2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test - Miscellaneous

2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Merry Christmas Mike!

December 18, 2009

Mike Hot Wheels GT-R

There's nothing I like giving more at Christmas than little cars. It just makes me happy. Sadly, my mother and Aunt Dianne don't appreciate them so much ... but folks at work, different story.

This year, I gave Mike Magrath a Hot Wheels Nissan GT-R. Thus far, he's already made an appointment to have it serviced at Santa Monica Nissan. And apparently, opening package voids warranty.

Merry Christmas!

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Parting Shots

December 09, 2009


You've read the tests. You've read the blogs. And by now, you've even read the Long Term Wrap Up. Now, click through and read our Parting Shots and submit your own. You won't have the big Nissan to kick around anymore; give us what you've got.


I'll never forget the first time I booted the GT-R's throttle the day we closed Glendora Mountain Road, with CHP officers working either end to stop traffic. The crush of all-wheel drive acceleration from this surprisingly large car was wholly unexpected. I could never justify owning one myself, and would probably be thoroughly frustrated at it if I did, but the few times I took the GT-R out onto various back roads for a for a quick blast were stunning. I miss it already.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

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2009 Nissan GT-R: A New Owner Takes Possession

November 20, 2009


As I write this, our 2009 Nissan GT-R is somewhere between Los Angeles and the new owner's home near Atlanta, Georgia. After spirited early bidding the eBay auction closed quietly with the GT-R going for $52,600. The winner of the auction, Joao De Barros, an auto dealer who sells exotic cars and construction machinery, wired us the full payment, and then flew to Los Angeles. I picked him up at the airport, we signed papers, and he left the same night to return to Georgia.

I was selling the car by listing it on Mota's VIP service. Our Mota listing (which is also posted on Autotrader, produced a number of calls which were screened before I spoke with them. However, nobody was really stepping forward with any serious offers at our asking price of $66,000. With nearly 31,000 miles on the car, and the warranty expiring at 36,000 miles, I decided it was time to force the issue. I set up a 10 day eBay auction which seemed to get a lot of attention. There were 6,982 page views, 107 watchers and over 50 bids.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: But is it a Daily Driver?

November 11, 2009

gtr at gas pump-1.JPG

I've been driving our 2009 Nissan GT-R every day for the last three week as we sell it on eBay Motors and Mota.com. It's not my top pick for a daily driver but it is surprisingly practical and comfortable once you put the suspension in comfort mode.

I've even seen the fuel efficiency rise slightly to 19.5 mpg on the last tank from a lifetime average of 17.4 mpg (although I know it's kind of crazy to even talk about fuel economy in a car like this). But the fact of the matter is that, unless you are rich enough to save the GT-R for weekend jaunts, you will wind up driving this car around town and to work. And it definitely fills the bill there too. Just don't ask anyone to sit in the "back seat."

I have to agree with what they say in this hilarious Youtube video, "It was supposed to be the car of the century! You could own the track but you could still take it to go shopping."

Meanwhile, at this writing, the bidding on eBay is up to $50,100 with 5 days to go. The reserve hasn't been met but it's getting close. I'm happy to say we are now above the price that Carmax offered us for the GT-R.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Bidding for Our Car on eBay

November 09, 2009

rear left.jpg

I've been writing about selling our 2009 Nissan GT-R and predictably getting responses from readers who say they would never touch our car, even with someone else's 10 foot pole. But recently I got this opinion from one of our readers.

MN_Car_Enthus wrote, "Why don't you just put it no-reserve on EBAY and let er rip? Seeing how it would trade in this economy would be the most interesting aspect to this LT test by far. No offense.

"I'm confident you'll do better than $60k. Everyone seems to think that simply because this is an Edmund's LT Test Car it should trade at a discount to a car with comparable mileage. You never took it for a hard track (in fact your tires corded recently from a lack of "spirited" driving ), it has 100% documented history and has been treated well. I don't get it........................?"

Well, it is listed on eBay and bidding has been encouraging.

After only three days on the market, there have been 28 bids, and the top offer is now $47,000. The reserve price has not yet been met but the bidders are getting close. Anyone who has been following the sales process knows what we were offered by Carmax and that will give you a clue as to the reserve price.

Take a look at our eBay auction and as the savvy shoppers often say, "bid with confidence."

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2009 Nissan GT-R: How do you Price a Supercar?

November 02, 2009

Nissan GTR.jpg

Last week I wrote a post asking you to guess what we were offered by Carmax for the 2009 Nissan GT-R and what my asking price would be. If you're curious, you can check out the ad on Mota or Autotrader.

Some of your guesses were right on the money. We were shocked by how little Carmax offered. In the past they have often exceeded our expectation. But this time we were disappointed.

One of the most difficult tasks in selling a car is to set the right asking price. You need to get it as high as possible but still in the ball park. If you're not close, the phone won't ring. Often we go to Carmax as a way to help us find the sweet spot.

In this case, Carmax offered us $50,000 for the GT-R. Meanwhile, additional research has shown that many GT-Rs on eBay Motors aren't selling or meeting their reserves. Therefore, we've gone for an initial asking price of $66,000 to $60,000. Hopefully, we'll sell it for enough above Carmax's offer to make it worth the effort.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: It Makes a Real Impression, Even in Hollywood

October 27, 2009


Sunday I drove in our 2009 Nissan GT-R to have brunch with a friend I hadn't seen for 10 years. During this time he's become a writer-producer for the hit show "24." Naturally, I wanted to make an impression and show him how well I've done, too.

Turned out, he was out on his front lawn as I came rolling up his street. He rushed over and said, "I thought, 'That can't be Phil coming in that incredible car!'" Then he looked at it and said, "What is it?" I told him it is one of the fastest cars on the road. And it is a Nissan.

Being in show business, he was thinking Ferrari, Porsche, BMW. No, this is as fast as the big boys.

There's nothing Hollywood people like better than hearing about something they didn't know. Maybe Jack Bauer will be driving one soon.

In other news, we are selling the GT-R. So you can begin sending all the "I'd never buy an Edmunds car..." comments. Also, we took it to Carmax just for fun, to see what they would give us for it. Want to guess what their number was? And what about our asking price?

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Highest Mileage GT-R in the Country?

October 19, 2009

Milestone Banner 71730K-miles-odometer.jpg

Our GT-R cranked through 30,000 miles on my commute home last Thursday night and this milestone got me thinking...

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2009 Nissan GT-R: $949 a Month?

October 12, 2009

GT-R-newspaper.jpgThis ad was in my local Sunday paper yesterday. Who would have ever thunk Godzillas would be sitting on dealer lots (notice the 2 at this payment) and the subject of a dealer's Autumn Savings Event and move-the-metal lease deal? Is the GT-R's 15-minutes up?

Scott Oldham, Edmunds Editor in Chief

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Our Favorite Caption

October 02, 2009


Thanks to questionlp for this week's favorite caption.

Here are our other faves:

GT-R, Attraction Control included. (ergsum)
Another seat-of-the-pants review. (ergsum)
Caroline you can come out now (wrinklebump)
GT-R, it's buns of fun! (ergsum)
gt-r trunk: onnomnomnom! (dougtheeng)
The GT-R has push to start feature (stpawyfrmdonut)
Does my butt make this supercar look big? (shaddai)
What?! I'm checking out the trunk. (altimadude00)
Oh here's your Ferrari pride! I found it under this back tire. (oldchap)
Nissan's GT-R elicits cheeky response. (rick8365)
"I CAN'T FIND THE STIG!" (vt8919)
Man, this thing does haul ass. (mnorm1)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: You Write the Caption Again

October 02, 2009


It seems we take pictures of the Nissan GT-R in a lot of interesting situations. It has by far been the most captioned of our long-term fleet.

Here you see our GT-R at a NASCAR race in Fontana.

We suggest: Does this supercar make my butt look big?

What's your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: World's Best Alarm Clock

September 22, 2009


Sunrise in L.A. isn't until 6:40 a.m. now, which makes it extra difficult for me to drag my butt out of bed in the full dark of 5:00 a.m. When the alarm blared angrily this morning, I was tempted to pull the covers over my head and just deal with the 30-mile slog up the 405 freeway during rush hour, instead of getting up and trying to beat traffic.

Then I remembered the Nissan GT-R parked in my driveway.

The GT-R's cabin is a fine place to spend time, but it's a heckuva lot more fun to actually drive it for 45 minutes than to just sit in it for an hour-fifteen.

Thanks GT-R, for giving me a 480-horsepower reason to get out of bed this morning.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 29,467 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: The 5 things I hate about you

September 14, 2009

Skyline GT-R Vegas.jpg

I've written in this forum several times before how much I love our long-term Nissan GT-R.

Today I'll discuss the 5 things I hate about this vehicle.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: What Happens When You Press Start

August 31, 2009

Since uber-fun driving road GMR was closed due to the fires and "closed driving courses" aren't readily available, I didn't really get to do anything cool with our 2009 Nissan GT-R this weekend. Unless you think driving it to Long Beach and Anaheim, getting hit on by slick dudes driving a Dodge Magnum, and 13-year-old girls squealing at it are cool.

