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The Pros and Cons of the Nissan GT-R

The Nissan GT-R is one of the most amazing performance cars of our time — and one of the most controversial. Fans fawn over its impressive numbers: the horsepower, the acceleration, the skid-pad G-forces, you name it. GT-R haters, of which there are many, sing a bit of a different tune.

So what exactly are the pros and cons of the GT-R? Here’s everything you need to know.

PRO: The performance. 

GT-R fans and skeptics alike all agree on one thing: The car is insanely fast. When car magazines test it, they get 0-to-60 times of 2-point-something seconds; the car can reach 60 miles per hour faster than you can read this sentence out loud. And it’s not just that: The GT-R can hit 195 mph and lap the Nurburgring only a few seconds slower than a Porsche 918 Spyder.

CON: The badge.

But the problem is, it’s a Nissan. When your car does 0-to-60 in 2.8 seconds and hits 195 mph, you want it to wear a Ferrari prancing horse or a Lamborghini raging bull on the hood. What car enthusiast ever grew up with a poster of a Nissan on their bedroom wall? It’s hard to argue against this point: Spend your GT-R budget on a Porsche 911, and you won’t have to waste a second explaining what you’re driving.

PRO: The drivetrain. 

Oh, the drivetrain. The GT-R uses a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6, and if that doesn’t sound impressive, the fact that it gets 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque certainly should. And it’s not just the engine: The GT-R’s V6 is mated to a lightning-quick dual-clutch automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system that seems to know the perfect amount of power to feed to the ground. It’s very, very sweet.

CON: The point-and-shoot quality. 

And yet, it’s almost a little too easy. Critics deride the GT-R’s drivetrain, amazing as it is, for being too simple and too accessible. You don’t have to work to make the GT-R fast like you do with a stick-shift Porsche 911 or a fussy Ferrari or Lamborghini. You just aim the steering wheel where you want to go, drop your foot and look like a pro. That overconfidence could explain why so many GT-Rs have already been smashed up.

PRO: The gadgets. 

And then there’s the features and technology. We’ve already covered the obvious items, but they’re worth repeating: a monstrous twin-turbocharged V6, a cutting-edge all-wheel-drive system and a tremendously quick dual-clutch automatic transmission. Plus there’s the unique configurable display screen in the center control stack that tells you everything from oil pressure to your steering angle, your cornering G-forces and the amount of power being transferred to the front wheels.

CON: The size. 

But all those gadgets come at a price: weight. Though the GT-R isn’t as portly as some nonbelievers say, its 3,800-lb curb weight makes it around 10 percent heavier than the Ferrari 488 GTB, the Lamborghini Huracan or the Audi R8. The GT-R also feels larger than those cars around turns, even though stats say its cornering capabilities are roughly on par. Visibility is a challenge, the front end is huge, and the overall dimensions take some getting used to.

PRO: The price. 

Although the GT-R was initially available in the high-$70,000 range back when it came out in 2009, prices have crept up over the years, and the current model is more like $100,000 with shipping. But so what? An Audi R8 starts at $165,000 with shipping, a Lamborghini Huracan starts at $201,000, and a Ferrari 488 GTB starts at $245,000. The GT-R will hang with each of those cars on a race track and tax your wallet considerably less.

CON: The price. 

And yet we’re still talking about dropping a hundred grand on a Nissan. It might be a good value as far as sports cars go, but the GT-R’s slow sales prove that shoppers have some qualms about putting down six figures for a car made by the same people who gave us the Versa — available today from $13,000, including destination, with cruise control optional.

So is the Nissan GT-R a great buy? An amazing car? One of the best performance vehicles of our time? Or is it an overpriced, overhyped Nissan that’s more about video-game tech than true driver skill? We won’t take a side — but at least now you know the arguments.

Find a Nissan GT-R for sale

Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. The badge means nothing. Any car enthusiast who isn’t half blind praises this car. It looks great and runs great, even if it isn’t a Lamborghini or Ferrari, and it’s even better for those who don’t want to hop on the bandwagon. 

  2. So what you’re saying is, if you’re not some fool who can’t drive big cars and thinks brands mean a single thing, this car is perfect?

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