It's Stupid-Fast - 2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test
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2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan GT-R: It's Stupid-Fast

August 14, 2008

speedo vs tach 555.jpg

Our 2009 Nissan GT-R is one sick machine. It looks like it might unfold into a giant robot at the first sign of trouble. And it's so fast that you can almost believe those signature round taillights contain afterburners or JATO rockets, or something.

But while driving around in my Clark Kent signature Oakleys, trying hard not to get pulled over while masquerading as CommuterMan (complete with regulation-issue Bluetooth headset), I couldn't help noticing that the 220 mph speedometer, glorious as that may be, is just about useless. In law-abiding citizen mode, the needle never-ever sweeps up out of the mud. Fully two-thirds of it is for show.

Too bad they didn't borrow the trick that Audi uses in Europe, specifically Germany. You know, that place where they have things called "Autobahns" where people can actually drive their cars into the dark depths of their speedometers without a secret identity?

speedometer nonliner Audi euro 555.jpg

Ah, but even here they understand the reality of the needs of day-to-day driving by mere mortals. Notice how the speedo hash marks represent increments of 5 km/h until 90 km/h is reached, after which the increment changes to 10 km/h. Since speedos haven't been cable-driven for several years now, this is technically a no-brainer.

Civilians don't spend very much time in those rarified upper reaches. But even when they do, speed doesn't increase nearly as quickly, so the numerals can be closer together. The lower end of this Audi's scale, where CommuterMan spends much of his time, is more spread out and more easily readable. And the most common speeds are right there at the top, where they are easily seen with a slight downward glance from the road.

Oh, but I forgot. The GT-R has a genuine digital speed readout that saves the day, so they don't have to bother with any of that stuff, right? Stands to reason.

Wrong. CommuterMan rests his case. The GT-R's speed-o-meter is just for show.

On the bright side, at least the tach gets front-and-center placement. And did I mention the GT-R is stupid-fast?

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 4,359...4,360...4,361...62...65...99 miles


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