But here's a video of the GT-R starting and revving a bit. It sounds kinda blah revving while parked because there's no load on the engine and it has a stationary rev limiter of around 5,000 rpm. It's a shame you can't hear the burble.

But if you were curious, there you go. BTW, sorry for the bad sound quality. There's this loud fan clear on the other side of the garage that I didn't think the camera would pick up.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 28,137 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: If It Were Your Weekend Ride?

August 28, 2009

I always think of this episode of Top Gear when I daydream about how I'd really like to drive our 2009 Nissan GT-R (jump ahead in the video to 5:54 to see the moment the GT-R gives Jeremy Clarkson whiplash).

But it's not as if there's anywhere around here to drive like that legally, and it's not like I really have the skills to drive like that in the first place. In any case, I was lucky enough to score the Nissan GT-R this weekend and am now imagining the possibilities -- something that would make a nice blog post on Monday. Last-minute road trip? Roll up to some douche-y Hollywood clubs? Video another editor driving it on some kick-ass road?

What would you do if you had the GT-R for the weekend?

Caroline Pardilla , Deputy Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Takin' It Out To Pomona

August 28, 2009


Yesterday I drove our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R out to Pomona to the wonderful Wally Parks' NHRA Motorsports Museum, which is under the watchful eye of executive director Tony Thacker and only seems to get better every time I visit. What a great place.

Hmmmmm. So I jumped in the GT-R and took it out to Pomona. Anybody out there like Ronnie and the Daytonas?

Little GT-R, you're really lookin' fine
Twin Turbos and a six-speed and a 7000 rpm redline
Listen to her tachin' up now, listen to that gear why-ee-eye-ine
C'mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GT-R

Wa-wa, (mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GT-R") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa
(mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GT-R")
Wa-wa, (mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GT-R") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa
(mixed with "Yeah, yeah, little GT-R")
Wa-wa (mixed with "Ahhh, little GT-R") wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa

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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, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 27,609 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Our Favorite Caption

August 21, 2009


Thanks to ergsum for this week's favorite caption. That must be his 4th or 5th win. Congratulations.

There were a lot of funny entries this week. It was really difficult to choose.

Here are the honorables:

I'm not just the GT-R, I'm also a client. (ergsum)
Oops! Guess the "Haircut warning light" comes on again (fhwulala)
It's a long road to Topiary (ergsum)
Grown in 60 Seconds (ergsum)
Skip the barber, and head to Skip Barber. (ampim)
Power Plants: Under the hood and on top of the head. (triple7allstar)
Don't worry, we're going to fly a specialist right out to fix your hair. (dougtheeng)
How does your GT-Rden grow? (stpawyfrmdonut)
So this is how you shampoo the rugs in a $82,000 car. (altimadude00)
This ain't no pansy. (altimadude00)
Gearhead vs. Pothead (ergsum)
Invasion of the Auto Body Snatchers (ergsum)
Petal to the Metal! (ergsum)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

P.S. I noticed a few new names. Welcome to the long-term road test blog.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: You Write the Caption

August 21, 2009


On my way to work one day, I spotted this unique salon.

How could I pass up a photo opportunity with a giant Chia? So, I waited for a day when I was driving my beloved supercar.

I suggest: Self-Portrait With GT-R

Can you do better?

We'll post our favorite at 4:00 PM.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: How It Fares on the Driveway

August 20, 2009

gtr 011.jpg

In a previous post, commenter "mptlptr" had asked if we are able to negotiate driveways without having to go in/out at an angle in our 2009 Nissan GT-R. Despite the scrapes show in this picture, I was surprised to find that we didn't have to come in at a steep angle or ease ourselves onto the street, at least from our company driveway, the cause of many a scuffed-up chin. See this Z post.

Yup, unlike our Z, the GT-R doesn't require extra babying to exit the company garage. But the Z scrapes almost every time even when I'm braking and going slowww over that transition at an angle even.

Another test is 15-mph bumps. In the Z, I could brake before and during the bump and yet still manage to scrape its chin. In the GT-R, I could go over those bumps straight on at 21 mph and still emerge unscathed.

BTW, I took a ruler to the GT-R and found that the car's chin is about 6 inches off the ground, while the portion that's right in front of the front wheel is a little over 5 inches. Brent has the Z and says, "I used a tape measure. It's lowest on the corners of the car and at that point there's 4 and 11/16ths inches (or 107 mm) of ground clearance."

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 27,548 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Fully Automated? Not Completely. Not Yet.

August 14, 2009

COW.jpg 2009-nissan-gt-r-colorado.jpg

Aside from its frequent dealer visits, the usual criticism leveled at our 2009 Nissan GT-R is that it does too much for its driver, in effect isolating you from the driving experience. The car and its computers work the clutch(es), manage your launch and determine a target yaw rate as you steer into a turn.

So what's left for you to do? I went looking around our GT-R for stuff to do.

You can pull the old-school dipstick and check your own oil. Can't do that in our M3 or our S5.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: The New Mustang

August 14, 2009

COW.jpgGT-R Salton Sea1.jpg

A few weeks ago you'll surely remember we had our GT-R's coolant changed as part of its 25,000 mile service. I'll also call on you to remember a post I did the following week showing the information gauge reading 120-degrees F. The story there begins with me forgetting to turn North on Highway 15 near Ontario / Fontana California in an attempt to head to Death Valley. The story really begins with me winding up at the wreckage, heat, stink and depression of Salton Sea.

Picking which of the condemned buildings to shoot in front of was impossibly easy: If people are milling about doing God-knows-what inside, don't stop. It's a rule to live by. So I picked this, it was, I'm sure, designed as a retreat; a beach front club or bar where swank drinks would be served to swank customers in linen suits. Instead, as I stepped 10-yards from the GT-R, a young man stepped out from the rubblem wearing a T-shirt or a dress, I couldn't tell, scratching his head like he was trying to pull the words out yelled, "Hey....is that the new Mustang?"

"Yes." And then I ran away.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ too frightened to read the odometer.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Lemonade

August 12, 2009


Our 2009 Nissan GT-R is NOT a lemon.

It may have been out of service for a total of several weeks. But it has given us 300+ days of spectacular awe-inspiring service.

Keep in mind that we drive this car hard and have accumulated over 27,000 miles in one year.

<weep>So stop hating on my baby.</weep>

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Open Thread 2

August 11, 2009


Last chance. What do you want to know about the 2009 Nissan GT-R (assuming it gets back from the dealership in a timely manner)?

Have you driven one? Write a review in the comments section.

Any details on the car that you'd like us to take a photo of? Let us know that, too.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nothing Compares 2 U

August 10, 2009


I keep reading comments asking wouldn't you rather have a Corvette or a 911? The Nissan GT-R is so unreliable.

The answer is no. I would not like to have any of those cars over the Nissan GT-R.

They all have their good qualities. But unless you've driven a GT-R, you can't understand the difference.

Corvette: I wanted a Corvette since I was 11 years old. It's old school cool. It's American. But then I drove one. It was bright orange. It was fun but tired. It had no spark. Perhaps a ZR1 would make me feel differently.

Porsche 911: A Porsche says something about the owner. You're sophisticated, hard-working and you've earned it. You're not just some guy with a wad of cash who can't handle his Enzo. You like to drive. You know quality. Your bad boy days are over but you still like to get your kicks on the weekend.

GT-R: Modern. Dangerous beauty. Sicktacular. Each time is like the first time. Sure it shakes every bone in my body when I hit a small imperfection in the road. But there is nothing like putting your foot down on the accelerator and rocketing forward quicker than anybody else.

It's the way it feels. The way it makes you feel.

La donna e mobile.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

August 09, 2009


Good thing this is the Internet and not a piece of paper. Otherwise, you'd see my words blurred by the tears that are falling as I write this.

Our 2009 Nissan GT-R has been with us for a year now. That means it will be going away soon.

So, we're giving our little monster another turn as Car of the Week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor and Resident Drama Queen

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Comic-Con Burger Break

July 27, 2009

800 SDCC Charleys Famous Hamburgers.jpg

It's hard to eat convention-center food, as overpriced and tasteless as it is, and the San Diego Comic-Con is no exception. Add in the fact that Klingons have bad table manners and Boba Fett hogs the ketchup and you have the perfect excuse to vamoose in your 2009 Nissan GT-R for awhile to get some real food on the outside.

And that's just what Ken and I did before we began our back-road excursion in earnest. Ken's the local, so he directed me to a semi-renowned hole-in-the-wall burger joint that shows up on the occasional Ten-Best of San Diego list: Charley's "Famous" Hamburgers in Lemon Grove.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: The Perfect Address?

July 26, 2009

800 Donahue Autocross.jpg

Taking a break from the San Diego Comic-Con, I met up with my good friend Ken Tooker to air-out the 2009 Nissan GT-R on some of the brilliant back-roads found in eastern San Diego county.

Along the way we stumbled upon a subdivsion in El Cajon, California with street names taken from motorsports, some obscure (Merlyn, Elva, Crossle), some quite famous (Jag, Offy, Foyt, Brabham, Lime Rock), and one that should have been spell-checked (Muira). Brit ex-pats can even live on Bridgehampton Place.

