£81,995 - £151,995 Price range
The Nissan GT-R is a sporty coupe with a well-earned reputation for offering huge performance at a knockdown price. It rivals cars such as the Porsche 911 Turbo S, Mercedes AMG GT, and Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Nissan has been fettling the GT-R since it was launched in 2007, but 2016 saw the car get a major facelift which focused on making the car easier to live with every day.
Key to this was a new interior that means the Nissan can now match rivals both in terms of design and material choice – the stitched leather dashboard adds class while the simplified button layout and new infotainment system are welcome improvements.
No GT-R facelift would be complete without a power boost and Nissan has duly obliged upping the figure from 542 to 563hp. With that sort of power, the GT-R is easily a match for expensive supercars such as the 562hp McLaren 570s – something a 0-62mph time of under three seconds readily attests to.
Work has also gone into making the GT-R easier to drive on the limit, but make no mistake – it is still capable of out-cornering cars costing twice the price.
The GT-R isn’t cheap, but the standard equipment list that includes a high-tech infotainment system, LED headlights, adaptive dampers, active noise cancellation and a Bose audio system is comparable to that of the Porsche 911 Turbo S which has double the price tag, so it’s more of a bargain in the supercar world. However, running costs are higher than in rivals.
The previous GT-R was criticised for being too bland inside and Nissan seems to have heard those complaints. Now the dashboard is wrapped in soft leather and you can have it in a two-tone black/tan colour scheme should you feel the need to replicate a Ferrari’s inners.
Most of the buttons have also disappeared from the fascia and you’re left with a much sleeker dashboard. The infotainment system and touchscreen do their job well, but don’t stand out in any particular area, unless you count the fabulously detailed telemetry that can detail everything from tyre temperatures to boost pressure.
Nissan GT-R passenger and boot space
You won’t feel cramped in the front of the GT-R and the standard seats do a great job of holding you in place. For those seeking more side bolstering the GT-R Recaro model adds sports seats from the eponymous motorsport supplier. Back seat space isn’t so good, although adults can fit. Better news come in the form of a 315 litre boot, which is just a litre short of a Ford Focus’ load bay.
Many testers are keen to play down rumours that the GT-R is emotionless to drive – there’s plenty of character here, and the engine sounds fantastic. There’s loads of grip whether the road is tight or open, and you can feel the four-wheel-drive system moving power to the wheels that need it the most.
Like most of the car’s systems, the suspension is adjustable from switches on the centre console, and there’s a comfort mode to smooth the ride when you just want to sit on the motorway and cruise. As in some rivals, the GT-R has an adjustable exhaust that can be made quieter at the touch of a button.
You can also adjust the speed of the automatic gearbox’s gearshifts. The fastest mode (called R mode), wallops you in the back as you shift up gears with your foot flat on the accelerator. Around town, the gearbox happily shuffles along smoothly, and makes the GT-R feel no more challenging to pootle around in than a Qashqai.
Neck-straining acceleration is the GT-R’s calling card, but the revised model has no official 0-62mph time – Nissan saying it wants to avoid a numbers war with rivals. Nonetheless, the old car dispatched 0-62mph in 2.7 seconds – two tenths of a second quicker than a 911 Turbo S. Quick enough we’re sure you’ll agree!
With the 2016 updates come an increase in boost pressure and an uprated ignition system borrowed from the the track-focused Nismo model. That liberates an extra 20hp and makes it feel more eager to rev.
If the normal GT-R isn’t fast enough then there’s the Track and Nismo versions which offer increasingly more power and lighter weight – there are no official acceleration stats, but the rumour is the Nismo takes under 2.5 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill.
The earlier engine is the same V6 as the MY2011 with twin turbos blowing through it, just in a slightly lower state of tune than the newer engine.
Slightly less powerful is a relative term as it still produces 473hp and 434lb ft meaning that it hits 60mph from rest in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 190mph. No-one talks about the fuel consumption, which tells you all that you need to know.
Fuel consumption will be dismal, but then you don’t buy a GT-R to save money, do you?
Unsurprisingly, the reviews for the 2012 model year Nissan GT-R are all very positive. The visual differences are minute, but the experts report that there are a number of small improvements that add up to an even better driver's car.
Power has increased, up from 525hp to 560hp, but it's also more fuel efficient as well. Critics say the extra horses have made an noticeable difference and that it now has even stronger acceleration.
Prices have gone up slightly, but the general view is that it's well worth the money still and represents exceptional value for money.
Nissan have recently revealed a GT-R Track Pack that adds some cosmetic and mechanical differences to the 2012 GT-R.
The GT-R itself isn't any worse, and 2013's tweaks make it faster and more ferocious than ever - 2.7 seconds from 0 to 62mph is borderline insane, and top speed is only a few digits shy of 200mph. But while it remains easy to drive, rides better than ever (thanks to a "comfort" suspension mode) and still embarrasses hypercars, the car's design, finish and sense of occasion are all now diminishing.
As far as we can tell, no-one has ever crashed a Nissan GT-R on purpose – it seems hard enough to do it accidentally – so there is no objective crash testing data. One would have to imagine that a car engineered to do nearly 200mph would find a standardised 37mph test to be a breeze.
Of course the really good news on the safety front comes from the gizmos under the car designed to help it go fast. Because the car can always make sure the most power and braking force always goes to the correct tyre, the GT-R feels like it is just as surefooted avoiding an accident as it is getting you round a race track.
The 2016 GT-R isn’t only fast – it’s also well-equipped. The titanium exhaust system that was an option on the previous model is now standard and so are the 20-inch lightweight forged wheels. Inside there is a brand new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with modern features such as Apple CarPlay, DAB digital radio and smartphone integration.
There’s standard noise canceling technology and also a noise enhancement feature that pumps artificial sound though the car’s Bose stereo. We’ll let you be the judge of having such a system in a performance car with an already pleasing exhaust note.
Most of its rivals changed fundamentally since its launch, but despite this the GT-R remains hugely competitive, and is quite the bargain when compared to rivals and arguably still the 0-62mph acceleration king. The changes in this new car make it a more palatable every-day proposition and should secure its success for some years to come.