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.