Ken took this photo at perhaps the best crossroads in the community, the corner of Donahue and Autocross. Don't like that one? The next block over is the intersection of Foyt and Donahue.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Our Favorite Caption

July 24, 2009


Thanks to lowmilelude for this week's favorite caption. It was a little long, so I edited it a bit. It was a great week, everyone.

Here are the others that made us giggle:

It comes standard with a dual cluck! (ergsum)
Foghorn Leghorn edition (gjupp)
The Skyline is falling! The Skyline is falling! (ergsum)
What's the matter? Ya chicken? (eidolways)
Chicks dig my car. (canadia)
Why yes, it's a hyBIRD. (ergsum)
Godzilla HUNGRY! (joebar)
Oddly enough, the GT-R still has a bigger wing. (666wrx)
The Avian Flew (stpawyfrmdonut)
Close Encounters of the Bird Kind (stpawyfrmdonut)
Poultry in Motion (ergsum)
"I say, I say, you wanna race?" (lowmilelude)
There's a joke in here somewhere. (anonimo)
Chick magnet. (vwthing1)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: You Write the Caption

July 24, 2009


I spotted this sweet Cutlass chicken car on my way to work and couldn't resist. I screeched the 2009 Nissan GT-R to a halt, pulled a u-turn, and set up in this very busy gas station lot.

People were looking at me like I was nuts. But anything for my caption writers.

I offer you "Robot Chicken" or "Fowl Play."

We'll post our favorite at 4:00 PM Pacific Time.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: No Place for it in My 18-car Garage

July 23, 2009

GT-R in my house.jpg

The Nissan GT-R can be riot. It's engineering and high-tech wizardry can be inspiring. It can draw looks from those in the know and catch those uninitiated by complete surprise. It can very well be the car of many folks' dreams. Just not mine.

In the likely event I become a multi-millionaire either through my own devices or the sudden revelation that I'm Wendelin Weideking's son, I must be prepared at all times to consider what cars would find their way into my 18-car garage. Arranged in train-yard style with a turn table surrounded by my many automotive treasures, it'll be awesome. But the GT-R won't be there.

It's exciting, but I don't see myself taking Godzilla out to stretch its legs. On mountain roads, it always seems like using dynamite when a sledge hammer will suffice (you even get this impression when driving it on Gran Turismo). I wouldn't actually take it someplace since its Comf ride is a joke and my back is bad enough as it is. It's certainly not pretty enough to keep around just to look at. The only way I'd get it would be as payment to Magrath for doing such a swell job maintaining the 17 other cars in the garage.

No, for the GT-R MSRP of $80,000, I'd opt instead for some of these beauties.

A 2009 Porsche 911 with a few options

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2009 Nissan GT-R: My lottery car

July 14, 2009

Skyline R35 nite PlayaVista.jpg

Now touring the country is a revival of the musical "Fiddler on the Roof", a farewell for long-standing star Topol. With music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, the play is set in early 1900 Tsarist Russia. Wikipedia notes that the story "is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Milkman) and other tales by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives."

One of several famous musical numbers is "If I were a Rich Man." Well, if I were a rich man -- and at this point that means hitting the Powerball numbers (Oy Vey!) -- I would purchase a Nissan GT-R.

Sure I could buy a Murcielago, Spyker, or something. However, driving a vehicle like one of those projects the image of a schmuck. It's been noted here before that the R35 carries no such stigma.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Spotted

July 13, 2009


I like to take pictures of interesting cars I see on the road.

While I was driving our 2009 Nissan GT-R this weekend I spotted this VW Beetle in unapologetic pink. The white doors are really a nice touch.

I wonder how old this car is.

Do you think the GT-R will still be running in as many years?

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2009 Nissan GT-R: The 24 hours of Vegas

June 30, 2009

R35 at Encore.jpg

I got a short notice invitation to go to Vegas last week.
Well, I did sign up for our long term 2009 Nissan GT-R for the weekend. That sealed it for me.

It's about 285 miles from my home on the Westside of LA and I got about 17 mpg roundtrip. It took 4 hours to get there, but 5.5 hours to get back on Sunday due to the horrendous traffic.

Although there is a great deal of road noise and some wind noise, the R35 is a superb tourer. It has supportive seats, but not at the expense of any comfort. While the ride is quite firm, even in the comfort setting, it's manageable. And power? No problem -- you can slice through traffic like a katana sword.

I saw a black GT-R in front of a fancy hotel. It may have belonged an NBA star because we spotted D.Fisher of the Lakers and a few other players by the pool.

A few other notes:

1. I find the analog speedo useless, with the numbers too close together to read quickly with a brief glance. I prefer to use the digital speedo in bottom of the tach. (The speedo looks deceptively big and uncluttered in the photo.)

2. The fuel range readout is useful too, but you have to toggle through multiple displays including the digital speedo. I'd like to have the speedo and range available simultaneously.

About that fuel range readout...

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Forever Young

June 22, 2009


It's pretty rare that I'll get one of our high-demand long-term cars for a weekend. With a milestone birthday on the horizon, I requested the GT-R almost a month ago and Keymaster Schmidt came through. I wanted something that would recharge my batteries, so to speak, and this Nissan supercar did the trick.

According to the figures, this thing makes 480 horsepower -- and I felt every single one of them. I've driven a bunch of high-horsepower cars, but I think the GT-R makes the best use of everything it produces -- evident in its noticeable absence of wheelspin. Images of my youth and my favorite rollercoaster, "Montezooma's Revenge," came to mind. This rollercoaster boasted an aircraft carrier-like catapult system to launch riders with gut-compressing acceleration. The GT-R restored that youthful and maniacal grin.

Over the weekend I felt like an amusement park ride attendant, shuffling thrillseekers through the queues and ensuring they were properly cinched down in their seats. After feeling the initial rush of acceleration, nearly every passenger responded in a Tourette's-like litany of expletives. In the tight canyon roads above Malibu, I experienced levels of grip that I last felt in an open-wheel racecar with wings. Yeah, it's fair to say I love this car. So much, that this is now on the top of my list as a replacement for my current sports car. Thanks GT-R, you'll be one of my deathbed memories!

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 22,643 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Which Exotic Is the Most Exotic?

June 15, 2009


After a weekend of running pointless errands and squirting through freeway traffic, our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R found a friend at a local city park on Sunday evening.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: It's Special

June 08, 2009

GT-Rs at Costco.jpg

When you live and work on LA's West Side, you see multiple copies of every exotic piece of automotive iron. For example, it seems that almost every time I go to a fancy restaurant or mall, I see someone's black 997 Turbo. They're plentiful here.

But that's not the case with the Nissan R35: it's rare. I've only seen a handful in LA (not counting car shows). I mean, if you're going to spend that kind of money, most guys are going to get something that impresses the ladies, one of the few things the R35 does not do. (I know: who cares.)

So I was quite surprised to come across this brand new black GT-R in the Costco parking lot, its regular-guy owner eating an In-n-Out burger in it. He said that the dealer in the Hollywood area (near the amusement park) wanted $100K! He told that dealer to take a hike, and ended up paying the $80K list price from a store in Orange County.

A couple of guys shagging the one million shopping carts in the Costco lot busted out their camera phones and also took some pics of the GT-R pair, as happy as kids on Christmas morning. And why not? Car guys know that the R35 isn't just awesome, it's Special.

Enjoy your new R35 Sean.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 21,800 miles

Skyline GT-Rs at Costco 2.jpg

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Brake and Tire Walkaround Supplement

June 08, 2009

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The 2009 Nissan GT-R suspension walkaround started to get long and drawn-out, so I decided to break it up. I took way too many photos for a single post.

Let's spend a bit more time on the brakes and tires.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Suspension Walkaround

June 05, 2009

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At last we come to the suspension walkaround for the 2009 Nissan GT-R. I've been holding off waiting for answers from Japan to a couple of clarifying technical questions. But I can't wait any longer. I'll point them out as we go along.

As you'd expect, the GT-R has a lot of interesting things going on, but much of it is obscured. To get at some it we'll have to take the GT-R to a real lift at a later date and remove multiple covers and undertrays that are not found on mainstream cars.

I know you didn't hear any of that because you were hypnotized by the humungous 6-pistom Brembo brake calipers and two-piece rotors. They're two piece because the rotor is pinned to a lightweight aluminum hub (black). But you need brakes like this if you're going to orbit the nurburgring in the mid 7-minute range and stop in less than 100 feet from 60 mph.

They brakes are so huge that they almost totally obscure the double control-arm suspension. But from here we can see an aluminum high-mount upper arm and the curved upper portion of the aluminum hub carrier.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Midship Bullship

June 04, 2009

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Pop the hood of our 2009 Nissan GT-R and you'll find the term "Premium Midship" stamped into the heat-resistant mouse fur that lines the underside.

"Midship" is shorthand for mid-engined, which of course refers to a car with its engine located behind the driver but ahead of the transmission and rear axle.

Here the Nissan marketing folks have stretched the definition, employing the term "Front Midship" (or FM, for short) to indicate an engine that's ahead of the driver but behind the front axle. Since the GT-R is so bitchin', they call it Premium Midship.

