By on November 18, 2013

nissan-gt-r-nismo

If you haven’t read the first-ever Road & Track Performance Car of the Year story, I would highly recommend reading the Baruth-penned story, which gives any British buff book a run for its money, despite a dearth of derring-do heroics on Welsh backgrounds. Some of the most illuminating information comes not from the Disco Hoodied One himself, but from other R&T staffers. Take this choice quote about the Nissan GT-R for example:

There’s a lot of chuckling in the paddock over the blue seats and odd Track Edition badging on Nissans newest GT-R, but on the runway, it’s serious business. It’s also damn near the fastest car in the test. “It’s so good — and it used to be so terrible,” says Cammisa.

Wait — what?? The GT-R was terrible? If it was, I never heard about it in the press. At the time, it was hailed as the greatest thing on four-wheels, a Porsche 911 Turbo beater for half the price. Nobody truly figured out a way to use “the wobble” and tell you that the generous discount meant an utter lack of charm or drama, and that the GT-R was just a away for quantitatively-oriented Playstation nerds to extrapolate their video game experience into the real world. Or perhaps they did now, since the statute of limitations on criticizing a very important product launch has passed.

Now Nissan is introducing a “Nismo” version of the GT-R, which can supposedly hit 60 mph in 2.5 seconds and lap the Burgerkingring in 7:08 – figures that mean nothing outside of masturbatory bench racing, but make for great copy for the myriad automotive news aggregation sites that will breathlessly report on its mere existence.

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39 Comments on “Nismo GT-R Aims To Snatch The Burgerkingring Crown...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Burgerkingring? Burger-King-Ring? So… onion? ;)

    Yeah I’m with you Derek, the only criticism I ever heard of the GT-R was that it was too forgiving and robotic. The car was very fast regardless of the skill level of the person driving it.

    Good old revisionist history from the automotive press.

  • avatar
    mike1dog

    Isn’t it always the case. First the magazine has a “preview” where they may or may not have driven the car, the phrases “Game changer” will be used. They’ll then have the road test where the car comes off as the best option in whatever segment it’s competing in. Then, sometimes in the very next issue, there’s a comparison test where the car finishes midpack, even though all the complaints seem trivial. The car will be unfavorably compared to newer cars when those new cars are tested. The next comparison test will note how old the design is and the car will finish last. When the next generation of the car comes out, the new car will be lauded for fixing all the awful, awful faults of the last car, then the cycle begins all over again.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      “…the phrases “Game changer” will be used.” Mike, Mike…you’re forgetting that also, the phrase “breaks cover” MUST ALWAYS be used when a new car is introduced, and the term “is introduced” MUST NEVER be used when a new car is introduced.

  • avatar
    morbo

    I hope Gran Turismo 6 adds the Burgerkingring track as DLC.

    Of course Forza or Project Gotham Racing will just add the Circuit de Tacoano Bell or something.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Oh great, another car tuned to beat the lap record at the BurgerKingRing. Where’s James May when you need him?

  • avatar
    catachanninja

    Wait, so is the GTR good or not? I am so confused. Everything I’ve heard indicated that the gtr is fast and am excellent performer but lacks the “character” of a Porsche

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      catachanninja – - –

      I think you heard right. The GT-R is a fine technological achievement, but, like a dishwasher, seems to be a driving appliance that lacks “soul”, charisma, charm, interior beauty, and passion. It has a lop-sided weight distribution, and its nose heavy, front-drive steering is reportedly dull and desensitized. It weighs almost 4,000 lbs! It certainly does not have a sporst-car “feel”, like the FR-S or BRZ. And it sales numbers in the USA reflect that as well. See Link:
      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/nissan-gt-r-sales-figures.html
      The new C7 Corvette is outselling it now by more than 10-to-1 (no doubt for reasons of price as well).

      In addition, its Nürburgring track performance, while improving, has only just recently surpassed the old 2012 Corvette, but not more advanced versions of Viper, Lexus LFA, or Porsche. (When the new C7
      Corvette ZR1 equivalent (whatever it may be called), I suspect that the GT-R may be in for a fight.)
      See Link:
      http://nurburgringlaptimes.com/lap-times/lap-times-top-100/

      ——————–

    • 0 avatar
      Styles79

      The GT-R is amazing. Of course, most motoring journalists are snobs who can’t stand the fact that it is so good, and still half the price of comparable cars, so they crap on about “character”.

      What is character? I’d argue that it’s nothing but a construct of the writers mind.

      The GT-R is an astounding car, that even an average drivers can drive extremely quickly. If “character” is marked by a car that’s difficult to drive at 8/10ths then give me the characterless car that can be driven at 9/10ths without fearing for your life any day.

      And yes, I’ve driven GT-R’s (R32 and R35 so far).

