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2009 Nissan GT-R: But is it a Daily Driver?

November 11, 2009

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I've been driving our 2009 Nissan GT-R every day for the last three week as we sell it on eBay Motors and Mota.com. It's not my top pick for a daily driver but it is surprisingly practical and comfortable once you put the suspension in comfort mode.

I've even seen the fuel efficiency rise slightly to 19.5 mpg on the last tank from a lifetime average of 17.4 mpg (although I know it's kind of crazy to even talk about fuel economy in a car like this). But the fact of the matter is that, unless you are rich enough to save the GT-R for weekend jaunts, you will wind up driving this car around town and to work. And it definitely fills the bill there too. Just don't ask anyone to sit in the "back seat."

I have to agree with what they say in this hilarious Youtube video, "It was supposed to be the car of the century! You could own the track but you could still take it to go shopping."

Meanwhile, at this writing, the bidding on eBay is up to $50,100 with 5 days to go. The reserve hasn't been met but it's getting close. I'm happy to say we are now above the price that Carmax offered us for the GT-R.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: How's it Ride?

November 06, 2009

gt-r ride blog.jpgEver want to know what it's like to ride in a GT-R on the highway?

Well, yeah, that pretty much sums it up.


Driving north on highway 5, I saw this truck hauling a black GT-R and though the picture would be cool. With the shutter of my point-and-shoot set at 1/100 and with a wide focal length it should've been pretty sharp, afterall, it was a fairly bright morning. Well, it's not...and yes, I was in COMF.

*Kurt Niebuhr just saw the picture and added this: Yeah, it kinda does ride like that. Like it's being hung off the back of a truck."

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Hold On

September 16, 2009

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There is a particularly undulating stretch of the 405 freeway that I tackle every night on my way home.

In most cars, I barely notice the bumps. But when driving the Nissan GT-R, you really need to be in control of the steering wheel. The GT-R takes every road imperfection as a call to action. Not only do you feel it in your bum, but keeping the car within the confines of the lane lines is an adventure. You have to be alert and in command. And don't let go of that steering wheel.

Here is a video of Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson testing the Nissan GT-R in Japan.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Tush Push

August 27, 2009

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What can you say about the most blogged-about car in the history of the Long Term Blog that hasn't already been said in the previous 166 posts?

Pretty much nuthin.

So I'll just second Al's complaint about the seat cushion's quirk that affects those of us with bony butts.

I will admit that my butt is bony, and the entire time I'm in the driver seat of the GT-R, I squirm and fret over that strange sand bar of seat bolstering jutting out behind me. It's not huge, and I keep thinking that if I can wiggle around just right, it'll stop goosing me. But no dice.

I'd love to hear from other GT-R drivers on this topic. Does the part of the seat bolstering that juts out a bit bug you, too?

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Cool at 120

August 05, 2009

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We all know the GT-R has motor. And grip. And crazy maintenance issues. But did you know that it's got some serious air conditioning? American truck strong. GM strong. (If you're not aware, GM is widely recognized as having some seriously strong air conditioning. There have been fights after hot track days re who gets to leave in the GM.)

I was out in the desert cruising around (more on that later) for a good five hours in temps raging from a breezy 105 to this max reading of 120. The A/C blew cold and strong, and the temp gauge stayed static. Frankly, I was expecting more, or any, drama.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Good Feel

July 13, 2009

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Our 2009 Nissan GT-R has my all-time favorite steering wheel.

Everything about it fits my hands perfectly. I love the way the perforated leather feels at the grips, the paddles are well within reach of my girl fingers, and the audio controls are convenient. And, of course, it helps me pilot the beast.

I think this car was made for me.

What do you like in a steering wheel?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 24,850 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: I Never Noticed This Before

July 09, 2009

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Last night, I took off in the GT-R and realized my seat was getting kinda toasty. I didn't remember the GT-R having seat heaters. I looked around the center console for controls but couldn't find any. So, I figured they must be on the seat itself somewhere. Trouble was, I was driving on the freeway by now and couldn't really go on a button hunt. Even feeling around the seat controls, I couldn't find a heater switch.

I'm a hot seat lover, so I can't believe I never noticed that the GT-R has seat heaters. I guess I'm thinking about more important things when I'm driving Godzilla, like the acceleration screen. I love to see the curves on the acceleration screen.