The reason it's a stretch is simple: Whether or not the engine sits behind the front axle is a highly debatable point.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: An Exotic Without the Baggage

June 03, 2009

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Went to a local cruise last weekend. Good mix of new, old, affordable and exotic. After seeing a yellow Lamborghini Murcielago SV roll by, I got to talking with a friend about exotics, specifically Lamborghinis.

We both agreed that Lamborghinis have become a bit of a joke. Sure they're fast, make great noises and look like nothing else on the road, but you can't drive one without looking like a tool that's trying too hard.

It's one of the reasons I like the GT-R. It's not exactly subtle in the styling department, but it's not over the top either. You can drive it around without looking like you're starved for attention. It's a car that's impressive and unique to those who know what it is, but inoffensive to those who don't. And of course, it has the performance to go toe-to-toe with a Lambo any day of the week.

Then again, maybe we're just spoiled living here in Southern California. Maybe Lambos are still cool in Kansas City. Even so, I'd still rather have the GT-R.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, @ 21,515 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Open Thread

June 02, 2009

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Here's a little mosaic of the 2009 Nissan GT-R.

We've written a lot about this car. Heck, we even threw it a party.

Is there anything you want to know that we haven't covered?

Have you driven one? Write a review in the comments section.

Have you seen any on the road? Did you take a camera phone picture? You did, didn't you. Admit it. Was it one of us behind the wheel?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Stretch Goals

June 01, 2009

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Much has been made on fanboy websites regarding the Nissan GT-R and the Corvette Z06. At first glance, a showdown makes sense: similar price point, power and performance.

In September 2007 in Nurburg, Germany, home of the Nurburgring, I drove a GT-R in PT2 pre-production trim. The GT-R had prior been photographed at numerous racetracks in such close proximity with a Porsche 997 Turbo that it might have been an appendage.

Still, I was curious. So in an interview with Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in the company's Nurburgring garage on the same trip, I asked if the Z06 was ever on their radar. He replied that in setting goals for and developing the GT-R, they targeted what they believed to be the highest expression of all-round performance, the 911 Turbo. Surpassing the 911 Turbo's performance would, then, eclipse all others.

But he never specifically addressed the Z06. My suspicion? The GT-R team had never considered it and that Ghosn had never even heard of it before I asked the question.

Subsequent drives in the GT-R have only reinforced this notion. The GT-R is indeed far closer to a 911 Turbo in character and driving experience than it is to a Z06. It is now obvious that all those spy photos weren't just about showmanship, and that any kind of GT-R / Z06 "rivalry" --despite all the attendant internet hand-wringing, chest-thumping and weenieism -- has no teeth.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 22,461 miles.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Talk of the Town

May 31, 2009

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It's gotta be the most talked about car in the last two years.

For months before it's release, the search engines were buzzing with news and rumors about the new Skyline that was coming.

Well, as you know, it's not a Skyline, but it is the most hyped-up car in recent years. It wasn't just idle chatter. The 2009 Nissan GT-R has lived up to its reputation.

We like it, anyway. And even almost a year after it joined our fleet, it still gets "oh my god, is that your car" reactions from passersby.

Let's celebrate this killer machine once again. The 2009 Nissan GT-R is car of the week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R or 2009 Nissan 370Z: Which Would You Rather?

May 20, 2009


What's the more disirable Nissan sports car? Is it the almighty Godzilla or the new Z for half the cost? Personally, after living with both I'd rather have an Infiniti G37 S Coupe. But that's not an official choice for the purposes of this blog post, so I choose the Z. It's more than half the car for far less than half the money. Plus, I'm amazed by the Sychro RevMatch system. It's an incredible piece of engineering.

So which would you rather?

Scott Oldham, Edmunds Editor in Chief

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Trick Handles That Actually Work

May 20, 2009


It's been mentioned before, but I'll say it again: Of all the trick features in the GT-R, its unusual door handles still manage to stand out for their simplicity.

They sit flush, yet are still easy to use. Just push the right side with your thumb and pull the left side with your other four fingers. Seems so easy, but too many exotics get cute and screw up what should be a simple operation.

You might also notice the keyless entry button. It's also frighteningly simple, but like fancy door handles, it's an idea that's often executed poorly. In this case it works just fine and doesn't look horribly out of place either.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 20,887 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: The Angry Refrigerator

May 19, 2009


There's only a small palette of colors for the GT-R and it looks bad in all of them, really. Our plain white car looks like some kind of angry refrigerator, as if The Brave Little Toaster had turned into a horror movie.

I think our only hope is to buy some contact paper and create a replica of the Nismo-prepared GT-R now being raced in Europe. This is Nissan's first factory-built racing car in a decade, and it's meant to be a preliminary effort to prepare for the FIA's GT1 championship next year. Gigawave Motorsport is fielding the car in four races, and it's being driven by long-time Nismo driver Michael Krumm and Gigawave's Darren Turner.

Though this Nismo car carries no. 35, it's not exactly an R35 GT-R. This is a 2,756-pound rear-wheel-drive chassis and it's powered by the Nissan 5.6-liter V8 that we know in the Nissan Titan pickup truck, only it's been tuned to produce 600 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque.

Looks pretty good, even in white. Maybe an angry refrigerator is a good thing.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 20,656 miles

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2009 Nissan GTR: Our Favorite Caption

May 15, 2009


Wow. There were so many good ones, it took me forever to decide. Thanks to cuthgood130 for this week's favorite caption.

I also want to give a shout out to ergsum for so many good entries. Clever boy.

Here are the other goodies:

Look what Jimmy won on The Price is Right, Ma! (miniharryc)
"Deliverance" charge included! (ergsum)
Today we look at the life of an Edmunds intern. (ergsum)
This explains all those crop circles! (ergsum)
Sweet! It's got a Nismo gunrack! (ergsum)
'Oh give me a home where the GT-R roam' (stpawyfrmdonut)
This GT-R came "Wrong Side of the Track" ready! (ergsum)
Hunny i want a divorce...you can keep the house! (e10rice)
Shack 'n Awe (waynester76)
Honey, I sold our house to pay for my oil change. (zoomzoom97)
GiT-R Done! (vwthing1)
Photo for next month's cover of "Road & Shack" magazine. (ergsum)
I found the clipboard, but where's the GT-R damn it! (subaru123)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: You Write the Caption

May 15, 2009


Welcome to my new house. The market has really gotten much more affordable.

Good thing, because I like to put all my money in my car. Look, it even has its own private parking spot.

Here's our caption: "Honey, I'm home."

What have you got?

We'll post our favorite caption at 4:00 PM Western Desert Shack time.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Award Winning

May 11, 2009

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Oh yeah! The accolades for the 2009 Nissan GT-R just keep piling up.

Mike & Tas got married this weekend, and they had their reception at a bowling alley, where they sprung for free tacos and free lane & shoe rental. Attendees were invited to bring their unique or vintage cars to a car show to be voted-on by the other guests.

And, yes, our GT-R came home with a major award. How major? Why, it won the coveted "Long Hauler" award, of course. Impressive, Huh? Cleary. I drove the car all the way from Santa Monica, a whole 30 miles. Talk about dedication to your friends...

Yes, the "G" got beat out of the People's Choice by a cherry '57 Ford T-bird. Damn T-birds --who has a chance against one 'o them when grandparents are allowed to vote? That's stacking the deck, that is! And the Bride's Choice went to a numbers-matching frame-off restored '55 Chevy -- the same one they used to get from the chapel to the reception. Talk about unfair lobbying for consideration!

But *sniff* I'm man enough to take it. I don't think I'll file an official protest. After all, the GT-R did bring home some hardware.

And good luck to you Mike & Tas. If your reception was any indication, you'll do just fine. Have a wonderful life together.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 19,945 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Our Favorite Caption

April 17, 2009


Congratulations to Nomercy346 who came up with this weeks winning caption.

Honorable mention goes to:

"Do not transport dead bodies in this vehicle. Please use an appropriate vehicle such as a Ford Flex." (ergsum)

"Well, so much for the new car smell." (ergsum)

"Warning! Fashion sense disabled." (ergsum)

"Nissan GT-R: $73,165 (MSRP)

80's High School Reunion Outfit: $125

Making your old friend pass out in the back because you "Drove it like you stole it": PRICELESS" (DCuerpoJr)

"Caution: Use of rear seats to transport passengers is NOT recommended for American-size customers." (epbrown)

Good work, folks. Which one was your favorite?

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2009 Nissan GT-R: You Write the Caption

April 17, 2009


Our vehicle testing assistant Mike Magrath found this picture in the GT-R owner's manual.

What do you think it's trying to tell us? Don't slouch? Don't be bored in the GT-R? Don't wear those pants with that shirt?

What have you got?

We'll post our favorite at 4:00 PM Santa Monica time.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Chasing Grandma Through The Canyons

April 03, 2009

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Alright, "chasing Grandma" isn't the right phrase here. "Following Grandma at a respectful distance so as not to freak out her pacemaker" is more like it. When I came up behind a Ford GT during a GT-R canyon run the other day, I assumed the driver would see the supercar du jour in the rearview mirror and immediately put the hammer down. Instead, we trundled along at 30-35 mph for three winding miles -- no other cars in sight -- until we hit the Pacific Coast Highway, and Grandma GT headed off toward Malibu.

