Launch Control? Never Tried It, Never Will - 2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan GT-R: Launch Control? Never Tried It, Never Will

August 24, 2009

GT-R Switches.JPG

I had the long-term Nissan GT-R this past weekend, and two things occurred to me. First, the car will be going away soon, as it's been in our fleet for over a year and it's got over 20,000 miles on the odo (27,609 to be exact). Second, I've never tried the famous (infamous?) GT-R Launch Control that is supposed to feel like the proverbial (and chronically over-used) "carrier catapult" metaphor.

Of course there's a sizable grid of deserted roads within 10 minutes of my house. Seems like the perfect time to address these epiphanies, right?

In theory, "yes." In reality, "not unless I want to risk making a painful phone call."

See, the Nissan GT-R has a pretty sordid history in the long-term fleet. You can read one example of it here, or scan all the past posts here. But the bottom line is this: the car has spent weeks out of service and, unless the issue is covered under warranty, it costs A LOT to fix or replace GT-R parts when they need attention. Furthermore, Nissan is canceling launch control for the 2010 GT-R due to the warranty nightmares it's caused the company. That says plenty as to how well the car can handle such treatment.

When I consider these other epiphanies, I find myself unable to push those three buttons into the "red zone" and simultaneously wood the brake and throttle of this all-wheel-drive supercar. I'm sure the resulting acceleration is impressive, but calling Mr. Schmidt to tell him, "I just used Launch Control and now there's a weird sound coming from underneath the car and 14 lights lit up on the dash" isn't worth it. Our remaining time with the GT-R could suddenly get much longer, though none of it would involve having the car around to drive.

On one hand it's a bummer, as I'd like to experience the technology at work. On the other hand, it's not the only car capable of zero-to-60 in the mid 3-second range. And my other option doesn't cause nearly as much internal consternation.

Karl Brauer, Editor in Chief @ 27,609 miles

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