When I finally got to a stop, I found them on the left of the seat in plain site. It's not exactly like they are hidden. Problem solved.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Going Where No One Has Gone Before

June 05, 2009

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I did it. I think I'm the first adult to have gone for a ride in the backseat of our 2009 Nissan GT-R. Editor Dan's kids, Scott O.'s kids and, I think, Karl's kids have sat back there and all editors have said that adults don't fit. But I've lived to tell about it; and yes, they do. OK, it probably helped that I'm short, 5'5".

But, it actually wasn't that bad. And I was sitting behind someone who's 5'9". But they had enough room for their legs and my knees weren't pressed against the back of their seat. Sure, when I leaned back my head was touching glass and I could look up and see the sky but it wasn't cramped back there. Definitely cozy. And I can fit my hand through the holes in the seat and poke the person sitting in front of me.

Not saying that I'd agree to a long road trip (I'd get car sick from the harsh ride), or even a ride cross town back there, but I wouldn't complain during a quick trip to the store.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Great seats with a small quirk

June 03, 2009

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Our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R has excellent front seats. They are both comfortable and supportive, with luxurious suede-like surfaces and leather trim. You can see in this shot the excellent 8-way power seat adjuster knob that Erin inexplicably left out of her previous blog pic.

Just above that seat adjuster knob is the seat heater switch, a strange location and difficult to find unless you remembered it or something.

The small quirk about the seat is that both sides of the bottom side bolsters connect through the base of the seat (seen in below photo). This extra material can be felt right at your tailbone if you have a bony butt.

It's only slightly uncomfortable, but I've never seen another vehicle with this type of bottom cushion seat styling.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 21,600 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Love the Driving Position

June 02, 2009

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It was almost a year ago that I picked our 2009 Nissan GT-R up in Nashville and drove it 3,000 miles across the U.S. Yet, I still get excited every time I get in this car -- as if I'm going to drive it again for the very first time.

And, you know, I think it's seating postion in the cockpit. This has to be one of the best resolved driving positions in any current-day sports car.

It takes a minute to get set up -- with a single rotary-looking knob that actually functions more like a joystick as the main seat adjustor. And then there's a separate toggle button for the height adjustment of the front half of the seat-bottom cushion. The steering wheel has separate manual levers for both telescope and tilt (the latter moves the whole gauge pack up and down).

Once all that's done, though, it feels wonderful to sit in the GT-R. The steering wheel sits and fits in your hands just so, and the seat has you all set up to be looking ahead and making quick decisions about where Godzilla is going next. And all the controls are a finger's stretch away. And, when you're stopped in traffic, that special GT-R badge is right there in front of your face.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Plenty of 'R', Not Much 'GT'

May 26, 2009

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I snagged the GT-R for the long weekend -- score! Figuring that Saturday and Monday would be bad days for L.A.'s already notorious traffic, I limited those days to running errands and running down to Long Beach to play tennis, respectively. The real quality time would be spent Sunday, taking a day trip with my girlfriend to Santa Barbara, with stops at Calabasas (for Supercar Sunday) and Camarillo (for the outlets). I got my car fix at the former (saw everything from Jay Leno's 192? Bugatti racecar to a mint '67 Shelby GT 500) and some new Nike kicks for my gf at the latter.

Right about now you're thinking "Yeah, yeah, that's all very nice...what about the GT-R?"

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2009 Nissan GT-R: My Dream Road Trip Car

March 13, 2009

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I was soo lucky to land the 2009 Nissan GT-R as our road trip car to Vegas. I usually HATE driving to Vegas, such a boring trip. But the GT-R's seats are comfortable enough for both the driver and passenger to withstand 283 miles and our car has all the amenities to make that long, boring slog to Sin City bearable. We had satellite radio so we wouldn't have to keep switching stations, seat heaters!, 480 horsepower for short bursts of speed to enliven things and the entertainment of watching fellow motorists drool at the car.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Godzilla vs. PDK

January 30, 2009

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As the economy continues to sputter, we here at the Long-Term Blog are turning our attention to burning questions that are in tune with these troubled times. Such as the following:

Which is better, the GT-R's dual-clutch automated manual transmission or Porsche's new PDK?

I'd like to leave aside the question of durability, since we've just reported that less than one percent of GT-Rs have experienced the infamous transaxle failure. But Nissan's eliminating launch control from future GT-Rs, so there must be something to it. As for PDK, it can weather 40 consecutive launches without issue, according to Porsche, and nothing in our experience suggests otherwise. Advantage: PDK.

