Nissan GT-R Nismo
The GT-R is not the car for those who just want to watch the countryside slide by. It is involvement. it is an all-encompassing visceral experience, where cost is almost irrelevant.
GT-R is about looks, extreme speed, and brutal handling, that well and truly earn the nick name, “Godzilla”.
There is nothing subtle about the Nissan GT-R. It is an in-your-face racer that doesn’t care what you think about it.
It has been lavished with lashings of exotic materials like carbon fibre, poly carbonate, and dry carbon.
The front & rear bumper, side sills, rear spoiler, and boot lid, are carbon fibre. The bonnet, door skins, and RAYS 20” wheels, are aluminium. The wheels are 10” wide at the front, and 10.5” wide on the rear. That is a whole shedload of rubber.
Air intakes and vents direct air in and around the engine and brakes, and the rear spoiler puts downforce on the rear wheels in high speed cornering. Everything you see has a function, not merely for decoration. However, it doesn’t hurt that it ups the cool-factor tenfold.
Gold coloured Brembo brakes look fantastic set against the black spokes of the wheels.
Front fenders have been widened slightly and give the stance and even more aggressive appearance.
The Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) has dusk sensing LED head lights and DTRLs, with LEDs also used in the tail and brake lights.
The really cool stuff is under the skin, with ultra-rigid construction using high precision, low-tolerance jigs. Even the shock towers are die-cast aluminum for lightweight strength.
The Nissan GT-R may have been around a long time, but it is as cutting edge now as it was when it was first released
The cabin is accessed by the Smart Entry/Start system. You keep the key in your pocket, so you only need to press the button on the door handle to lock and unlock.
Starting is as easy as pressing the START button.
Instruments have a Nismo upgrade, with a racing-red tacho front and centre. The conventional speedo is to the left, with gear number/manual-auto, fuel, and temp on the right.
The digital speedo doubles as the “speed-set” indicator for the cruise control. It can be a bit confusing when it temporarily displays cruise speed rather than the actual speed.
Although there are auto lights, wipers make do with an intermittent function. Surely that’s a bit mean on a 300 grand scud missile.
The carbon fibre continues around the centre console and in the front racing seats. The dash, doors, and seats, are festooned with swathes of Alcantara. Apart from looking and feeling luxurious, it stops the driver from sliding around.
The Recaro seats have deep bolsters and are surprisingly comfortable. Only the backrest is power operated .The rear seats could only be used in extreme emergencies, like the Boxing Day Sales. You’ll only ever be able to carry packages that don’t have legs.
Although looking slightly old fashioned, the centre touch screen displays all the infotainment clearly. Satnav, and info such as cornering G-Force, acceleration, and steering angle can be found in the menus. You can review your recordings long after you come off the track.
Nismo badges, red stitching, and general references to racing, have been used with gay abandon, just to remind you you’ve bought the hard-core model.
Driving positions are easily personalized thanks to the driver’s binnacle moving up and down with the telescopic steering wheel.
There is no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/DAB, but streaming via Bluetooth/USB is available. The sound system is superb, and doubles as speakers for the active noise cancelling.
- Smart entry/start
- Bose 11 speaker audio
- Bose Active Noise Cancelling
- 8” Infotainment system LCD monitor
- Commander System rotary dial for Satnav/communications input
- Nismo IT system
- Nismo Tachometre
- Electronic Analogue driver instruments
- LED adaptive headlights
- Nismo bonded body construction
- Brembo Brakes
- Drag coefficient of 0.26
- VR38DETT- 3.8 litre twin-turbocharged 24-valve V6, hand built by one man per engine
- Power 441kW @ 6,800rpm
- Torque 652Nm @ 3,600- 5,600rpm
- 6 speed DCT with rev matching
- 3 drive modes
- ATTESA E-TS All-Wheel-Drive (AWD
- patented independent rear-mounted transaxle integrating transmission, differential and AWD transfer case
The DCT can be used in either full-auto mode, or by using the paddles, manual sequential mode. Unlike most other DCT autos, the system stays in manual once you use the paddles. To go back to auto mode, either pull and hold the” up” paddle, or shift the gear lever left then right again.
Suspension is very firm most of the time, and over rough roads, verges on unbearable, but for some reason you quickly learn to ignore it.
Steering is power assisted hydraulic and is as sharp as a pin.
Turn-in is extraordinary. No matter how hard it is pushed, the GT-R is never ruffled. The stability control, LSD, ABS and AWD sort out your foibles, but only if you leave everything engaged. 441kw is a lot of power if not watched over by electronic nannies.
It gets a little pernickety on the worst of roads, but road manners are generally excellent. You have to watch the nose as you park, or on speed bumps, or in a driveway, but the reward is the ability to sprint to 100kph in the same amount of time that it takes to blink twice.
Looks, superb drive, extreme performance
No So Good Bits
Slightly old-fashioned instruments, price, ride
I admit to never having driven a Nissan GT-R previously, so as a virgin, I was not surprised by the razor-sharp handling, explosive performance, and harsh ride.
It is made for a racetrack, not for touring the goat tracks masquerading as roads in Australia. It is 100% fit for purpose. Let’s not forget its win over a much-lauded Porsche 911 at the Nürburgring.
You need deep pockets, and that fact keeps it as rare as hen’s teeth, and that’s a good thing. You could have any number of Super Cars for this price, but would you want to?
Most of the modern driver aids are missing. There is no lane control or active cruise, and most of the convenience features are missing too. But, you don’t buy a Nissan GT-R for convenience, you buy it for its ability to inject adrenalin directly into your heart.
OK, we didn’t go to a track, but we did do a good job on a road more suited to a comfy uber-barge. As we parted ways, I wondered if we would ever meet again. My fear is, we may not.
Facts and Figures
Price: $299,000 MSRP
Engine: 3.8 litre twin-turbocharged 24-valve V6
Transmission: 6 Speed DCt
Economy: 11.7 Claimed