Now, this doesn’t occur usually, however the 2020 Nissan GT-R leaves me perplexed. Not as a result of it’s a outstanding feat of engineering constructed to dominate racetracks, or as a result of the driving expertise hearkens again to the times when vehicles had suggestions and soul, and even as a result of it was styled by a dream group staffed by Ian Callum, Girogetto Guigiaro, and I suppose Paul Deutschman.
No, it’s not that. I’m speechless as a result of, properly, there’s simply nothing a lot new to say concerning the GT-R. Appears bizarre, doesn’t it? However by and huge, it’s nonetheless (largely) the identical automobile right this moment because it was again in 2008 — the GT-R nonetheless packs a handbuilt, twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6, it nonetheless retains the shiny facet up (and the greasy facet down) by way of Nissan’s legendary ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system, and it’s nonetheless a superb ol’ two-door coupe.
Now, to be truthful, Nissan’s given the GT-R its fair proportion of tweaks and refreshes by the years. The newest got here in 2017, including a extra refined inside — extra on that later — and a few further energy underneath the hood, as a result of that’s precisely what the GT-R wanted. Keep in mind when the GT-R had a mere 480 horsepower? At this time, you’re taking a look at 565 horsepower and 467 pound-feet of torque from its double-boosted V6, hooked as much as a six-speed dual-clutch automated. Go for the Observe Version, and also you get a bump to 600 horsepower and 481 lb.-ft. of torque, in addition to a bunch of different go-fast goodies.
And final 12 months, Nissan launched the 50th Anniversary Version mannequin. It’s a throwback to the primary in a wealthy lineage of hopped-up sports activities vehicles recognized virtually solely by their chassis codes, or nicknames like Hakosuka, Kenmeri, and naturally, Godzilla. This bundle decks the automobile out in one in every of three colors together with Bayside Blue, yet one more throwback, plus distinctive wheels and badging, a particular inside color combo, and a few questionably tasteful graphics. Truthfully, this Godzilla might do with out the stripe — it seems like one thing you’d discover on a Corvette — and the “50th anniversary” script on the rear bumper seems type of cheesy. The badge proper beside it’s sufficient.
However let’s not get caught up within the particulars. In additional methods than one, the GT-R is a dinosaur. Logically, there’s no cause for this automobile to exist — the GT-R is fairly trick, however there are much more headline-grabbing sports activities vehicles (and SUVs) hellbent on the quickest Nürburgring lap occasions and maximizing cornering grip. Not solely that, Nissan’s lineup is sort of solely dedicated to EVs and crossovers with CVTs. The GT-R is an anomaly, but in an age of more and more mainstream electrification and autonomy, Nissan’s takumi proceed to assemble its forged aluminum coronary heart, respiration life into this Mesozoic creature that ought to actually be a fossil by now.
Ah, however logic doesn’t all the time prevail, does it? It’s simple to knock the GT-R for its age, however there’s an plain endurance about this brute. Even in spite of everything this time, the GT-R nonetheless turns heads. Different drivers on the freeway gives you the thumbs-up. Their passengers will whip out their telephones to snap an image, then urge you to mash the throttle and take off. Individuals method you in parking heaps as a result of their child is simply as speechless as I’m — albeit for various causes. Your neighbour, who often will get his driving jollies behind the wheel of his six-speed handbook Veloster Turbo, will demand a spin across the block.
That this factor remains to be related after greater than a decade, even among the many most informal fans, is one hell of an accomplishment. And you already know what? It’s simple to see why. Any knocks you’ve gotten towards the automobile, whether or not it’s as a result of the GT-R is historical, or it’s a “laptop on wheels” — everybody’s favorite insult, by the way in which — evaporate faster than water on concrete throughout a summer time warmth wave. When you slip behind the wheel and faucet the beginning button, the very first thing you’ll discover is how communicative the automobile is; you possibly can really hear bits of the powertrain work and have interaction, like when the transmission hops from park to drive, or when the cooling system kicks in. In a bizarre manner, there’s an odd sense of character to one thing that’s imagined to be a “laptop on wheels.”