The margin only widens at speed, where PDK proves utterly seamless in full automatic mode and serves up lightning-quick yet remarkably smooth manual shifts in "Sport." The GT-R's transmission is very good, but there's some perceptible thunking through the gears, and its downshifts aren't as quick as PDK's.

So there's your answer: Godzilla's good, but PDK's better. It's still no manual substitute, though, and never will be.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Vroom for Four

January 26, 2009

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We wouldn't normally associate a 2009 Nissan GT-R with Sunday brunch with Grandma and Grandpa, but that's precisely where we were going this weekend. So the four of us piled in.

Truth be told, there wasn't enough space for me to frame a proper picture of the resulting rear seat legroom. After all, this is a real car, not a cutaway used for catalog shots. Besides, the girls weren't in a posing mood. Shelby, our taller 12-year old, fit much better than 10-year old Sarah because her legs are long enough to allow her feet to hit the floor and her toes to slip under the front seat. And she wasn't stuck sitting behind me, either.

But a couple of interesting/weird points are nevertheless visible in this photo.

1) The rear seat belts go the "wrong" way. They pull from the inside to the outside. Not being out in the open makes the buckles hard to get at, especially for "big" people. But big people don't fit back here anyway, so it doesn't matter much. Still, it's an odd choice.

2) Those seats don't fold and there isn't any sort of pass-through, but the Bose subs are backed-up by an unseen vent that turns the whole trunk into a resonator. Couldn't really try it on Sunday morning, though. I didn't want to boost the bass of the Car Talk guys any more than necessary.

"Hello, you're on Car Talk."

"Hi Tom and Ray. I'm Dan from California. I need your help. My transmission is making a funny noise."

"So's my brother. What kinda car is it?"

"It's a 2009 Nissan GT-R. It all started after I used launch control to dust-off this guy in a Porsche..."

OK, I made that last part up; My call never got through and the GT-R's transmission noises are no more humorous than usual.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,198 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: A Suspension Tune from Greatness

December 30, 2008

2009 Nissan GT-R

A week in the GT-R is like hanging out with Superman. Wherever you stop, people notice, and if stationary long enough, begin to congregate. Matronly types with no interest at all in automobiles put their hand near their mouth (as if the GT-R might overhear) and comment in unconsciously sultry tones on how fast the car looks. Small groups mingle on sidewalks to watch you pull away, witness to the jet-like roar as the car spools its turbos. All the while, you're ensconced in a bunker-like cocoon with fantastic seats. Beyond the ill-deserved attention, my wife specifically asked me not to bring this car home again. Why?

It was certainly not for the GT-R's chiseled good looks. This is a fairly massive coupe, but it deftly hides that bulk in a square-jawed way that grabs you as you approach the car. Favreau should have put Iron Man in this rather than the R8. In white, especially when approached from the front, its gaping maw does make it look like a whale shark has trolled onto your driveway. But in the darker shades, this is one menacing machine. Though I never got the chance to snap a photo of the two together over the holiday, a neighbor down the end of my block has a black GT-R (welcome to L.A.), and trust me, it's all ate up with menacing.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: The Holidays With Godzilla

November 28, 2008

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It only takes a few stints behind the wheel of the GT-R to figure out the best settings for its driver-configurable transmission, suspension and stability control systems. It looks pretty much like this: transmission switch in "R" mode, suspension switch in "Comf"and the VDC switch left in the middle. The result is slightly quicker reactions from the transmission (which is otherwise quite lazy for a sportscar) and a fractionally more comfortable ride. Oh, and it also means that the soon-to-be-defunct launch control setup is only two buttons away instead of three. Not that we would ever take such a risk.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 12,914 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Not for Crybabies

November 28, 2008

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Every time the 2009 Nissan GT-R's dual-clutch automated manual transmission rattles and clicks while cruising around town, it reminds me of the sounds made by a racing-type, non-synchromesh dog-ring gearbox. And when someone whines about this intrusion by the mechanical workings of the car, I'm happy. It means there's one less crybaby fascinated by the GT-R - and one more person who will find his way to the Lexus SC 430 that he deserves.

There's no sense complaining about the GT-R's ride quality. Or its shift action. Or the noise that the transmission makes. Or the way the rear wing looks on the rear deck. Or the way fuel will puke out of the gas tank when the rear differential has been heated up by hard use. Or even the fact that you're on your own when it comes to warranty coverage when you engage launch control for a fast getaway.

