2021 Nissan GT-R Review
The Nissan GT-R has been one of the fastest performance cars in the world for more than a decade. However, it's also been pretty much the same that whole time; it debuted for the 2009 model year and hasn't received a full redesign since. Nissan has done its best to make updates at least. The only notable differences for 2021 is the elimination of the Track edition model and the return of the iconic Bayside Blue paint color made famous on the R34-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R from the late 1990s (a car that unfortunately was never sold new in America).
As fast and as powerful as the GT-R still is, it doesn't feel quite as outlandish as it used to. Rivals such as the Audi R8, Mercedes-AMG GT and Porsche offer similar levels of performance but with a wider array of features and a more refined driving experience. Then again, the GT-R's age could be seen as a charming rebuke to ever-advancing technology in cars. Read our Expert Rating below to get our full take on the 2021 GT-R.
Even though it's more expensive now than it once was, the Nissan GT-R remains a bargain in the supercar category. Real-world performance is exceptional, though it doesn't feel as sporty on a track.
How does the GT-R drive?
The GT-R still delivers astounding acceleration, while the all-wheel-drive system allows novices to pilot this sports car with surprising ease. The throttle tip-in is lazy. It makes acceleration easy to manage at all speeds, but the engine should be more responsive when you push the pedal. The transmission is slow to respond to inputs unless you're shifting manually.
Launch control acceleration is explosive — a 0-60 mph time of 3.1 seconds makes the GT-R one of the quickest cars we've ever tested. Stopping from 60 mph takes 109 feet, which is decent but a few feet longer than the competition.
How comfortable is the GT-R?
The adaptive suspension works well to eliminate bumpiness from poorly paved roads. The ride is firm yet acceptable with the dampers in their normal setting. Switch to Comfort and the ride is no rougher than in a sporty Audi. The seats lack adjustment, and their aggressive lumbar support might be a deal-breaker.
The GT-R's powertrain noise might appeal to those who want to be reminded they are driving a machine, but it comes off as unrefined. The climate system is a bit finicky too. Our test car blew cold air at high fan speeds when set at 78 on a 70-degree day. Manual control is best here.
How’s the interior?
Improvements throughout its life span have kept the GT-R's cabin looking fresh. It's easy to get in and out of, and the view out isn't as bunker-like as it is in other sports cars. Most of the controls are easy to use, but the active exhaust and driving aid buttons are well hidden near your knees.
The cabin is fairly roomy as sports cars go. It definitely doesn't feel claustrophobic, and two people can fit without bumping shoulders. Anybody 6 feet tall or shorter will fit fine. Taller folks might have to scrunch down to avoid brushing against the headliner. There's not much room in the back for people, but you can at least toss some gear back there.
How’s the tech?
While enhancements have been made to other areas over the last decade, the infotainment system is quite dated. Navigation is inaccurate, and the voice control system is clumsy. There's Apple CarPlay but no Android Auto smartphone integration.
Front and rear parking sensors are standard, as is a rearview camera. That's it. There are no other driving aids or assistance systems to help with the mundanities of day-to-day traffic. Though sight lines out of the rear are pretty good, a blind-spot monitor would be a welcome addition.
How’s the storage?
Though the trunk is relatively large, the tall liftover height makes loading and unloading items awkward. You have to drop gear into the cargo hold, and removing heavy items is difficult. The button to open it is at your lower shin, so it's best to use the key fob. Interior storage is limited, but you can use the rear seats as extra shelf space.
How’s the fuel economy?
The GT-R is rated at 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway), which is in line with other supercars and slightly more efficient than V8-powered rivals. It delivered 20.1 mpg on our highway-heavy evaluation route, so it's fair to assume you will be able to match the EPA numbers if you drive with restraint.
Is the GT-R a good value?
Prices have crept up over the last decade. You still get a lot for the money, and the cabin doesn't look as low-rent as before. A center stack redesign from a few years back helps keep the GT-R's interior look current. There are fewer exotic materials than in rivals, and powertrain noises constantly sound like something is breaking. Some warranty coverage isn't as robust as what rivals offer.
We like the GT-R's budget supercar vibe. It delivers exceptional handling on mountain roads, and acceleration is rapid at full throttle. While the first models of this generation were chided as being too digital, the GT-R's responses and feedback seem analog in this day and age. Its understated, almost bulky design doesn't have the visual impact of an exotic sports car, but there's enough going on that passersby will recognize the GT-R as something special.
Which GT-R does Edmunds recommend?
The Nismo version is the ultimate GT-R, but Nissan's asking price for what you get seems too steep to us. We say stick with the GT-R Premium. It's plenty fast and comes well loaded from the factory with features including LED lighting, full leather upholstery and, of course, a monster twin-turbocharged V6 engine.
Nissan GT-R models
The 2021 Nissan GT-R is now available in just two trim levels: Premium and Nismo. Both are powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine making 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque in the Premium and 600 horsepower and 481 lb-ft of torque in the Nismo model. That engine is paired to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. Both models come fairly well equipped, and the only major differences are a number of performance upgrades on the Nismo model.