As a each day driver, the large Nissan is surprisingly docile. With the suspension in its softest setting, it soaks up bumps and tough pavement moderately properly, however you’ll really feel greater imperfections like enlargement joints and potholes. Steering is on the heavy facet, however not like so many different programs, it doesn’t really feel synthetic and there’s a superb quantity of suggestions; parallel parking or squeezing by tight garages is hardly a cake stroll, however it isn’t as unwieldy as, say, the Challenger Hellcat. You’d assume with 565 horsepower on faucet, you’d be overwrought with temptation to always mash the throttle for full-speed freeway runs, however even there, the GT-R eats up lengthy distances properly — though the super-sticky Dunlop efficiency tires let in a substantial quantity of highway noise. Oddly sufficient, the GT-R is a bit too relaxed in its default drive mode; it takes a second or two to downshift and scoot you ahead — and even then, it doesn’t accomplish that with the forces you’d anticipate.
However arrange the GT-R the correct manner, and hoo boy, does that ever change. You’ll be sorry you underestimated it. Flick the shifter into handbook mode, downshift two, perhaps three gears utilizing the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, nail the throttle, and also you’re primarily transported into one other dimension as induction noises from the twin-turbochargers tickle your ears. The place vehicles just like the Hellcat and Jaguar F-Kind SVR make their mark with noise and drama, the GT-R does so with the type of acceleration that rearranges your inner organs. You assume you’ve gotten sufficient time to click on into the following gear, however you’re a mere mortal. Your mind completely can’t sustain. By the point you attain for the rightmost paddle, the six-speed dual-clutch transmission already become the following gear, and the automobile retains taking pictures forward. Grip is phenomenal; take a nook with any semblance of velocity, and the GT-R hunkers down and grips tarmac as if the tires are coated in superglue.
At that time, you’re not even near touching the GT-R’s limits. It’s insane.
Over time, Nissan has jazzed up the GT-R’s cabin fairly successfully. The 2017 refresh added vastly improved inside supplies, and that carries over for 2020. The 2-tone bluish-grey inside could be very fetching, and the fit-and-finish feels strong in most areas. The driving place is totally spot-on; the gauge cluster really strikes with the steering column whenever you regulate it, making certain a transparent view always. There’s a superb mixture of bodily switchgear, and the uncovered carbon fibre on the centre console is tasteful. Sadly, infotainment hasn’t actually saved up — it’s simple sufficient to make use of, however the show is pretty low-resolution and appears washed-out whenever you’re on Apple CarPlay. That stated, the infotainment additionally offers you entry to a group of readouts and gauges that monitor points like engine coolant and oil temperature, the drivetrain’s torque break up, transmission oil temperature and strain, and even g-forces. Nerdy, however neat.
As of late, the GT-R definitely isn’t low cost. Keep in mind when it was priced round $80,000 again in 2008? Properly, right this moment, the bottom GT-R Premium begins at just below $130,000, whereas the 50th Anniversary equipment brings the as-tested whole to about $139,000 — a far cry from the $80,000 price ticket when it first launched in 2008. Go for the Observe Version, and also you’re taking a look at $166,998.
Sure, the GT-R is a pc on wheels. Sure, there isn’t a lot new to say concerning the GT-R as a result of it’s been round eternally. Sure, there are cooler and sexier vehicles on the market. However few can maintain a candle to the GT-R’s capabilities. Actually, it performs a recreation of hen with you, and also you’ll most definitely lose since you’ll let off the gasoline your self earlier than it even considers working out of breath — and all this, from a automobile that’s been in the marketplace for 12 years. Who cares if there isn’t a lot new to say concerning the GT-R? You’ll be speechless, too, every time you nail the throttle and discover your abdomen in your chest. Godzilla doesn’t want phrases.
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