Nissan GT-R review
The Nissan GT-R is a technological tour de force that can give the world's fastest supercars a run for their money
The Nissan GT-R offers the kind of performance that would put many supposed supercars to shame. It comes with a 543bhp 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6, four-wheel drive, a six-speed twin-clutch gearbox and raft of hi-tech electronics designed to get the power to the road as quickly and efficiently as possible. The looks won't be to all tastes, as the GT-R is a big car with squared-off lines, but the performance has to be tried to be believed. Despite its size, the GT-R can corner as quickly as a Lotus Elise, thanks to the huge reserves of grip on offer. Inside, the GT-R has a rather basic cabin that's dull to look at - not something you'd expect from a car costing more than £70,000 - and comfort when you're taking things easy leaves a lot to be desired.
Our choice: Nissan GT-R
The sheer scale of the Nissan GT-R gives it huge road presence. Even cars costing twice as much will struggle to match the outrageous styling of Nissan’s angular coupe. It’s not exactly pretty, but with four dustbin-lid sized exhaust pipes, matching tail-lights and huge alloy wheels, it looks like a high performance car should. Its evocative badge doesn’t hold the universal appeal of an Italian thoroughbred, but to its core audience there’s nothing to rival the appeal of the GT-R logo.
The Nissan GT-R is a genuine technological tour de force. Its 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 engine delivers 543bhp and it blasts from 0-60mph in just 2.8 seconds. Acceleration is brutal thanks to the GT-R’s excellent four-wheel drive transmission and six-speed twin-clutch gearbox. The paddleshift set-up provides seamless power delivery and super-smooth gearchanges – it can even be used as a full auto. The advanced Electronic Stability Control system can be configured to suit road and track driving, but turning it off completely removes the safety net provided by its incredibly flattering electronics. A model-year update made the driving experience yet more intense, with revised suspension settings and extra stiffening in the bodyshell If the standard car isn't fast enough, you can order the Track Pack. For an extra £10k, you get stiffer suspension, uprated brakes and the rear seats have been removed, but it makes the already stiff ride excruciating on the road.
A host of electronic driver aids are designed to keep the Nissan GT-R on the straight and narrow, and you get six airbags as standard, too. The GT-R hasn’t been through the Euro NCAP crash test programme, but with such a super stiff chassis, the big coupe should be a strong performer if it does all go wrong. The GT-R went through extensive testing before it went on sale, and Nissan has a number of specialist GT-R dealers trained to maintain this hi-tech machine.
Given the performance available, the big Nissan is pretty practical. Adults won’t find the rear seats very comfortable, but they’re fine for children and extra luggage. There’s even a decent 315-litre boot. Technology lovers will cherish the multifunction display at the centre of the dashboard, because it provides information on everything from cornering g-forces to turbo boost pressure. However, the switchgear and cabin plastics are better suited to a supermini than a supercar, and the bluff dashboard looks basic. It comes with loads of standard kit but simply lacks the sense of occasion you expect from a 193mph sports car.
On the face of it, the Nissan GT-R isn’t cheap. But look at the performance available, and you'll see that you'd have to spend nearly twice as much to find something that can match it. Future costs will be in the supercar category thanks to expensive tyres, steep fuel consumption of 24mpg and pricey insurance. There are also some question marks about how the car's complex four-wheel drive transmission will cope once miles begin to build. But then, you don’t expect family car bills with one of these cars.