Nissan has been selling a very high-performance car known as the Skyline in Japan for about 20 years and in several generations. Now in its fifth generation, in 2009 it was brought to the American market as the Nissan GT-R. It has enormous performance in all directions. Considering its capabilities, the GT-R can be thought of as a performance value.
The Nissan GT-R boasts the performance level of far more expensive cars. Its advanced, extraordinary all-wheel-drive dutifully and invisibly channels the engine's 485 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque to those tires with the most grip. This is most remarkable when enlisted using Launch Control. Its twin-clutch, sequential-shifting, six-speed manumatic transaxle is competitive with, and certainly equal to or better than, the best from Porsche, Mercedes, BMW or Ferrari.
This car is terrifically good and great fun to drive, whether just tooling around, darting through rush-hour traffic or blurring telephone poles on empty back roads.
The GT-R comes with every comfort and convenience a driver and passenger need, and most of what a driver and passenger could want. The sports car-like cabin is climate controlled. The navigation system responds to voice commands. Behind the navigation system's LCD are 11 pages of data, graphs and virtual gauges that tell the tale on more of the car's dynamics than most drivers can, or want to, be bothered knowing. All this makes the red start/stop button that takes the place of a perfectly functional key almost tolerable.
The Nissan GT-R comes in one body style, a two-door, 2+2 quasi-coupe. There's also but one powertrain offered, a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter V6 driving all four wheels through a six-speed, twin-clutch, sequential-shifting, automated-manual transaxle. Shifts are managed either by computer or by steering column-mounted magnesium paddle shifters.
Even though it has been on the market only a short time, for model year 2010 there are some significant enhancements. The engine's horsepower is up from 480 to 485 hp, and torque has been increased from 430 to 434 pound-feet. There is new Transmission Control Module (TCM) programming that optimizes clutch engagement, thus improving drivability and acceleration with the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system turned on (activated). More rigid brake lines offer better durability, brake calipers carry both the Brembo and the Nissan logos. There has been suspension re-tuning, with redesigned Bilstein shock absorbers that have a new valve-body design, and revised spring and damper rates. The base GT-R model has a slighter darker high-luster smoke finish on the standard 20-inch RAYS forged aluminum wheels, and a new near-black metallic finish is standard on the Premium model. There is a new Pearl White color, and the Super Silver exterior color has been enhanced and now includes a polished front bumper. The Dunlop summer tires have a revised compound. Finally, and very important for safety, front seat-mounted airbags and roof-mounted side-curtain airbags are standard.