Plenty of 'R', Not Much 'GT' - 2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test

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

May 26, 2009

Nissan GTR r34.jpg

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?"

Nissan GTR f34.jpg

Here are a few of my random thoughts on the nearly 500-hp supercar:

-- Pulling away smoothly is sometimes herky-jerky (especially when the car is cold) no matter how carefully you modulate the throttle

-- The tranny has no "creep", so parallel parking requires you to feather the gas ever so gently, so as to minimize the quirk noted above. A park assist feature would be nice too.

-- The tranny is awesome, however, when you're hard on the gas, clicking off smooth shifts so quickly the fierce acceleration doesn't let up at all between gears. And there's no lag when you're flicking the paddles either.

-- This car slingshots to crazy velocity like it has an afterburner strapped to the roof.

-- Even with the adjustable suspension in "Comf(ort)" mode, the ride is just too stiff. On a road trip, I'd rather not feel the amplitude and contour of every bump in the road. I actually prefer firm suspension setups, but if you're gonna have an adjustable suspension, have some meaningful difference between Normal and Comfort settings.

-- Pronounced road noise on coarse asphalt and concrete freeways.

-- Awesome seats. Perfect blend of firm support and hours-in-the-saddle comfort. Plenty of proper lumbar support despite the absence of an adjustable feature.

-- Incredible handling capability, nothing that weighs two tons has any business changing directions so nimbly.

-- I averaged 16.5 mpg in mostly freeway driving, with some twisty two-laners and traffic thrown in for good measure.

-- At first intimidating due to its power and bulk, the GT-R proved easy to handle, and is one of those performance cars that "shrinks" around you as you explore its considerable talents.

In short, the GT-R provides plenty of emphasis on Race, not so much on Grand Touring.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor at 21,289 miles.

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