Reminds me of when I got stuck behind a 996 911 Turbo while we were doing the CTS/Genesis comparo. I was piloting the CTS, and in this case the 911 driver actually made an attempt to set the pace, but I was still able to keep up at 7/10ths in my 4,000-plus-pound luxury saloon. When we reached the stop sign at Mulholland and Cornell, I rolled my window down to hear him accelerate away. Yep. Tiptronic. Figures.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 18,941 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: When It All Comes Together

March 27, 2009


Some adventures start at unexpected times -- like after a long day of testing cars in the desert. And then, through the miracle of the modern automobile, they gel into something truly great.

Last month, while returning from a one of those days, I made a few stops along California's Highway 58. Tehachapi pass, to be specific. Those who haven't driven this road at this time of year should know a few details. Heading East out of Bakersfield, the 58 rolls through green hills before winding its way into the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains. Between February and April there's often snow at the higher elevations. And on this particular day, the grass was covered with a bold, white blanket which separated it from the blue sky.

It didn't suck.

And niether did the GT-R, which annihilated the meandering highway all the way to Mojave. Here's how it looked.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Main Attraction in Podunk

March 11, 2009


For my quick trip to Vegas, there could only be one car to roll big in: our 2009 Nissan GT-R. It's also my first time behind its wheel so I was really nervous. And I know this will disappoint most of you but I kept my speeds pretty sane so my trip took about 4 hours with only one stop for gas and another quick stop to secure the hood of the car.

The hood was popped open when I had stopped to get gas 50 miles or so away from Vegas. I had pulled up to a gas station in the middle of nowhere. There were no restaurants around or anything, just this gas station. It didn't even have a Shell sign, just one painted on its roof that promised "Gas & Food."

I thought this would be a quick stop until a couple of 20-something boys stepped out of their F-350 and walked over to tell me that my car was hawt. "Is this your car?" one asked. "No, it's my work car. I work for Edmunds.com," I replied. "Ohhh, it's just your 'work car,'" they said. And then: "Does it have turbo? Is it Tiptronic? How much does one of these go for? How fast did you go? Do you mind popping the hood?"

So I popped the hood for them. Who was I to deny them a chance to check it out? Plus I was on the road all day, this was a nice break. Just funny though because even in the middle of nowhere this car still manages to draw crowds.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Stop Me

February 25, 2009


We all know the GT-R is quick as hell and stupid fast. But when you need to bring it back down, it also has tremendous stopping power.

Our GT-R is equipped with huge Brembo 15-inch disc brakes with 6-piston front and 4-piston rear monobloc calipers. Combine that with special high-performance Bridgestones and you can stop this bear from 60 mph in less than 100 feet.

Do you think Brembo makes the best brakes?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 17,460 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: For every car guy

February 23, 2009

Sklyine R35 at Cal Speedway.jpg


I took the GT-R to the NASCAR race at California Speedway (below) this past weekend. Like everywhere else I haven taken it, the car was a hit. You see, the R35 doesn't know any demographic boundaries. Regardless of background, everyone loves it.

That is, every guy loves it. Although I got some thumbs up, parking lot shout outs, fuel station shout outs, and a few small parking lot gatherings as shown in the pic above -- for whatever reason -- all the fans were guys.

The R35: for every car guy.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 17,377 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Angel/Devil

February 19, 2009


Thought for the day:
When I drive the Audi R8 I want to be good. When I drive the Nissan GT-R I want to be bad.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Ford GT vs. Nissan GT-R -- Beyond the Numbers

January 20, 2009

Ford GT Nissan GT-R.jpg It's not every weekend I have access to both a Ford GT and a Nissan GT-R . In fact, I'd say it only happens about once a month.

But it did happen this past weekend, and I spent enough time in both vehicles to get a sense of their unique character traits. Thus, what follows is my completely unbiased appraisal of how these two supercars stack up.

First let's call out the obvious areas where these cars don't compare. The Ford GT is out of production, as it was only made for the 2005 and 2006 model years, while the Nissan GT-R recently went on sale as a 2009 model. Our site puts the current value of a 2005 Ford GT at $115,000 and the Nissan GT-R at $77,000 to $80,000. Reports of GT-Rs going for $20,000 over MSRP persist, while few Ford GTs (not including salvage title cars) change hands for less than $150,000, but let's just go with the prices on Edmunds to keep things simple.

In terms of acceleration, the best accleration numbers we've established for a Nissan GT-R are zero-to-60 in 3.53 seconds and the 1/4-mile in 11.77 @ 118 mph, but that's with launch control. Without LC (it goes away for the 2010 model year) the car pulled zero-to-60 in 4.0 second and 1/4-mile in 12.3 @ 118 mph. If you've been reading this blog you know the, um...questions surrounding launch control, so take those figures as you will.

The Ford GT initially pulled zero-to-60 in 3.7 seconds and the 1/4-mile in 11.8 seconds @ 124 mph. But after a supercharger pulley swap and ECU reflash the GT managed zero-to-60 in 3.5 seconds and the 1/4-mile in 11.6 seconds at 126.3. No launch control for the GT, but you do have to know the proper technique to get these times without overheating the clutch. And at 17,000 miles, the GT's transmission has never left it's place in the drivetrain.

Further testing of our long-term GT-R had braking performance from 60-to-zero mph in 108 feet. We never tested the long-term Ford GT for braking, but in our American Exotics Comparison Test that GT stopped from 60 mph in 115 feet. Slalom speeds? GT-R 73.6, GT 69.5. Skidpad? The GT-R pulled .91 Gs while the Ford GT in that comparison pulled .92 Gs.

I think it's safe to conclude that performance is pretty much a wash between these two cars. But if the GT-R offers that performance for $40,000 less it's gotta be the better car, right?

That's certainly what the spreadsheet suggests. And plenty of people "shop by spreadsheet" so those folks could buy a GT-R and call it a day. But for those interested in going beyond the numbers I'm happy to supply additional feedback.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Does It Have Character?

January 19, 2009


Even though I'm not driving our Nissan GT-R anymore, I've been thinking about what some previous commenters had to say about the car's character -- or specifically the lack thereof. Here are my thoughts on the subject after my two weeks with the car.

First, I'll let you in on a little secret: this was my first time driving our GT-R, and to be honest, I wasn't all that pumped about driving it before I took the keys. Of course, I wasn't going to turn it down or anything, but most of the potential excitement you would expect wasn't there. I was tired from the years of GT-R hype, didn't particularly care for the car's styling and wasn't drooling over its performance capabilities. You could say I was "over" the car before I even drove it.

However, those feelings changed the more time I spent with the car. It didn't happen immediately -- I remember a coworker asking me what I thought of the GT-R after a few days, and I replied, "I'm not sure." But as each day passed, I found myself looking forward to driving it more and more.

Is "character" the reason? Perhaps, but it's a different type of character than you might expect. This is Nissan's sports car that you can use everyday. I drove my wife and daughter around in it, and not just as a test but for real drives. I used it for mundane stuff like grocery shopping and picking up dry cleaning. I gave friends rides in it and talked to wide-eyed bystanders at gas stations. And, yes, I took it out one early morning to blitz my favorite driving road near my house.

I'd argue there's character from the car's technology, too, with the automated manual transmission (like it or not) and the configurable gauge display. It's the Japanese approach to the same goal Porsche sets for its 911 -- the everyday sports car. It's fun and engaging to drive the GT-R because you can use it in so many ways, and it's never intimidating.

There's no getting around the fact that our GT-R still doesn't sound exceptionally engaging. (Perhaps an owner could address this with aftermarket components?) But as for the styling, I've decided that in a Manga sort of way, it has a look that's distinctive and different. And as for the stiff ride quality, I didn't find it to be particularly bothersome.

How do you want to spend $70,000 for a sports car? Corvette Z06? Stripper 911? Loaded Cayman S? It all depends on what you want. But the GT-R is far from bland.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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Long-Term 2009 Nissan GT-R vs Gran Turismo Nissan GT-R

January 13, 2009

Nissan GT-R at the Luxor -- Photo by James Riswick  

I had my first opportunity to play Gran Turismo 5 Prologue this weekend, which was the first version of the game I've played since GT3. Needless to say, it's a damned impressive feat of videogamery (as I'm sure many of you already know). Since I bought the game for my father-not-in-law (aka girlfriend's dad), I started things off for him. I purchased a Mini Cooper S and we began winning races and earning enough credits to purchase something better. I initially thought I'd get a 135i to see how the real and virtual versions compared, but then I noticed its price tag: 61,000 credits. The Nissan GT-R by comparison was a mere 77,000. A few extra races and we had the virtual key to a brand-new red 2009 Nissan GT-R.

After a few blasts around three different tracks, it was striking how well they nailed the GT-R -- at least as much as a video game could nail a car. Also at least as much as I remembered the GT-R. To know for sure, I took our long-termer out for a blast through the canyon and formulated an Edmunds-style consumer-biased comparison test. Enjoy.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 15,651 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Good Thing It Has Decent Range

January 12, 2009

09 nissan gtr prf blog.jpg

....because otherwise I'd never reach my destinations. Our longterm 2009 Nissan GT-R still draws a crowd at every fuel stop.

