Nissan GT-R - A true performance car and future Icon

The Nissan GT-R is a true performance car which is able to compete and defeat many supercars for a fraction of the price. The GT-R is not only a fast car, and I do mean fast, but it is also rather practical with space for four and a decent-sized boot (for a vehicle of this ilk).

The GT-R began its life back in 2008 and was a new, advanced version of the old but forever iconic Nissan Skyline GT-R. It was a car featured in many movies and a car which many teenagers and young adults dreamt about owning and modifying. The Skyline was the poster car of the '90s and could be found on many bedroom walls and computer wallpapers. Nissan dropped the Skyline name and just called the new version, the GT-R. As with the Nissan Skyline before it, the GT-R is sure to be a future motoring Icon.

The GT-R became an instant success around the world thanks to its incredible power and performance levels, combined with stunning looks and futuristic and advanced interior and technology. It was like a gamer's paradise inside the cockpit, with new digital dials giving readings of things like G-Force. The engines are built in state-of-the-art factories, with no stone left unturned to ensure the peak power and performance was milked out of every new engine block. The GT-R quickly broke the Nurburgring's lap record back in 2009 and has since consistently been one of the fastest cars to lap the track ever since, continually improving its time.

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Since its inception over ten years ago, the GT-R has gone through several mini facelifts and alterations to keep it competitive with its illustrious rivals, such as the Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type, Audi R8 and even the McLaren 570S. There are now five trim levels available to choose from; Pure, Recaro, Prestige, Track Edition and the specially tuned Nismo model. The boffins at Nismo (Nissan's in-house performance and tuning team), have slightly modified the Track Edition model. The Nismo specification is a full-blown modified and upgraded version of the standard GT-R.

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Engines, Power and Performance

The Nissan GT-R is fitted with a 3.8-litre Twin Turbo V6 petrol engine, with two different power outputs depending on the trim level selected. The standard power output across the GT-R trim levels is a mighty 570hp and 637Nm of torque. The Nismo version gets an additional 30hp and 15Nm of torque, with figures of 600hp and 652Nm of torque. Both iterations are capable of a top speed of 196mph, but Nissan has not yet published a claimed 0-62mph time for either model, but it's safe to say it should be comfortable around the 3secs mark given previous versions managed the feat in a claimed 2.7secs.

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Both engines are mated to a GR6 six-speed dual-clutch transmission, which can be used in fully automatic mode, or manual suing the flappy paddles either side of the steering wheel. There are three driving modes which can be selected; Normal Mode, Special Modes and R Mode.

Normal Mode is pretty much as it says and is used for daily driving and it sets the suspension and transmission soft so that you get a smooth and pleasant ride.

Special Mode splits into three sub-modes; Comfort, Save and Off. Comfort mode adjusts the shock absorber force, Save mode is used when travelling long distances, and also reduces torque when it senses traction could be limited due to slippery surfaces, and finally Off Mode which switches the cars VDC system off.

R Mode can be used on the road and more importantly, the racetrack, with various adjustable programs and setting to enhance your driving experience.

Interior Quality and Technology

The interior of the GT-R has been developed and improved as part of the new upgrades. It is now beginning to look and feel as you would expect from an £80K+ car. The interior is now built much better and the materials used are nearly up to the premium standards of the Porsche and Audi equivalents.

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Each GT-R model comes with the latest Nissan Connect infotainment system, which can be accessed through an eight-inch colour touchscreen. The touchscreen can also be controlled via a new rotary controller to reduce distraction when driving. Compared with most GT sports cars of this class, the GT-R comes very well equipped as standard. Every GT-R gets sat-nav, a colour reversing camera, Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an eleven-speaker Bose audio system as well as many others.

The front leather and Alcantara seats benefit from being heated with the driver seat having 8-way power adjustability, whilst the passenger seat is 4-way. The steering wheel also has a generous amount of adjustment, making finding a great driving position simple, while maintaining maximum comfort.

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Space, practicality and safety

The Nissan GT-R is fairly spacious for a car of its type, with a decent amount of legroom and headroom in the front to satisfy all but the really tall. The seats are soft, comfortable and snug without being too tight. In the back, there are a couple of individual seats, which will fit a couple of adults in, but it is a bit of a squeeze. The rear seats are best suited to children or smaller adults who don't require as much space. Accessing the rear seats can also be a little tricky at first, but with a bit of practice, you'll soon find the right technique.

There are various storage compartments such as door pockets, cupholders front and back and a small cubby under the front centre armrest. The boot is a strong point for the GT-R with a capacity of 315-litres easily trumping the Jaguar F-Type and Audi R8. The downside is that the rear seats do not fold down so no extra space can be gained.

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The GT-R has not been safety tested due to the type of high-performance vehicle it is. As with all powerful high-end sports cars, the GT-R comes with a host of high-tech safety gadgets. The GT-R is fitted with the subline ATTESA ET-S four-wheel-drive system for superb grip and traction. Some of the standard safety features include ABS with EBD and brake assist, Electronic Traction Control, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), pedestrian safety pop-up bonnet and front and rear parking sensors.

The Nismo trim benefits from Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes as standard, for even greater stopping power.

The GT-R has not really changed much since 2008, but the little tweaks which have been made are all positive and have only enhanced the GT-R further. The speed, grip, handling and performance of the Nissan rocket are undeniably impressive and can only really be fully appreciated on a race track. I am a big kid at heart, and I want one, it is still my guilty pleasure. Is it yours?

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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
  • Kent