is not an E-Type, 2002, 510 or even the 240SX. No, their frame of reference is a video game simulation, where high performance is an academic exercise whose adrenaline rush is produced by results posted on a video screen not by the seat-of-the pants feeling one gets from slicing perfectly from apex to apex on a tree-lined road with the smell of hot exhaust filling the nostrils.

    That cars designed from such a perspective are a bit – um – antiseptic, is no surprise.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Lutz is right. There is a perception gap, except the gap is between the legitimacy of Japanese sports cars and sports cars from everybody else.

    Think about it. The Porsche 911 Turbo has much technological development invested in it than the GT-R, but you wouldn’t dare call the Porsche the product of a video gamer’s fantasy. There’s an undercurrent of snob appeal in believing that Japan doesn’t have what it takes to build world-beater sports cars when they’ve done it time and time again. Everybody criticizes the NSX, but the NSX changed things for Ferrari and Lamborghini and forced them to build a car that doesn’t require your mechanic to ride shotgun with you every time you take it out for a spin.

    While America has learned about Nissan Skylines from Gran Turismo, everybody else around the world knows the reputation they carry. This isn’t just some wild idea that Nissan one day had to build a supercar. Even if it is, why should this be held against them? The Corvette doesn’t suffer the humiliation of being a Chevrolet. The Viper doesn’t suffer the humiliation of being a Dodge. If people have no qualms about driving those vehicles, then you certainly shouldn’t have any qualms about driving this car.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    quasimondo- You are so right. Except maybe Viper part. viper is soooo Dodge, whenever you see the interior. If Dodge wants a world class car, the fastest way to do it would be slapping central console from Durango in viper and leather wrap all those primitive plastic panels, and replace shitty weather strips, add chrome, then upgrade it at Hennessey Venom version and beat crap out of euro-coupes.
    What concerns Nissan Gt-R, it is a history repeating itself. there are significant numbers of Toyota 93+ generation coupes, yet it is almost impossible to get even a second hand one, if it is a turbo version. targa version es even more rare.How come it is easier to find a 200K lambo, than 40K Supra?Because Supra is a legend. ANd the legend was born in 93` when Supra beat crap out of everything moved at that time- every Porsche and Ferrari. But what made Supra a legend, was its engine. The only engine in the world, that could survive doubling horsepower from 320 to even 500+ without major rebuilding and replacement of stock parts- valves, pistons, injectors, gaskets etc. in other words, you could buy a 400bucks boost controller and slap it into Supras face like a bitch, and she would take it like a man, without twitching and whining for replacement uberparts, without bleeding periods of oil gaskets or headaches of high temperature suffering.

  • avatar
    DrRodge

    I feel the writer of this review just doesn’t get it. Not everyone wants the same old thing…BMW, Porsche, whatever. It’s great to see a car that is DIFFERENT. I hate to say it, but the writer is just too old and out of it to understand what the GT-R is about. The looks, the touch screen, the tranny – yes, it is non-conventional and that’s what makes it great. He also complains that no one noticed the car as he drove. If your 65 a guess a 911 may be what you want, you want to show off that you made it. But I’m not 65 and I DON’T want anyone to know (or assume) anything and I certainly don’t want them to think I’m trying to impress. Buying a car for the prestige of the brand is for those who are insecure with their life and need some attention.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    I found this review to be refreshing. Seems to reinforce the suspicions I’ve had about this car: filled to the brim with character, but lacking soul.

  • avatar
    didgeridoouke

    Safety + easy super-speed. Yummmm. It’s not a girl’s car and it’s not pretty. It’s a rebel’s machine so I’m buying one. If it reliably does its job, and isn’t unbearably hard in daily use, I’ll be happy. I can always buy a Porsche for a compliant ride and diffident service.

  • avatar
    ProjectEF

    It almost seems as though GTR enthusiasts are upset that some people (euro crowd) aren’t willing to switch sides, and crown it king of cars. It never occurs to them or the general majority of Japanese car enthusiasts that some people could possibly like European cars, regardless of the persons age, (namely Porsche’s, Bimmers,Ferrari’s, etc.) for reasons deeper than the badge or so called status. In my personal experience, many of the Japanese sports cars up until now have always felt like they were made just to one up or compete on the same level with some European counterpart…nothing more, nothing less. They never (to me) felt like they were created just for the thrill of the drive, to create a sensory overload, or to just push the technical advancement limits. And why would they? In the Beginning, that wasn’t the plan for the companies This GTR (like the others) seems the same. It’s faster than almost anything else, but exists simply to say..Look, we can do better than you! Those many enthusiasts whose only concern is how fast a car will do anything will and do love this. Props to Nissan for creating this feat of engineering though. I will continue to drive my insanely slow “other” cars, and enjoy every minute in them.