The Nissan GT-R is a fast car. It doesn't make excuses for being a fast car. It doesn't try to pretend it's a limousine or a minivan, a crossover or a commuter. It's exactly the automobile we've been asking for, a hard-bitten performance car.

It is not for crybabies.

If you're not up for the compromises in your comfort and welfare while driving this automobile, then you should be driving something else. It's a mystery to me that the GT-R should get so much stick for its eccentricities. It is as if the car is being forced to pay a psychological price for its affordable market price. Because it costs less than a Porsche 911 GT2, there are those who expect it to be as user-friendly as a Subaru WRX.

For me, the Nissan GT-R is a pure track car that through some sneaky legislative loophole is allowed to carry a license plate. It is a sports car, a civilian version of the Nissan-sponsored GT-R that just won the championship in Japan's Super GT racing series (pictured above). The GT-R is a racing car for the street, not a 480-hp Lexus. Its eccentricities are part of the price you pay.

The only way the 2009 Nissan GT-R could be better would be if it, you know, occasionally caught on fire.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, @ 13,500 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: No Automatic headlights?

October 29, 2008

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Seriously Nissan? 80-grand. Automatic transmission, keyless entry, iPod integration, NAV with real-time traffic, but no automatic headlights? It seems trivial, but I had them in my '95 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe and they should be present here, too.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Jetting off to Vegas

October 06, 2008

Nissan GT-R at the Luxor -- Photo by James Riswick

The first time I really laid into the GT-R was merging onto the highway Saturday morning. The absolutely effortless acceleration and jet-like engine aria were astonishing -- I giggled for a good 30 seconds. Sadlier was dead on when he described it as like driving a plane. Actually, the last time I felt such a sensation was on a small private jet.

So when I drew the GT-R for the weekend, I immediately changed my plans and jetted out for 24 hours in Las Vegas.

Given the fact I live farther away than Jacquot does, I knew I couldn't touch his absurd time from the week before, but on a Saturday morning I figured I could at least set a new record for myself. Averaging around -- mph and keeping pace with other cars, I got from Santa Monica to the Luxor in 3.5 hours. And what a few hours it was. Once you clear the god-awful Los Angeles freeway surfaces, the GT-R's Comf suspension setting becomes less ironic and I could actually enjoy the ride. The seats I initially lamented for pinching a little too much and not offering adjustable bolsters like in the G37, actually became wonderfully comfortable as the drive went on. My girlfriend (who is basically half my size) concurred that the seats were excellent.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Night rider

October 01, 2008

Nissan GT-R at night

Shook hands with Godzilla last night, and had a brief, but enjoyable visit. This thing's good. I only experienced two freeway on-ramps to get just a hint of the handling, but it sticks like glue through the turns. If you probed the limits on a public road, you may find yourself on your head. The steering is good, but not great. But the acceleration at speed is amazing, the fastest I've ever experienced. If you mash the throttle on the freeway, there may not be a downshift but there's no drama; you're just gone. And you find yourself quickly going crazy fast. As Dan said, the speedo's useless, but there is a nice digital speed display so you can confirm the traffic citation.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: I Want Comf You Stupid Car

September 04, 2008

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There's an infomercial I've watched a few thousand times for some counter top oven thingie. The guy says the contraption is so easy to use, you just "set it and forget it".

I wish our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R followed this philosophy. Every time I climb in the car I have to put the suspension in Comf (there are three settings) and the transmission in R (Race, it also has three settings). I usually leave its stability control system in its default setting, which does not display a light (it also has three settings).

This sucks. If I owned the GT-R I would want the car to remember how I like it to be set up. I would want to set it and forget it. But as it is, I have to go through the same ritual each and every time I jump in the car. Running errands on a Saturday, I can futz with those toggle switches a dozen times in just an hour or two.

It's quite annoying. I just ran up to the cash machine you stupid car, can't you remember I want Comf?

Scott Oldham, Edmunds Editor in Chief

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Four New Facts About Godzilla

August 26, 2008

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Each and every time you start the GT-R it checks its own oil.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Sounds Like A Plane, And Other Observations

August 15, 2008

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First, a shameless plug. Over on our up-and-coming Strategies Blog, colloquially known as "The Edmunds Blog," a rather provocative Weekly Top 3 list has been posted that involves the GT-R. Topic? The best all-around sports car for $70,000. Go check it out, and tell us what you think. (I totally vouch for the Weekly Top 3 guy, by the way. Cool dude.)