I've learned to be efficient when refueling--get out quickly, have card in hand, avoid eye contact and return to the seat ASAP. It's the best bet when looky-loos are about.

Once cornered, though, does politeness suggest I engage them and risk prolonging my stop, or should I be curt and risk being the "a-hole driver of [your brand here]?" It's always a quandary for me.

This morning, it didn't matter. I was a relegated to bystander in my own conversation. Today I learned all about Raoul, who was refueling his Lincoln LS when I pulled up in the GT-R.

Raoul's a longtime Nissan fan who had never heard of the R35 GT-R. Didn't know the first thing about it. However, his curiosity was piqued when he spied its edgy lines and Nissan badge. He's well-versed in the R32-R34 Skylines and furthermore recounted his love for Nissans (he's owned eleven) which among them count three Z-cars, four 510s and two pickups.

I also learned that Raoul still owns various muscle cars stored at his mother's place, that he used to street race back in the day, plus his age and marital status. Fifteen minutes later, I realized I'd hardly put a word in edgewise.

I'm not annoyed, though. It was cool to see the GT-R rekindle the automotive passions of Raoul, the guy who just needed to get some gas on the way to work.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor at 15,619 miles.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a GT-R

January 08, 2009


I've been looking over our 2009 Nissan GT-R posts recently and have noticed a frequent theme. Here are some quotes from my esteemed collogues:

"...it's so fast that you can almost believe those signature round taillights contain afterburners or JATO rockets, or something." (Dan Edmunds)

"Stupid-fast." (Edmunds)

"It sounds like a plane." (Sadlier)

"...the acceleration at speed is amazing. If you mash the throttle on the freeway ... you're just gone. And you find yourself quickly going crazy fast." (Austria)


"Relentless." (Kavanagh)

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Not Really Inconspicuous

January 05, 2009


This past week has been my first time behind the wheel of our Nissan GT-R. Before I started driving it earnestly, I thought that maybe -- just maybe -- the GT-R and I would be on the down-low. I mean, the GT-R's from a mass-market automaker, isn't red, isn't low to the ground and doesn't scream "exotic!" or "male member enhancer!" in the traditional sense. Maybe people would just mistake it for a G37 coupe or something?

Alas, that hasn't been the case. I live north of our SoCal offices in Fresno, Calif, which isn't too far off from being the "Midwest" of California. Even if people don't know what it is, they recognize it as something special. Having a GT-R here is like having Scarlett Johansson move in next door to you.

And this is probably how three prepubescent boys on their bicycles felt as they swirled around the GT-R yesterday after I had parked it at the local supermarket...

The boys seemed pretty knowledgeable about it and were taking pictures with their cellphones. I recognized one of them, Brian, who lives down the street from me. I was thinking about what it would have been like when I was about 10 or so to have an "exotic" appear out of nowhere. On a whim, I told Brian to call his parents and get the OK for a quick ride in the GT-R.

As he was getting in, he was saying, "This is so cool..." I gave him a quick rundown of the GT-R and queued up a display screen for him that shows turbo boost, throttle position and speed. Then we headed out of the parking lot.

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2009: Nissan GT-R: My dog has fleas

December 22, 2008

Nissan Skyline R35 in Malibu canyons

The Skyline R35 is absolutely thrilling to drive -- each and every time I get behind the wheel. My friends who were lucky enough to get rides in it marveled at the explosive acceleration and amazing handling. One remarked that the acceleration produced a pressure feeling in his chest. Another said a downhill grade was like being on a roller-coaster. They were all howling like kids on Christmas day. But there's a downside to this pup: it attracts fleas.

Nearly everywhere I went, some guy wanted to race or look at the car from behind at a range of one meter as I negotiated traffic. Two guys wanted to race me on Sunset...in a Nissan Titan! No thanks -- me and my passengers only laughed with disdain.

Myself and a few friends also took the GT-R into the canyons above Malibu (The 'Bu to you surfer dudes). It was there where we picked up some fleas (shown in the pic.) These pinheads (five cars in all) tailgated me for quite some time, eventually passing me (due to my moderate pace) by crossing the double-yellow line at ridiculous speed. Uncool. And illegal. Fortunately, no one got hurt -- this time.

Unwanted attention -- yeah, the Skyline gets that in spades.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 14,450 mi

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Pretty in Pink

December 12, 2008


This weekend marks a first for me: It will be my first weekend with our Nissan GT-R with no strings attached. It didn't just come from having something major replaced. It's not on break-in miles. I don't have to drive it to the middle of nowhere to drag race a ZR-1 (okay, that wasn't so bad) or some other crazy, yet usually fun, work-related errand. Nope, this time it's just me and the GT-R for a whole weekend.

Well, there is one catch. Remember back in October when I dragged my girlfriend cross-country and back in our 2009 Ford Flex? Well, it's payback time.

My girlfriend isn't the typical shopping type. Instead of being a general fashionista with eyes on the world as a whole, she holds tight to a few select brands and buys their entire collection. Thrilling, I know. One of those brands is Tokidoki. An Italian designer with a love for Japan started the slightly insane lifestyle brand who's cult following was exacerbated by a collaboration with Hello Kitty. Again, thrilling.

The point of this story is that I've been forced asked to attend the Grand Opening of the Happy Six-- the premiere retailer of Tokidoki wares-- flagship store at Plaza El Segundo where the brand's founder and style director will be present. When I volunteered begrudgingly agreed to go, my only ray of hope was the GT-R. This is the GT-R's type of gig and I figured I wouldn't be the only bored guy dragged out on a Saturday afternoon.

So, if you're around Southern California and want to check out our GT-R, you know where I'll be.


Wow, that's a lot of pink. Maybe I'll just be down the road at Starbucks.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Door Handles

December 10, 2008


Have we ever shown you the door handles on the GT-R? Ooh, fancy.

This is a very special car and it deserves special details.

We know Ed doesn't like the handles on the Audi R8.

What car do you think has the best door handles?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Christmas is coming

December 08, 2008

Nissan GT-R and Los Angeles Cathedral

I got an early Christmas present this weekend when I found that the Skyline GT-R was available. The acceleration is explosive -- like a sportbike! And if you mash the throttle like an ape while making a 90 deg turn, it'll get sideways a bit. The only downside to the handling is that you get a lot of bumpsteer and it wants to follow every rain groove in the pavement -- so you're constantly making steering inputs. We celebrated Manny Pacquiao's pummeltuous victory over the Golden Boy by cruising around a bit in the GT-R before going to a house party. My buddy asked me to pick up his girlfriend on the way so she could ride in the vehicle that he intends to purchase, instead of a house. Initially unimpressed, after experiencing a few brutal launches, she proclaimed, "You're not allowed to get this car!" I think they're still together. But that's how it is with the GT-R: men go bananas over it, women couldn't care less. I capped off the weekend by attending mass at the Los Angeles Cathedral (pictured). To thank the Lord for the GT-R? Nah, I got final exams this week and could use the help. When we sell this Skyline R35 sometime in 2009, the ad may read, "Driven occasionally to church on Sunday."

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 13,638 mi

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2009 Nissan GT-R: The Holidays With Godzilla

November 28, 2008


It only takes a few stints behind the wheel of the GT-R to figure out the best settings for its driver-configurable transmission, suspension and stability control systems. It looks pretty much like this: transmission switch in "R" mode, suspension switch in "Comf"and the VDC switch left in the middle. The result is slightly quicker reactions from the transmission (which is otherwise quite lazy for a sportscar) and a fractionally more comfortable ride. Oh, and it also means that the soon-to-be-defunct launch control setup is only two buttons away instead of three. Not that we would ever take such a risk.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 12,914 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Not for Crybabies

November 28, 2008


Every time the 2009 Nissan GT-R's dual-clutch automated manual transmission rattles and clicks while cruising around town, it reminds me of the sounds made by a racing-type, non-synchromesh dog-ring gearbox. And when someone whines about this intrusion by the mechanical workings of the car, I'm happy. It means there's one less crybaby fascinated by the GT-R - and one more person who will find his way to the Lexus SC 430 that he deserves.

There's no sense complaining about the GT-R's ride quality. Or its shift action. Or the noise that the transmission makes. Or the way the rear wing looks on the rear deck. Or the way fuel will puke out of the gas tank when the rear differential has been heated up by hard use. Or even the fact that you're on your own when it comes to warranty coverage when you engage launch control for a fast getaway.

The Nissan GT-R is a fast car. It doesn't make excuses for being a fast car. It doesn't try to pretend it's a limousine or a minivan, a crossover or a commuter. It's exactly the automobile we've been asking for, a hard-bitten performance car.

It is not for crybabies.

If you're not up for the compromises in your comfort and welfare while driving this automobile, then you should be driving something else. It's a mystery to me that the GT-R should get so much stick for its eccentricities. It is as if the car is being forced to pay a psychological price for its affordable market price. Because it costs less than a Porsche 911 GT2, there are those who expect it to be as user-friendly as a Subaru WRX.

