Nissan GT-R Premium

Is the hi-tech coupé outclassed by its prestige opponents?

Japanese supercars have had something of a chequered past, but this time, Nissan appears to have gotten the formula just right.

With its shattering performance and sophisticated transmission, the GT-R was always going to make headlines. The coupé is available to order now, with the first customer models delivered in the spring to patient buyers who have waited nearly two years for Nissan to begin making UK-spec cars.

The styling borrows elements from past Skyline-badged models – the round tail-lights and muscular rear flanks are the clearest features to make the transition. But overall the GT-R has a unique shape. While it lacks the purity and delicacy of the Lamborghini or the timeless curves of the Porsche, it has serious road presence, with exaggerated lines, bulging panels and a solid stance. The fact that its 20-inch wheels look dwarfed by the bodywork tells you how big and beefy the Nissan is. But climb aboard, and the GT-R disappoints. Although the driving position is good – better than both the 911 and the Gallardo if you’re six feet tall – the rest of the cabin feels dated. The layout is blocky and unimaginative, while the plastics and trim are poor.

Fortunately, any negative feelings are banished the moment you press the red starter button and fire up the 473bhp V6. All GT-Rs are fitted with Nissan’s new semi-automatic transmission – there’s no three-pedal manual – so pulling away involves engaging drive on the lever and simply hitting the throttle. However, it’s best to have a clear road ahead of you to take full advantage, as the GT-R rockets towards the horizon at an incredible pace. Even without using the launch control, it covers 0-60mph in a whisker over four seconds. Switch it on, and that figure drops by around half a second. For a car weighing 1,740kg, that’s a remarkable feat. The gearbox is a delight to use. The way it punches through ratios or balances revs on the downshifts is as close to perfection as we’ve ever experienced. Although the Lambo’s semi-auto can make swift changes, the GT-R’s transmission is more enjoyable.

But while the Nissan is blindingly quick, there’s a lack of subtlety to its balance that some drivers – especially those trading down from a supercar – will find hard to live with.

The Gallardo and 911 are delicately poised, ready to slice from apex to apex with absolute precision. Yet the GT-R blasts its way through bends with unbreakable grip.Ultimately, any criticism of the Nissan’s driving experience is tempered by the facts that it’s faster and easier to exploit than two of the world’s most revered supercars.

Factor in the huge price difference, and you have one of the most affordable and devastatingly effective sports cars ever made.

Details

Price: £56,100Model tested: GT-R PremiumChart position: 1WHY: Having already seen off ‘lesser’ supercar rivals, can the GT-R do the same with the fastest machines in the sector?

Economy

Running costs pale into insignificance when you’ve saved more than £90,000 choosing the Nissan over the Gallardo. No matter what you pay to keep it on the road, that figure will cover it! If you’re stretching to reach the GT-R’s price tag, however, its thirst for fuel could be a concern. We managed little more than 16mpg in our test. No CO2 emissions have been released, but the GT-R will almost certainly fall into the highest car tax band, as with its two rivals here. And although specialist servicing packages will be offered, don’t expect them to be cheap, either.

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