Review

Nissan GT-R coupe

Price  £78,030 - £125,000

Nissan GT-R coupe

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • One of the fastest mass-production cars ever
  • Great grip and handling
  • Good-sized boot
Cons
  • Not as prestigious as rivals
  • Uncomfortable
  • Very small rear seats

At a glance

The greenest
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The cheapest
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The fastest
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Top of the range
Engineered by NISMO 3.8 V6 550PS 2dr £88,580

“The Nissan GT-R is a speed demon, but offers the most appeal to hardcore enthusiasts, rather than the everyday driver.”

Nissan's iconic supercar certainly punches above its weight when it comes to pure straight-line speed compared to its more upmarket rivals like the Porsche 911.

Successor to the Nissan Skyline GT-R that was first launched in 1969, the GT-R broke away to make a name for itself in 2007. The latest model boasts a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine with 542bhp, capable of taking you from 0-62 in under three seconds.

Every year since launch has seen improvements to the GT-R, with the 2015 model focusing on suspension and tyres, given the four-wheel-drive car's previously hard ride, particularly at lower speeds. 

The GT-R also has a track edition engineered by its in-house racing arm Nismo and costing a further £10,000. There's also a limited-edition (100 cars only) 45th anniversary model that blends performance and luxury.

Not that you’d need to go faster, but the £125,000 GT-R Nismo produces 592bhp using the same engine as the standard GT-R. It's the fastest mass-production car around the famous Nürburgring race circuit in Germany.

All GT-R models have a top speed of 196mph, but return a mere 23.9mpg fuel economy and their CO2 emissions of 275g/km mean road tax will set you back over £500 a year. In comparison, the Porsche 911 Carrera will return 34mpg and has 190g/km CO2 emissions, so costs £265 to tax.

The 911 Carrera costs from around £76,400, so it's cheaper than the GT-R, but takes 4.6 seconds to go from 0-62mph. If you’re looking for pure speed, the GT-R is almost two seconds faster for just £2,000 more, making it arguably better value for money. Of course, if badge appeal is important to you, the Porsche may be the better option.

At the top end of the scale, the Porsche 911 Turbo is a smidgen slower than the GT-R Nismo from 0-62mph and also £2,000 more expensive, but in the long run the 911 would be more economical given its 31mpg fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3 / 5

Clever automatic gearbox allows the GT-R to return an average of 24mpg

The Nissan GT-R can return impressive 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 275g/km of CO2, the GT-R costs £505 a year to tax. Nissan is currently offering three years of free servicing to anybody who buys a GT-R on its finance plan.

Engines, drive & performance

4.5 / 5

Seamingly endless reserves of power make the revised version one of the fastest cars on the road

The GT-R makes 543bhp, so pressing the accelerator to the floor results in a near-immediate surge for the horizon in almost any gear at any speed. Corners are dispatched 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, causing the steering wheel to be pulled around in your hands as a result. Adjustable dampers, electronic stability control and a paddle-shift gearbox all help the GT-R to be highly effective on road and track.

A special Track Pack model is the most focused GT-R yet, with various suspension and brakes upgrades designed to improve agility.

Interior & comfort

2 / 5

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 a choice of leather or Alcantara-trimmed bucket seats, which are very comfortable when driving enthusiastically as well as over long distances. Highly supportive Recaro racing seats are also available as an option.

All the controls, including the gearshift paddles, 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 and everything else is too firm for the road on longer drives.

While the stiff suspension is perfect when using the car's performance to the full, it can become tiring at lower speeds, especially on city streets. Engine noise is very intrusive and the gearbox can be a bit noisy as well.

Practicality & boot space

3.5 / 5

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

4.5 / 5

Nissan builds some of the most reliable cars on sale and 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 to exploit the car's maximum performance regularly.

Price, value for money & options

3 / 5

Nothing offers this level of performance and capability for the price

For the performance on offer, the Nissan GT-R is a relative bargain. It's not as cheap as it once was, but it's still around half the price of rivals with similar performance. The car's bland design, clunky switches, limited headroom and cheap-looking sat nav are out of place, though – with a price tag this high, you expect better. Only one spec level is available, but it comes generously equipped with climate control, an 11-speaker stereo and 20-inch alloy wheels.

What the others say

4.6 / 5
based on 3 reviews
5 / 5
"At the GT-R's launch in 2007, chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno claimed 'the real car will arrive in three years'. So we’re guessing the heavily modified 2011 version is what Nissan always intended the GT-R to be."
4.5 / 5
"It's brilliantly and unashamedly Japanese in its design – a German or French manufacturer just wouldn’t make a car looking like this. With its bold lines and riot of creases, it fits into the Tokyo atmosphere perfectly, yet it's also aerodynamically tidy."
17 / 20
"A 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 
25 Jan 2016
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