As it now enters its 13th model year on sale without a major redesign, the 2020 Nissan GT-R still deserves a spot in the modern supercar ring-of-honor for its blending of big power, unbelievable grip and dialed-in handling characteristics. While early examples were quite the bargain, Nissan has made a variety of changes and improvements to the GT-R over the years while also raising the price, and the same basic vehicle that cost around $75,000 when it came out in 2008 (or about $90k in 2020 dollars) now rings in at around $115,000 for a base model, or a whopping $215,000 in top-of-the-line NISMO trim.
At the heart of every GT-R is a potent twin-turbo V6 mated to a fast-shifting 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Beyond its respectable powertrain is an aggressively-tuned suspension, a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, and high-performance Brembo brakes (there’s even a carbon ceramic option that won’t fade at the track, but be warned — they’re expensive). While its value proposition has decreased a bit over the years, all of these performance attributes allow the GT-R to still remain relevant today despite the fact that it first went on sale back when George W. Bush was still in office.
What’s New for 2020?
The 2020 Nissan GT-R receives some slight tweaks to the tuning of its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 that allows it to make more torque at lower RPMs. There’s also a new 50th Anniversary Edition package offered for the entry-level Premium model, while all trims get a revised grille, new wheels and some new accent colors around the exterior. See the 2020 Nissan GT-R models for sale near you
What We Like
- It’s very fast
- Superb grip from AWD system
- Surprisingly agile
- Updated interior
- Decent offering of premium amenities
What We Don’t
- Less of a status symbol than most competitors
- Feels a little large and heavy in corners
- Upper trims are less of a value
- About due for a redesign
The Nissan GT-R is equipped with a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 putting out a healthy 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque. In the Track and NISMO editions, those figures rise to 600 hp and 481 lb-ft of torque. All of this power is fed to an advanced AWD system by way of a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. The transmission offers three driver-selectable shifting programs, while the car itself offers a variety of different settings that allow you to change its performance characteristics.
The EPA rates the GT-R at 16 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Nissan GT-R is offered in three main trims: Premium, Track and NISMO. There’s also a special 50th Anniversary edition added to the lineup for this year that builds off of the basic Premium model.
The Premium ($115,235) comes with an 11-speaker Bose audio system with active noise cancellation and a titanium exhaust with sound control, along with 20-in Rays alloy wheels, LED headlights and a multifunction display that details a range of performance data, including G-forces, shifting patterns and lap times. Notable convenience features include cruise control, leather and suede upholstery, an 8.0-in touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, navigation, and Apple CarPlay, a Napa leather-wrapped dashboard, keyless entry with push-button start, a rearview monitor, and heated and power-adjustable front seats.
The Premium is the only GT-R to offer any option packages. An all-weather package is available at no cost and comes with a unique coolant mixture and all-season run-flat tires, while a premium interior package adds higher-end leather finishings for $4,280.
The 50th Anniversary package adds $9,500 onto the cost of a basic Premium model. Exterior color options for the 50th Anniversary consist of either blue, silver, or white. Unique wheels, "50th Anniversary" badging, unique interior trim and upholstery, and an Alcantara headliner round out the package.
The Track Edition ($147,235) includes a NISMO-tuned suspension and powertrain, a carbon fiber roof, 20-in NISMO wheels, a carbon-fiber spoiler and a unique red and black interior treatment with Recaro sport seats. Carbon ceramic brake rotors and calipers are offered as a $15,000 option.
The 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO ($212,435) comes standard with those carbon ceramic brakes while adding to the equation carbon fiber body components, and a new turbocharger design that’s shared with the GT-R NISMO GT3 race car. The NISMO also comes with a unique rear wing and more dramatic styling elements.
Standard safety features for the GT-R include an anti-lock braking system, stability control, traction control and six airbags: front, side and head-curtain. Given its low production numbers and almost decade-and-a-half-old architecture, the GT-R lacks the active safety features like automatic emergency braking offered on more modern vehicles. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash tested the GT-R.
Behind the Wheel
From a speed and acceleration standpoint, the GT-R is about as good as it gets, with blindingly fast straight-line performance and tire-melting torque. All this power feels a little less daunting from behind the wheel thanks in large part to the GT-R’s sophisticated AWD system, precise steering, and big, strong brakes that are designed to reel the car in with precision and control, especially if you check the box for the optional carbon-ceramic setup.
The GT-R is as surefooted on the pavement as a world-class sports car can be. That’s especially true in the curves, whether on the racetrack or through a set of harrowing canyon switchbacks. Almost regardless of its speed, the GT-R feels extremely confident in corners. It maintains grip and balance as if it were a purpose-built racecar, and offers a true sense of control and stability. The GT-R also offers a variety of adjustable settings, allowing you to configure the vehicle to your liking.
The GT-R offers an easygoing ride thanks to a driver-selectable vehicle dynamics system. In normal mode, the car takes on a less rigid personality, making it viable for daily commuting or interstate cruising, which isn’t something that can be said for every vehicle in this class.
The main drawback to the GT-R is its weight. At roughly 3,900 pounds, it comes in considerably heavier than some of the competition. A 300 weight loss would do the aging GT-R some good and would serve to better align it with the current supercar landscape.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Chevrolet Corvette — With a starting price of almost half of what you’ll pay for the cheapest GT-R, the all-new mid-engined C8 Corvette looks to be the performance car bargain to beat. While the recently-introduced base model makes use of a pushrod V8 making 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, good for a claimed 0-to-60 mph time of less than 3.0 seconds. Expect Z06, ZR1 and hybridized versions coming down the line to offer even greater performance, all for significantly less than what you’d pay for a new GT-R.
2019 Acura NSX — The reincarnated NSX doesn’t get the love and attention it deserves. Both the GT-R and the NSX are reincarnations of beloved 1990s Japanese sports cars and offer potent V6 engines and AWD. That said, the NSX features a mid-mounted engine paired with hybrid components, and is a bit newer, having launched back in 2016. Altogether, it’s one of the most daily-drivable supercars of all time.
2019 Porsche 911 — The iconic 911 is priced similarly to the GT-R, but is more modern and is arguably also the more desirable product with regard to heritage and collectability. That said, in lower trim levels, the GT-R is arguably a better value than the 911.
2020 Audi R8 — Priced similarly to the GT-R, the Audi R8 is built on the same platform as the Lamborghini Huracan. While the GT-R uses a twin-turbo V6, the R8 makes use of a mid-mounted V10. While looks are subjective, we can’t help but feel that the more modern R8 — which was all-new for 2016 — is the more compelling vehicle based on its attractive design alone.
While the GT-R is getting pretty old, it gets a pass due to the fact that when it launched back in 2008, it did so with cutting-edge technology that was years ahead of the competition. As a result, the GT-R can still keep up with most modern supercars thanks to its incredible performance characteristics, especially the grip offered by its AWD system. That said, it’s starting to show its age and lacks the refinement of more modern competitors like the Porsche 911, the Audi R8 and the Acura NSX.
GT-R buyers looking for the best of the best will no doubt flock toward an example in top-of-the-line NISMO spec, while those on a tighter budget, but still wanting a GT-R for track use will, big surprise, probably find a lot to like about the Track Edition. That said, at around $115,000, the basic Premium model likely offers the best overall value out of the bunch, and is still a worthy competitor to supercars costing up to twice as much. Find a Nissan GT-R for sale