Some eight years after it went on sale, does the 548hp Nissan GT-R still have what it takes to impress UK car buyers? Or, has it lost its unofficial ‘best-value performance car’ title to younger, lither rivals?
We spent a weekend with the GT-R to put buyers’ minds at rest. It’s a hard job but someone has to do it…
It helps normal drivers go fast…
…really, really, fast. When you accelerate in any of the GT-R’s six gears you get a heavyweight boxer’s punch back into the seat. Over a quarter mile, there’s almost nothing on four wheels that can compete with the unhinged Nissan.
The huge torque means that, even with a small push of the throttle at motorway speeds, you gain velocity at a rate even more impressive than if you’d just dived headfirst from a plane – the GT-R gets you right in the gut, every time. Floor it from a standstill, and you’ll hit 60mph in 2.7 seconds. For reference, that’s faster than a £260,000 Lamborghini Aventador.
The four-wheel-drive system is incredibly smart – shifting power to the wheels that need it most. This means even the most lead-footed amateur driver can accelerate hard out of tight, bumpy, rain-soaked corners without any drama or – more importantly – danger.
You get a sense that you can’t wrong-foot the GT-R – no matter how unpolished your driving technique – and that it’s always on your side, and always trying to help you make the most of its immense performance.
It has charm
When the GT-R went on sale in 2007, some critics worried the computers putting the power to the road would rob the GT-R of any ‘soul’. Thankfully, they were wrong – the way the systems shift power between the wheels feels surprisingly mechanical, and you can feel small changes in the system through the seat of your pants.
You come to realise just how complex the car’s drivetrain is when you’re manoeuvring at slow speeds. Pootle around a car park and you can really hear the car’s oily bits – designed to work best at high speeds – at work, thunking gently as you amble around.
The GT-R is a comfortable cruiser
In 2013, Nissan listened to critics of the early car’s harsh ride and added a new ‘comfort’ mode to the suspension switch on the GT-R’s dashboard. Flick this switch and the car softens and becomes a truly comfortable motorway companion, and a saviour for anyone using a GT-R on the UK’s lumpy roads.
Every 250 miles you might notice your wallet gets a little lighter as the 23mpg fuel economy drains the petrol tank of expensive 98 octane petrol. However, considering the performance on offer, it’s a fair price to pay.
It’s still good value
The GT-R costs from £78,000, which makes it great value for money when you consider the closest rival in terms of speed – the Porsche 911 Turbo – costs £120,000. Granted, the Porsche has a more beautiful interior than the GT-R, but you’d struggle to justify the extra £42,000.
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