Full 2010 Nissan GT-R Review
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Nissan GT-R's launch control system has been reprogrammed to reduce transaxle stress. There are also a few extra additional horsepower, a slightly retuned suspension, updated wheel finishes and standard front seat and side curtain airbags.
The 2010 Nissan GT-R marks the second year of production for Nissan's iconic supercar. The GT-R -- that's its real name, there's no Skyline -- had quite a first year on the market, to put it mildly. Between setting racetrack records and ripping off countless sub-4-second dashes to 60 mph, it ran into a reliability issue. One of the secrets to the 2009 GT-R's eye-popping numbers was its launch control system, but it put undue stress on the car's rear-mounted transaxle. Alarmed by the bad press that resulted, Nissan quickly came out with a reprogrammed launch control system designed to limit transaxle stress, a system that can be retrofitted to '09 models and comes standard on every 2010 GT-R.
Rather impressively, the reprogramming works quite well, and in fact we found that the GT-R is actually quicker with it. The 2010 Nissan GT-R also receives standard side and side curtain airbags and a few other minor tweaks, and its price has increased by a few thousand dollars. Overall, though, it's still the same supercar bargain that we couldn't stop raving about when it debuted. Mechanical highlights include a 485-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6, Nissan's proprietary ATTESA ET-S all-wheel-drive system, a trick suspension with adjustable dampers and a dual-clutch six-speed automated manual transmission that ranks right up there with the best in the business.
Any criticisms are likely to seem petty given the GT-R's incredible performance-to-price ratio, but we do have a few. First off, the car is on the portly side, tipping the scales at 3,800-plus pounds, and you'll feel that mass in tight corners, where the GT-R is amazingly capable but not exactly tossable. Second, unlike most rivals, it lacks a conventional manual transmission option, which we think is a misstep in this segment. The GT-R's automated manual transmission makes its face-flattening acceleration accessible to everyone, but many enthusiasts still prefer the mechanical connection that only a shifter and clutch pedal can provide.
Some people might also find the GT-R's ride quality to be rather harsh, even when the suspension is placed in the ironically named "Comfort" mode. Despite the car's sizable cabin and trunk space, this ride quality issue can make road trips in the GT-R less appealing. Finally, there's the pricey cost of maintenance. While expensive trips to the dealer aren't surprising for an exotic sports car -- even one this relatively inexpensive -- they are something to be aware of.
At the end of the day, though, the 2010 Nissan GT-R is still in a class of its own. It may not appeal to purists due to its bulk and automated transmission, but if accessible performance is what you're after, the GT-R gives you more of it for less money than anything else. The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the only other sports car that offers comparable bang for the buck, but only the most skilled Z06 driver will be able to keep up with a GT-R -- plus the Chevy can't seat four. All said, the 2010 GT-R easily retains its title as the most accessible exotic sports car on the planet.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Nissan GT-R is a high-performance sports car available only in coupe form with a 2+2 seating layout. Two trim levels are offered: base and Premium. The base model comes standard with 20-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, Brembo brakes, an electronically adjustable suspension, leather/faux suede upholstery, power front seats, Bluetooth, keyless ignition/entry, automatic climate control and a six-speaker CD/MP3 sound system with satellite radio. Also standard is a multifunction driver-configurable information monitor and a navigation system with a 30-gigabyte hard drive, 9.4 gigabytes of which can be used for audio storage. The Premium model adds higher-performance tires, heated fronts seats and an 11-speaker Bose audio system with two subwoofers.
Options are limited to a no-cost Cold Weather package, which includes Dunlop all-season tires and a unique coolant-to-water ratio, and an extra-cost "Super Silver" paint job. An iPod connection is a dealer-installed option.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Nissan GT-R is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that generates 485 hp and 434 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission routes this power to the ground via an advanced all-wheel-drive system. In testing, we've timed the GT-R (with the transmission reprogramming) from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. The quarter-mile flashes by in 11.6 seconds at 118.9 mph. Fuel economy, should you care, checks in at an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.
Standard safety features on the 2010 Nissan GT-R include massive antilock Brembo brakes, stability control and traction control. Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on all GT-R models for 2010. In brake testing, we've recorded a best 60-0 mph stopping distance of 98 feet, a very short distance indeed.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2010 Nissan GT-R's interior is a somber but appropriately driver-centric environment in which to make haste. Snug sport bucket seats and a high center console envelop the driver and front passenger, and the rear seats, though dinky, are good enough for kids on short trips. Ingress and egress are a piece of cake by exotic-car standards -- for the front passengers, at least. Interior quality is quite high, with abundant soft-touch materials and an overall sense of quality construction.
The GT-R also features a trick multifunction performance monitor that offers 11 different informational displays. The monitor was developed in consultation with Polyphony Digital, which created the "Gran Turismo" video game franchise. Some think it's neat; others think it's cheesy and rarely look at it. The trunk is surprisingly large considering the type of car; it measures 8.8 cubic feet.
The GT-R employs a V6 in place of the iconic inline-6 from the old Skyline GT-Rs, the new car's spiritual ancestors. Fortunately, the twin-turbo V6 displays none of the coarseness that afflicts other Nissan V6s at higher rpm; indeed, there's generally more turbo whistle than engine roar, to the point that a number of our editors have likened driving the GT-R to flying in a small jet. Acceleration is otherworldly, yet the GT-R remains unruffled no matter what the speedometer says. On the street, the transmission's automatic mode is fairly refined, but the GT-R's ride is never less than stiff, and road noise is intrusive.
On winding roads, though, the 2010 Nissan GT-R comes into its own, benefiting from one of the most communicative and responsive steering setups we've experienced in an all-wheel-drive car. Body control is also superb thanks to the adjustable suspension dampers, though the GT-R's bulk keeps it from approaching the unencumbered feel of a Porsche 911.
Read our Nissan GT-R Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test