For me, the Nissan GT-R is a pure track car that through some sneaky legislative loophole is allowed to carry a license plate. It is a sports car, a civilian version of the Nissan-sponsored GT-R that just won the championship in Japan's Super GT racing series (pictured above). The GT-R is a racing car for the street, not a 480-hp Lexus. Its eccentricities are part of the price you pay.

The only way the 2009 Nissan GT-R could be better would be if it, you know, occasionally caught on fire.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, @ 13,500 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R vs. 2009 Nissan 370Z

November 14, 2008


Sorry about the grainy pics, but a little elf just delivered a bright red 2009 Nissan 370Z with a 6-Speed manual transmission to our office. It will be at the Edmunds 370Z unveil party tomorrow night (I hope to see everyone there.) and track tested next week.

All good right? Not quite. Looks like I have a decision to make. A tough decision. Do I take the 370Z home for the weekend or our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R?

What would you do?

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Is the GT-R's Transmission Really a Problem?

November 12, 2008


There's a considerable amount of internet chatter going on these days regarding the GT-R's durability. We've had our fair share of problems, but none of the issues have left us stranded - and that includes the transaxle that was replaced. It had a leaky seal that Nissan wanted to inspect more closely, but it never refused to work right.

That's noteworthy as most of the chat room bickering involves the transmission. We don't doubt other owners have had problems, but our experience has been considerably different.

For one, we bought the car at a dealership like everybody else and we never had to sign a waiver that said the warranty would be voided if we used the launch control system. If anybody else has, we would love to see it.

Since that time, we've track tested our GT-R twice, used launch control numerous times and ran it hard on the Streets of Willow road course during our GT-R versus ZR1 comparison test. The VDC was off and nothing broke. And this was on a car with over 11,000 miles on it, 5,000 of those miles since the new transaxle was installed. Drove it home last night and the car felt fine.

Again, we're not saying the GT-R doesn't have its problems, but when someone says they barely ever used launch control and suddenly their transmission imploded, you wonder if there's more to the story. We would be glad to hear them if people really want to vent, but for now we'll just keep driving our GT-R as hard as ever - "delicate" transmission and all.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 12,171 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Support Vehicle

November 03, 2008

gtr md auto 555.jpg

I was working on my "race car" all weekend and used our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R to schelp tired 15-year old mechanical bits to the shop. The GT-R's trunk is pretty large, but its small opening means creatively Tetrising the huge Rubbermaid container to get it to drop into the trunk.

Every so often I'd look up from our clapped-out beater--a first-gen Miata that we're building for the 24 Hours of LeMons--and see the GT-R parked amongst a fleet of Exiges that are being serviced by the shop's owner, Mark DiBella of MD Automotive. It was like gnawing on a rotting Slim Jim while standing in front of Ruth's Chris steakhouse.

Speaking of questionable food choices, we broke for lunch in the GT-R and headed to the In-N-Out drive-thru. When we pulled up, a few of the employees got all excited and started doing the GT-R dance. Wasn't until I unwrapped my burger later that I realized just how distracted they really were by the car. They forgot the bun.

burger 555.jpg

Engineering Editor Jason Kavanagh @ 11,937 miles.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Separated at Birth?

October 13, 2008

Separated at Birth: GT-R and Cobalt SS

Um, resemblance?

The ironic thing is the Cobalt's wing is actually bigger.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Where's the Spoiler Delete Option?

October 08, 2008


The GT-R's spoiler may be functional, but it's also ugly. If this were my car, the first thing I would have done is find a way to remove the ungainly plank of plastic. Sure, it might make it unstable at 175mph, but I think I could live with that.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 8,327 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Start This

September 29, 2008


Start buttons. Dumb.

Even in the GT-R.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 7,730 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Still Not 100%

September 15, 2008


Late last Friday, we got a call that our GT-R was back in one piece and ready for the weekend. A full run down of everything that was done is in the works, but until then I volunteered to give it a test drive to see if everything felt up to factory spec.

It did. The car is still stupid fast and there were no new noises coming from the rear end. No sign of the warning light that started everything either. Everything seemed solid until I went to gas it up. The nozzle clicked off with the tank only half full and no amount of wrangling would get it flowing again. I tried two other pumps at different gas stations, but it was the same story. Needless to say, the GT-R went back to dealer. We'll keep you posted on its progress.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 6,108 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Gutless

September 12, 2008

Not going to tell you how we got past the iron curtain to get these photos of our Nissan GTR, but a bit of subterfuge was required. Enjoy.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: MIA

September 10, 2008


(Illustration by photo guy Kurt Niebuhr)

10-days ago I dropped our GTR off at Nissan of Santa Monica to let them deal with a fuel leak we experienced during some *ahem* spirited driving. Once at the dealer the problem, predictably, could not be repeated and nobody in the GTR program had heard of it. Unlike some other issues we've experienced that the dealer couldn't replicate, Nissan decided to act on our complaint immediately instead of waiting for it to happen again. But as the problem couldn't be duplicated and they have no pool of information on this car from which to draw, they weren't quite sure what they were going to do. After several calls to Nissan brass in the States and Japan a solution was decided upon: Replace everything involved in the fuel / evap system from the driver seat back and ship it back to HQ for analysis. The parts were already in the mail when he called me. The car, they said, would be available the following Wednesday, today.

Well this morning I got another call from our local Nissan shop with more news. When the corporate techs (flown in to diagnose a sick godzilla) were removing the transaxle (!) to replace the fuel tank they noticed some moisture on one of the seals. They wiped it off and road tested the car in an attempt to replicate that leak. No dice. Following precedent set with the fuel system problem, they called HQ and were told to remove the transaxle and ship it back for analysis.

The new gearbox is already en-route, we should have the GTR back on Tuesday unless they decide to replace the engine while they're at it.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ ?,??? miles.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: I Want Comf You Stupid Car

September 04, 2008


There's an infomercial I've watched a few thousand times for some counter top oven thingie. The guy says the contraption is so easy to use, you just "set it and forget it".

I wish our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R followed this philosophy. Every time I climb in the car I have to put the suspension in Comf (there are three settings) and the transmission in R (Race, it also has three settings). I usually leave its stability control system in its default setting, which does not display a light (it also has three settings).

This sucks. If I owned the GT-R I would want the car to remember how I like it to be set up. I would want to set it and forget it. But as it is, I have to go through the same ritual each and every time I jump in the car. Running errands on a Saturday, I can futz with those toggle switches a dozen times in just an hour or two.

It's quite annoying. I just ran up to the cash machine you stupid car, can't you remember I want Comf?

Scott Oldham, Edmunds Editor in Chief

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Back to the dealer (again)

September 03, 2008


It's a good thing that Doug at Nissan of Santa Monica is a nice guy and that he's one of the most attentive and knowledgeable service advisors I've run across. I have a feeling I'm going to be seeing a lot of him in the next year with our GT-R.

We had two reasons for bringing in our Nissan this time. The first was pretty benign, the 6,000-mile service was at hand. The second issue was more serious; during our performance testing our GT-R was leaking fuel. Leaking may not be a strong enough word here. Trails of fuel raced from the fuel-door and the smell was overwhelming. There were no warning lights and no noticeable loss of performance. Nothing really except a bunch of gas being ejected from the car. The testing was thankfully finished when the fuel-purge began so we parked it, ate lunch, and then drove it home. On the way home, and for the next few days, the issue did not repeat. That doesn't mean that it never happened, though.

The car is at the Nissan dealership now, we'll let you know when we have an estimated time of delivery. One of the problems with buying cars this new and driving them with the frequency we do is that we're often the first people to encounter problems (we were the first GT-R to be serviced in Santa Monica -- they didn't even have a price in their computer yet for the service when we went for our belated 1,500 mile) and the diagnosis is a learning experience for all involved.

Stay tuned.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 5,990 miles.

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2009 Nissan GTR: Back From the dealer

August 29, 2008


On Monday our Long Term Nissan GTR went back to Nissan of Santa Monica for a recurring "Check Engine" light. The first time we reset the gas cap and cleared the code ourselves. The second time we brought the car in, they read the gas cap code tightened the cap and cleared the code. On this, the third go around, we sat them down and told them to fix something or we weren't going to leave.

We couldn't just go in blind at this point, not with a car with more computer processing ability than Russia circa-1992. No, one of the neat things about this business is our Rolodex is bursting at the hinges with phone numbers, email addresses, fax numbers and blood types of engineering types at the manufacturer level. While we won't ask them to pull any strings, we have no issue calling them in to appease our own curiosities.

When we heard back from "our guy" he said that, given our symptoms, the Evap Vent Control valve was most likely the culprit, but the dealer would know more once they scanned the car. As much as we trust the guys over at Nissan Santa Monica, there's no sense in giving them partial information. I blacked out the pertinent names and associations and gave them a quick summary of the potential problem. They said they'd call when they had a diagnosis.

Sure enough when we got the call late that very same Monday we dropped it off, they had read the codes and the evap vent control valve was faulty. Good news was that the part was in stock and was being installed as we speak.

