"Nissan's flagship sports car 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. Nissan also fitted bigger brakes to up its stopping power – 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.
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. 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.
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. The suspension is very firm, though, and while that's perfect when using the car's performance, it can become tiring at lower speeds, especially on city streets.
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.
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.
Value for money
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. Only one trim level is available which comes generously equipped with sat nav, climate control, an 11 speaker stereo and 20 inch alloy wheels.
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.