  • avatar
    akirachan

    I find this review interesting because it’s missing the point:
    most people that would buy the GT-R probably don’t care what a car looks like, or if the car attracts attention from the gold-digger types. I don’t care for those things: I would buy this thing because it’s a bargain performer, and it’s non-assuming. It can roast any car in its price range, and most cars in any price range.

    I am glad to know that the Porsche or Aston buyers would not look twice at a GT-R.

    As for the NS-X, it’s a totally different beast: Honda aimed to make a reliable 2-seater entry-level Ferrari-killer for fraction of the price: GT-R aimed to be a world-class killer period, at fraction of the price, and Nissan succeeded.

    Some people can’t get used to the idea that a Japanese car company can come up with its own thing, and play the game, and do better at it. It’s happened in the past. But those cars have always stood the test of time and are respected now. At least by people who have sense.

  • avatar
    Esvees

    It is a simple fact that GT-R isn’t the best supercar in the world, but that’s not what it’s supposed to be. Pose-value aside, there are few sounds in the world that can compare to the soulful howl of a Ferrari or the hungry rasp of an Aston. And the steering feedback is second-to-none.

    The point is, this is a car many of us could actually own at some point, whereas due to cost a Ferrari will always be a pipe dream; and owning an Aston or Ferrari brings its own set of problems.

    Nissan has done the hard part; the GT-R is an engineering masterpiece. It has built the base of something that can be truly exceptional. With the money you save, I’ m sure there’s plenty of soul or wow-factor you can add, making the car even more special than any off-the shelf Ferrari. And I’m sure the apparent numbness is something that can be fixed.

  • avatar
    moto

    Good job on chassis development, Nissan. Sounds like the GT-R performs well. Now fire your design staff and fix the thing. Not only is it ugly from all angles (this is NOT as case of “form follows function”), but the interior is not terribly impressive either. Oh, sure, Nissan fans will proudly proclaim that the ugliness is important because at this price point, you shouldn’t expect to drive a handsome, tight fit&finish car. Sorry, it doesn’t get my vote.

    Oh, and the ZR-1 handily beat it around Nurburgring. I guess buying the GT-R just for bragging rights doesn’t make much sense either.

    If i wanted an AWD supercar, it would be an Audi RS4 Avant. I don’t live near Nurburgring, and the A4 is a more satisfying car for daily use no matter how you measure it.

  • avatar
    kunfused7

    i love nissan having owned two se-r specs, one a 04 and the other an 08, they make good reliable cars that are fast although in some cases terribly ugly and i agree that the gtr is ugly but it has always been that way let’s face it nissan makes ugly performance driven cars

  • avatar
    dustman

    As an owner of high end sports cars, I opted to purchase the GTR based on the stellar global reviews of the vehicle. I was not a fan of the styling at all, nor the whimpy exhaust, racer-boy spoilers, or Nissan badge.
    With 600 miles under my belt, I am appreciating the car more with each drive. They styling will never match the 360, 430, Astin’s, etc unfortunately. But, the confidence I have driving this car hard/fast vastly exceeds that of the other cars I have owned, and that is enough to warrant high praise from me.
    Plenty of flaws in and outside the GTR, but a piece of automotive history that is forcing more notable manufacturers to upgrade their vehicles.
    I still think the F360 Spider is the car (not too fast/quick, but draws all the attention you’d want).
    Love the web site; it’s what I’d design given time/talent.

  • avatar
    gtr-carefree

    I have owned 2004 Gallardo 6 speed, 2006 Gallardo 6 speed, 2005 f-430 6 speed, 2006 f-430 F1, Gallardo Superleggera e-gear, 997 Turbo 6 speed and may others…just picked up my GT-R yesterday…NO REGRETS – what those cars depreciate in 3 months is what this car is worth. AND it is worth every penny…a v10 and v8 sound great but this car for 80k is WOW and i can take my daughter to school in it (car seat in the rear small seats) + a trunk. WHAT else can I say? If you want to get laid get a Gallardo, if you want to be able to get out of your SUPERCAR without twisting your back and without all the attention but with the the thrills get a GT-R


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