      Disclaimer, I DO work for Nissan (for the next two weeks, as I’m leaving for a job with another brand), but I don’t think that that clouds my judgement.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi Styles – - -

        Yes, as I mentioned above, it is amazing. But a real sports car?

        “….it is so good, and still half the price of comparable cars,….”
        The same could be said even more so for the C7 Corvette, except the fraction might be 1/4 the price (^_^).

        “The GT-R is an astounding car, that even an average drivers can drive extremely quickly. If “character” is marked by a car that’s difficult to drive at 8/10ths then give me the characterless car that can be driven at 9/10ths without fearing for your life any day.”

        If this were universally the case, then the sales numbers would be greater than meager. See link above.

        ——————-

        • 0 avatar
          Styles79

          I don’t think outright sales figures can really be used as a comparison in this case. I’d argue that what’s important is how it’s selling vs expectations. I know that in NZ sales have been well above target.

      • 0 avatar
        rushn

        Wait, who craps about the “character”? Most publications peed all over themselves in excitement when it came out and continued to gleefully pee their pants all this time about how this loss-leader is a better value than Porsche/Ferrari/Lambo/Saturn V.

        I think your judgement is indeed clouded, there’s never been any “crapping” on the GT-R. Commenting on the “soul” of the car means very little while its pushed up on the pedestal of adoration.

        • 0 avatar
          Styles79

          Perhaps the reviews and opinion pieces that you’ve read differ to the ones I have, I’m not in the US. Here’re a few excerpts:

          “It sounds clinical, efficient and soulless compared with any of its contemporaries, and that would be enough to keep me saving for something else.”

          “The Nissan GT-R might be incredible on paper, but to a number of enthusiasts, driving and interacting with it leaves a lot to be desired. ”

          “Still, some see the GT-R as simply a numbers-crunching machine that lacks real character – a Great White shark of a car: highly efficient, yet cold and soulless.

          There is evidence for the “soulless” argument in its various automated systems”

          “Instead, right now, it’s a 911 Turbo competitor without any spirit or charm”

          • 0 avatar
            rushn

            Talk about selective reading. How many comparos did it lose based on that versus its other flaws? Funny how you didn’t quote anything out of comparison tests. See what C&D said when it put it behind Porsche, far more tangible than the “spirit” discussion you are so focused on.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr Mk3

        I agree completely, “character” is utterly subjective and often influenced by whatever presuppositions the writer has toward the car/brand. The character of the R32-35 GT-R’s is their effortless nature, but involving they are not which isn’t for everyone. I’ve also had the pleasure of driving both the R32/R35 and found many of the latter’s criticisms to be legitimate. It’s too big and heavy relative to its predecessors, with a feel more akin to the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 than previous GT-R’s.

  • avatar

    Burgerkingring! Hahahaha, that made my afternoon!

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    The problem with GT-R that car journalists have is that the feeling is that the car is doing all the work with its sophisiticated electronics.

    Obviously the GT-R fans will scoff at this idea – pointing to how fast it is. But its significant- car guys will actually prefer a BRZ which costs a fraction of the price because its so much more enjoyable to drive.

    All people who can’t grasp this idea need to drive a Miata – or if they can’t do that rent a gas powered Go-Kart. Its not just about going fast its about feeling the man machine connection. And this is something that Nissan in particular has a huge problem with..

    The new Q50 has PURE electric steering. You aren’t connected to the road at all via the steering wheel. It works like a XBox controller..the steering and sadly it feels like one.

    Call it elitism or whatever but Nissan is the worst at this. Toyota has a race car driver for the head of the company – hence the BRZ. Honda might refuse to make sporty designs – but they know how to make manual transmission, and Mazda well they make sporty cars.

    But Nissan – they don’t get it.. No one is going to buy this overpowered washing machine.. Sure its fast but so is a Japanese Bullet train.. No one considers that a thrilling experience.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Sorry Pete, meant to attach reply to Styles above and missed.
      I can’t say it as well as EIC did:I can’t lie: I was able to hit the same number in the GT-R, but in the Nissan it felt like unlocking an Xbox achievement. In the Ferrari, it felt like the climax of a Michael Bay film.

      Read more: http://www.roadandtrack.com/bestof2013/2013-road-and-track-performance-car-of-the-year-50#ixzz2l2AIIGuh

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    I don’t think the GTR was ever terrible. I just think it just wasn’t that engaging unless you were wringing its neck. Are the recent ones any better?

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    The only terrible thing about these cars in the launch control, look up GTRs and you’ll see pages of fans complaining of broken transmissions from it.

    Otherwise I imagine that they’re fun but not very rewarding to drive, I’m not one to toot the whole “Japanese car = souless” dogma, really the GTR is for the kids.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      In everyday driving launch control seems pointless. I understand its purpose and its great at generating numbers to beat those that disagree with you about the head and neck area but leaves me kinda cold.