And now, a few GT-R thoughts, based on one canyon run and one lunchtime cruise around LA.

(1) It sounds like a plane. You know when you're rolling slowly toward the runway, and you hear that soft whistling noise from the jet engines? That's what the GT-R sounds like when you're trundling along in traffic. And you know how the whistle turns into a half-growl/half-shriek when the plane accelerates down the runway? That's what the GT-R sounds like when you floor it. Some have complained that this car doesn't have enough character in its exhaust note, but I say, who cares? The thing sounds like an airplane. That's just cool.

(2) In automatic mode, the transmission just can't wait to get you into 6th gear. Under light acceleration, you'll be in 6th by like 30 mph. I did an experiment in our parking garage over a span of about 100 feet -- I went 0-18 mph, and I was in 4th gear by the end. Which is fine (fuel economy, emissions, what-have-you), but quite remarkable.

(3) Three six-footers and one five-foot-two-incher can drive around town in reasonable comfort for an hour, including a few full-throttle blasts and some corner-hugging turns. Trust me; I was there. The (lovely and talented) smallest passenger was admittedly sitting behind me, so that I wouldn't have the steering wheel in my lap, but the two other six-footers sat one behind the other on the passenger side, and they weren't complaining. This may have been partially because they were getting a ride in the GT-R, but nonetheless -- try that in any other sub-4-second 0-60 car.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 4,419 miles

P.S. A special shout-out goes to six-footer Ola for literally stopping traffic in downtown Santa Monica in order to make this picture possible.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 5: Cortez to Moab to Home

August 09, 2008

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I have a problem with underestimating driving distances, and that's why our 2009 Nissan GT-R and I are facing the prospect of driving 950 miles in one day. It doesn't matter. We're still going to take Highway 145 north toward Telluride (elevation: 8,700 feet) and then cross into Utah on CO Hwy 90/UT Hwy 46.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 4: We Both Like Colorado

August 08, 2008

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Our long-term Nissan GT-R and I enter Colorado on Interstate 70, but quickly divert to U.S. 24 and I-25. We're headed to Walsenburg, south of Pueblo. We'll cross the state via the southern east-west highway, U.S. 160, which, judging by my atlas, looks like it has its share of twists, turns and elevation changes. Later, I have second thoughts and wish I'd picked twistier U.S. 50, but with a motel booked in Cortez for the evening, we have to press on.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 3: R35 Survives a Storm

August 07, 2008

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As soon as I cross the Missouri-Kansas state line and enter the toll section of Interstate 70, the 2009 Nissan GT-R and I are driving through a pretty terrific thunderstorm.

There's not much hail, fortunately, so the bodywork takes no welts. The flash flooding is considerable, though, and at times visibility seems like it's not more than a few feet in front of the Nissan's nose. Motorists are pulling to the shoulder. And the GT-R's Bridgestone Potenza RE070Rs, particularly the rears, are hard-pressed to find traction. I reduce speed (a lot) but still find myself countersteering every other minute. I don't know if I'd call these tires great in the wet. But given how much water is on the road, this isn't a fair test.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 2: I Can't Go Straight Home

August 06, 2008

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I'm actually supposed to do this trip in 3 days, but 5 minutes after getting into our 2009 Nissan GT-R, I realize that's not happening. Granted, the GT-R's fast enough that I could probably do it in 2 days. But this is my first east-west drive across the United States -- I want to take every highway in my atlas. It's also the longest amount of time I've ever not had to share a high-end performance car.

I immediately give into nostalgia and point the GT-R toward Memphis, because about 10 years ago, I went to college there. I'd forgotten how nice the roads are here, and the GT-R's ride quality borders on compliant on I-40.

I arbitrarily decide to keep revs below 4,000 for engine break-in, but I later read that Nissan recommends keeping it under 3,500 rpm for the initial 400 miles. And until 1,300 miles, you're not supposed to use full throttle and you're supposed to keep the suspension in "Comf" mode to allow for maximum travel, says the owner's manual. It's OK, though. Even half throttle provides considerable speed, and you can still see triple digits during closed-course driving.

By the time I roll up to the midtown Memphis Holiday Inn Express (friendly staff here, by the way), my luggage is cooked. Outside temperatures have been mild, so it must be the rear transaxle that's causing every carpeted surface in here to heat up. For the rest of the trip, my backpack rides in the passenger footwell.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Nissan 370Z in VA is:

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