• 545 horsepower now on tap from the twin-turbo V6
  • Base model breaks $95,000 while Black Edition rises past $100,000
  • Bargain position relative to competitors shrinks slightly

All vehicles, from economy cars to exotics, are best judged relative to competitors that offer similar characteristics and pricing. Among supercars, high-performance machines capable awesome speed and handling, value remains important. A tough field of capable competitors means a wide array of suitable vehicles for potential buyers.

Nissan's GT-R has been a key player since its arrival as a 2009 model. While the supercar Nissan calls "Godzilla" has improved since then, it has also gotten considerably more expensive. For 2013, the GT-R again gets more power and torque, but its price rises significantly. The 2013 base GT-R Premium is priced at $96,820, while the top Black Edition is $106,320.

Output is now 545 horsepower and 468 lb-ft torque, each rising by 15. The increase is thanks to a more efficient intake, a freer-breathing intercooler and better exhaust emissions efficiency. The all-wheel drive GT-R should see a modest performance gain, but even last year's car was lightning-quick, running from zero to 60 mph in under three seconds with the help of launch control.

Nissan says tweaks to the transmission design result in quieter shifts and better shift feel. Suspension tuning is revised, and racing-spec differential fluid is now standard. The Black model gets a new dry carbon fiber fixed rear wing while all 2013 GT-Rs include a standard back-up camera and blue tachometer lighting.

The price hike for the upgrades is significant, not least because the rise is greater than the 2011-2012 increase. The outgoing 2012 model was $5,890 pricier than the 2011 GT-R, but it offered a host of improvements including a 40-horsepower bump. The 2013 GT-R Premium is $6,870 more than the last model; the top Black Edition GT-R sees a price hike of $11,220.

Several race-bred sports cars make interesting value comparisons to the GT-R. The Corvette Z06 has a 505-horsepower, 7-liter V8 and starts at $76,500, leaving enough spare change for racing school and several sets of tires. On the higher end of the price spectrum, Audi's mid-engine R8 includes all-wheel drive like the GT-R, but the 430-horsepower V8 model is hundreds of pounds lighter. It starts at $118,450.

Still, the GT-R includes a standard automated manual gearbox that, along with all-wheel drive, makes possible its stunning acceleration times. The Corvette offers neither, while the Audi's price with a similar gearbox is over $126,000. Despite the price hike, the GT-R remains a unique and compelling relative value.

What it means to you: Even with increased prices for the 2013 model year, the Nissan GT-R deserves consideration among $100,000 track-ready sports cars.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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