  • avatar
    CurseWord

    “Or perhaps they did now, since the statute of limitations on criticizing a very important product launch has passed.”

    Great line.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I drove one at a track event a few weeks ago. Very disapponting, not just in contrast to the 458 I drove on the track that day but even to my lowly 350Z. It was damn fast but there was nothing to it beyond that.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I’ve always said that the perfect modern Nissan would be a 350z with the GTRs engine, all the weight and computers in the GTR guarantee a grippy well handling car but switch them off and the things just heavy.

  • avatar

    “Nobody truly figured out a way to use “the wobble” and tell you that the generous discount meant an utter lack of charm or drama, and that the GT-R was just a away for quantitatively-oriented Playstation nerds to extrapolate their video game experience into the real world.”

    You do realize Jack did that, right? Before it even launched, no less.
    http://www.speedsportlife.com/2008/02/22/avoidable-contact-9-the-impending-failure-of-the-mighty-gt-r/

    For the record, I liked it quite a bit. IMO, if it’s too boring or too easy, you’re not driving it fast enough.

  • avatar
    MK

    I always just thought they were too large and too ugly but the performance creds seemed pretty legit….besides its not like the Porsche turbo isn’t chockablock full of driver aids and shit in an attempt to prevent the owners from wadding it into a light post.

    I just cant get over how friggin large these gtrs are, and it’s not in a London Andrews kind of way that looks like itd be a fun time either.

    Just sayin

  • avatar
    Baldpeak

    My hunch about the GTR (never driven one) is the electronics can do a lot to create wonderful neutral handling when you’re driving at 80 or 90% of the limit on a public road. Presumably by grabbing the inside rear brake to help turn-in. I’m sure this is an amazing system. But when you’re driving at 99% of the limit at the track, the way this car looks on paper is going to much more closely match how it feels. It’s a very heavy, and nose-heavy car with 55/45 weight distribution. There’s just no way that isn’t going to feel awfully understeery when you get the front tires working at their maximum.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Baldpeak – - -

      “But when you’re driving at 99% of the limit at the track, the way this car looks on paper is going to much more closely match how it feels. It’s a very heavy, and nose-heavy car with 55/45 weight distribution. There’s just no way that isn’t going to feel awfully understeery when you get the front tires working at their maximum.”

      Amen. The sales rep of my local Nissan dealer, who had driven a GTR and who tried to sell me on that car initially, did confide that what you said is exactly true. We settled on a 370Z instead: a lot more fun and much more cost effective. (But then the “gift” of the BMW Z4 3.0si fell into my lap, and the rest is history.)

      BTW: I just read that the GTR did 7:09 on the N-Burgring. Wonder what the upcoming Corvette C7 ZR1-type will do?
      And at what cost versus the Nismo GTR?

      —————-

  • avatar
    krayzie

    The next GTR should be a remote control drone.

  • avatar
    Preludacris

    “but make for great copy for the myriad automotive news aggregation sites that will breathlessly report on its mere existence.”
    Irony?

  • avatar
    Cubista

    So many people fail to understand the meaning of the GT-R even now.

    It has NEVER been about being cool or fun to drive; it was never designed with the idea that it would win the undying devotion of anyone who ever sat in the cockpit and blasted off the line or into a corner. And it was never supposed to be the end-all, be-all of toyz 4 gamerz.

    The GT-R is a monument on wheels…that’s all. It is a monument to human accomplishment via unbelievably efficient mechanical engineering. The biggest disappointment I’ve ever felt about the car was when its sticker price crossed the six-figure barrier…the idea being that a car that performs that well can be offered for less than $100.000.00 and will skin anything costing up to three times as much was the appeal.

    Any criticism for a “lack of soul” or “lack of human connection” is stereotypical auto journalistic crap that fails to appreciate the car for what it is while trying to assign fault to it for it being something it isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Gee, Cubista – -

      “The GT-R is a monument on wheels…that’s all. It is a monument to human accomplishment via unbelievably efficient mechanical engineering.”

      I thought this accolade belonged to the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. (^_^)…

      ———————

      • 0 avatar
        Cubista

        If they could sell the Veyron SS for $100k I’d agree with you.

        • 0 avatar
          TonyJZX

          i think the problem is most americans (and the world) sees the r35 in isolation

          if you were lucky enough to get the r32-33-34 and THEN the r35 in succession (eg. JP, UK, AU, parts of SE Asia) then you will better understand what the R35 is about

          i have no distinct love for 4,000lb 4wd cars that has prodigious appetites for consumables but one must have a begrudging respect for what the R35 has done in motorsport, in tuning, on the road and what its has done to the ‘establishment’

          who cares about such things as “character” and “playstations”

          i put it to you that anyone who says such things will be blown away by being a passenger in one expertly driven let alone a pilot

          to me the r35 is a bridge too far but i have admiration what must be a loss making car for nissan


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