Nissan GT-R coupe
Price: £77,995 - £125,000
- Stunning straight-line performance
- Razor-sharp handling
- It looks great
- Uncomfortable at low speeds
- Price is up by £10k from previous model
- Nissan badge not as prestigious as Porsche
"The excellent Nissan GT-R offers supercar rivalling performance for a lot less money."
The Nissan GT-R is fast – really fast. It can accelerate from 0-62mph in only 3.1 seconds, and it's great to drive, too. The car's cornering ability is a strong selling point, and although the latest version is pricier than before – the result of VAT and fuel price increases – the car is great value for money compared to big-name rivals such as the Porsche 911 Turbo. It's been on sale since 2008, but updates to the 2011 model saw an increase in power, the addition of LED running lights, new alloy wheels and a red engine cover to complement its sleek lines. In 2013 a further update focused on performance but a bit more on comfort too, making the GT-R a nicer place to be. The GT-R's brakes are really powerful too – which is no bad thing considering the Nissan GT-R's twin-turbocharged 3.2-litre V6 engine can take you to a top speed of more than 190mph. The ride is firm and the hi-tech four-wheel-drive system makes a bit of noise at speed, but that's a small price to pay on the way to that stunning top speed. The latest version of the Nissan GT-R features a stiffer body at the front to give more stability from the suspension, and the engine has been tweaked for a bit more power. These things do actually work, although you need to be on a track to actually get the most out of it.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Clever automatic gearbox allows the GT-R to return an average of 24mpg
The Nissan GT-R can return impressive levels of fuel economy for a car capable of nearly 200mph, but heavy use of the accelerator will result in the maker's claims tumbling fast. Producing 279g/km of CO2 the GT-R falls into emissions band M and costs £460 every 12 months to tax after its first year on UK roads. Nissan is currently offering three-years of free servicing to anybody who buys a GT-R on its finance plan.
Interior & comfort
Firm suspension results in a bumpy, harsh ride at slow speeds
It's low slung, but the GT-R provides the perfect driving position. Buyers have the choice of leather or Alcantara bucket seats which are very comfortable when driving enthusiastically, as well as over long distances. Highly supportive Recaro racing seats are also available as a cost option. All the controls including the paddle gear shift levers are light and easy to use. All GT-Rs use a special suspension system that gives an incredibly firm ride. It has three modes – Comfort, Normal and R – but it's only vaguely acceptable in Comfort, everything else is too firm for the road on longer drives. While the stiff suspension is perfect when using the car's performance, it can become tiring at lower speeds, especially on city streets.The engine noise is very intrusive, and the gearbox can be a bit noisy as well.
Practicality & boot space
Practical for a supercar, the GT-R even has rear seats and large boot
Unlike many supercars, the Nissan GT-R has two small rear seats and a boot that's large enough to carry small suitcases or a set of golf clubs. The suspension is firm, but generous visibility and an airy cabin means the GT-R is a realistic proposition for everyday use. The large turning circle can cause problems when parking in tight spaces, though.
Reliability & safety
Nissan builds some of the most reliable cars on sale, the GT-R is no different
Interior materials are of a fair quality and the cabin feels well screwed together, but the GT-R doesn't have the luxurious feel of a Porsche 911 or Aston Martin Vantage. The advanced technology used in the engine, gearbox and four-wheel-drive system should prove reliable, although you can expect big maintenance bills if you plan on exploiting the car's maximum performance on a regular basis.
Engines, drive & performance
Seamingly endless reserves of power make the revised version one of the fastest cars on the road
Nissan recently gave the GT-R a power boost from 523bhp to 542bhp, while torque has increased from 588Nm to 612Nm. Pressing the accelerator to the floor results in an almost immediate surge for the horizon in almost any gear at any speed. Corners are despatched equally as fast, the body remaining composed and flat while occupants are subjected to some road and transmission noise on the move. The steering is very direct, but the wide front tyres do follow tramlines and imperfections in the road surface, and cause the steering wheel to be pulled around in your hands as a result. Adjustable dampers, stability control and a paddleshift gearbox all help to allow the GT-R to be highly effective on both road and track. The optional Track Pack model is the most focused GT-R yet, receiving various suspension and brakes upgrades, designed to improve agility.
Price, value for money & options
Nothing offers this level of performance and capability at this price
For the performance on offer, the Nissan GT-R is a relative bargain. The introduction of the revised model saw the price rise by £10,000, but it's still around half the price of rivals that have similar performance. The GT-R used to be an amazing bargain, but prices have risen by around a third since it went on sale - it's just not as good as it could be. The bland design, clunky switches, limited headroom, and cheap-looking sat-nav are totally out of place in the GT-R as well - with a price tag this high, you expect better. Only one spec level is availabl, but it comes generously equipped with climate control, an 11 speaker stereo and 20 inch alloy wheels.
What the others say
It is brilliantly and unashamedly Japanese in its design – a German or French manufacturer just wouldn’t make a car look like this. With its bold lines and riot of creases, it fits into the Tokyo atmosphere perfectly, yet it's also aerodynamically tidy, with a drag coefficient of Cd 0.27.
GT-R features large Brembo full-floating drilled discs, low steel high stiffness brake pads and Brembo mono block six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, which in combination minimise fade and provide stable braking. Runflat tyres balance high grip and all-weather capabilities and a comfortable ride in all driving situations. The tyres are designed to maintain their integrity for 80km of travel at 80 km/h.
At the GT-R's launch in 2007, the chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno claimed: “The real car will arrive in three years.” So we’re guessing the heavily modified 2011 variant driven here is the model Nissan always intended the GT-R to be.
Technical tour de force for the GT5 generation. Call it son of Skyline, but all it shares with that great beast is sensational performance and dynamic perfection. Oh boy.
Last updated: 7 Mar 2014