This is the part that perked up my ears. In stock? Why? I doubt they have a front license plate bracket for the car, but they have vent control valves? "In stock?" I asked. "Yeah, it's the same one for almost all of our cars. Never seen one fail before." Interesting.

Unfortunately, the car would not be available until the following day. He requested verbal confirmation that I authorized a tech to road test the vehicle. I didn't have any choice but to agree.

Tuesday morning came and I got an early call from Doug, the guy in charge of all GTR service and 300zx owner. "We're having a bit of an issue, Mike. The valve isn't talking to the car right. It should take 3-minutes but it's been 30 with no response. I'll call you when I know more. Sorry." Later that day he called with the good news that the GTR was fixed, responding correctly, road-tested and Nissan approved.

In the time between picking it up from Nissan and today we've put over 300 miles on the car, including 30 hard miles during our routine instrumented testing (results of that forthcoming). No warning light has appeared and the car feels as strong as ever.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 5,300 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Four New Facts About Godzilla

August 26, 2008


Each and every time you start the GT-R it checks its own oil.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Floor Mats Not Included

August 19, 2008


Since it seems as though lighthearted posts like Donna's photoshop job aren't welcome here, I'll get down to more serious GT-R ownership issues. There are only three options when it comes to ordering a GT-R Premium: an iPod connector ($360), a no-cost cold weather package and a set of $280 floor mats.

Yes, for $72,900 Nissan will give you a 480-hp sportscar that will do 193mph, but if you want an extra five-square feet of industrial grade carpet to wipe your feet on, it'll be an another $280. But wait, you get more than just the carpet as each patch of gray yarn is adorned with a gleaming, full-sized GT-R badge. The carpet alone may only cost $1.38, but add in those badges and the cost basis soars well into the $2 range. So in other words, we got hosed on the mats, but if anyone steals the badge off the trunklid we've got two very expensive spares.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 4,594 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Looking Back

August 18, 2008


Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan GT-R: One Sick Machine

August 15, 2008

check engine 555.jpg

Just this morning I was chided by an alert reader that my use of the word "sick" to describe our 2009 Nissan GT-R's awesome performance in yesterday's post was misleading.

"For a moment there I really thought your GT-R needed a doctor," was the exact text.

Well, anyone who has watched an episode of "My Name is Earl" knows that karma is a powerful thing. Perhaps I souldn't have been alarmed when the above dire warning flashed before my eyes as I merged the GT-R from the Marina freeway onto the 405 south with a downshift and a squirt of throttle.

It must be serious. After all, three warnings came on all at once: a big yellow warning declaring an "engine system malfunction," (which, in a double-karmic move, obscured the digital speedo I spoke of in the "sick" post), a "service engine soon" lamp and, worst of all, a triangle containing the dreaded exclamation point.

I finished the drive home since the words "visit dealer" and "soon" appeared, instead of "pull over" or "now". I was further encouraged by the normal status of the plethora of gauges that can be called-up on the navigation screen, four pages worth.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Sounds Like A Plane, And Other Observations

August 15, 2008

GT-R 1 003 blog.jpg

First, a shameless plug. Over on our up-and-coming Strategies Blog, colloquially known as "The Edmunds Blog," a rather provocative Weekly Top 3 list has been posted that involves the GT-R. Topic? The best all-around sports car for $70,000. Go check it out, and tell us what you think. (I totally vouch for the Weekly Top 3 guy, by the way. Cool dude.)

And now, a few GT-R thoughts, based on one canyon run and one lunchtime cruise around LA.

(1) It sounds like a plane. You know when you're rolling slowly toward the runway, and you hear that soft whistling noise from the jet engines? That's what the GT-R sounds like when you're trundling along in traffic. And you know how the whistle turns into a half-growl/half-shriek when the plane accelerates down the runway? That's what the GT-R sounds like when you floor it. Some have complained that this car doesn't have enough character in its exhaust note, but I say, who cares? The thing sounds like an airplane. That's just cool.

(2) In automatic mode, the transmission just can't wait to get you into 6th gear. Under light acceleration, you'll be in 6th by like 30 mph. I did an experiment in our parking garage over a span of about 100 feet -- I went 0-18 mph, and I was in 4th gear by the end. Which is fine (fuel economy, emissions, what-have-you), but quite remarkable.

(3) Three six-footers and one five-foot-two-incher can drive around town in reasonable comfort for an hour, including a few full-throttle blasts and some corner-hugging turns. Trust me; I was there. The (lovely and talented) smallest passenger was admittedly sitting behind me, so that I wouldn't have the steering wheel in my lap, but the two other six-footers sat one behind the other on the passenger side, and they weren't complaining. This may have been partially because they were getting a ride in the GT-R, but nonetheless -- try that in any other sub-4-second 0-60 car.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 4,419 miles

P.S. A special shout-out goes to six-footer Ola for literally stopping traffic in downtown Santa Monica in order to make this picture possible.

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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?

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Friendly

August 13, 2008


You meet nice people when you drive the Nissan GT-R.

This car is not just an attention getter. It gets attention from the car enthusiast crowd.

Take, for example, Paul. I was out this weekend to buy some patio furniture. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot of a popular outdoor furniture store in Santa Monica, Paul was all over our GT-R. He's read everything about the car and couldn't believe an actual GT-R pulled into his parking lot.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Unmatched Service Experience

August 13, 2008


Nissan recommends the GT-R's first service at 1,000 miles. At that point we were still in St. Louis. So we decided to wait until back in Santa Monica to see the dealer. Not all dealerships are qualified to service GT-Rs. But it happens our local Santa Monica Nissan is one of them.

We called to schedule a service appointment.

"We haven't seen a GT-R in for service yet. Heck, we finally got two of 'em in the showroom just the other week. Bring it by anytime tomorrow. But to warn you, it's an extensive service so we'll need it all day."

Our service experience was truly unique. We're sure some of it was due to the novelty of being their first GT-R. But there was more to it. We really felt as though the red carpet rolled out for us.

At this location one service writer handles all GT-R customers. And only one service technician is certified to work on GT-Rs. Both walked over to shake our hand and introduce themselves when we pulled up. This has never happened to us before. And we service cars for a living. The writer proceeded with the normal check-in questions, but at this point we were already impressed.

"We are still waiting for our alignment equipment to arrive, so we can't check that for another week or two. But we will perform all prescribed inspections and confirm the engine and transmission are still calibrated to the correct factory specifications."

We handed off the key and wandered to the showroom where we spoke with a salesman.

"They shipped us two GT-Rs, but both are already sold. They were bought by Donald Sutherland and Andrew Bynum. He's that tall guy on the Lakers."

How old is Donald Sutherland now anyway? A GT-R? We are figuring he meant Kiefer. And we're also figuring he doesn't realize all of the Lakers are tall in comparison to his 5'10" stature. Regardless, he pointed us toward their two GT-Rs tucked safely in an adjacent garage. We snapped a quick pic.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 5: Cortez to Moab to Home

August 09, 2008


I have a problem with underestimating driving distances, and that's why our 2009 Nissan GT-R and I are facing the prospect of driving 950 miles in one day. It doesn't matter. We're still going to take Highway 145 north toward Telluride (elevation: 8,700 feet) and then cross into Utah on CO Hwy 90/UT Hwy 46.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 3: R35 Survives a Storm

August 07, 2008


As soon as I cross the Missouri-Kansas state line and enter the toll section of Interstate 70, the 2009 Nissan GT-R and I are driving through a pretty terrific thunderstorm.

There's not much hail, fortunately, so the bodywork takes no welts. The flash flooding is considerable, though, and at times visibility seems like it's not more than a few feet in front of the Nissan's nose. Motorists are pulling to the shoulder. And the GT-R's Bridgestone Potenza RE070Rs, particularly the rears, are hard-pressed to find traction. I reduce speed (a lot) but still find myself countersteering every other minute. I don't know if I'd call these tires great in the wet. But given how much water is on the road, this isn't a fair test.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 2: I Can't Go Straight Home

August 06, 2008


I'm actually supposed to do this trip in 3 days, but 5 minutes after getting into our 2009 Nissan GT-R, I realize that's not happening. Granted, the GT-R's fast enough that I could probably do it in 2 days. But this is my first east-west drive across the United States -- I want to take every highway in my atlas. It's also the longest amount of time I've ever not had to share a high-end performance car.

I immediately give into nostalgia and point the GT-R toward Memphis, because about 10 years ago, I went to college there. I'd forgotten how nice the roads are here, and the GT-R's ride quality borders on compliant on I-40.

I arbitrarily decide to keep revs below 4,000 for engine break-in, but I later read that Nissan recommends keeping it under 3,500 rpm for the initial 400 miles. And until 1,300 miles, you're not supposed to use full throttle and you're supposed to keep the suspension in "Comf" mode to allow for maximum travel, says the owner's manual. It's OK, though. Even half throttle provides considerable speed, and you can still see triple digits during closed-course driving.

By the time I roll up to the midtown Memphis Holiday Inn Express (friendly staff here, by the way), my luggage is cooked. Outside temperatures have been mild, so it must be the rear transaxle that's causing every carpeted surface in here to heat up. For the rest of the trip, my backpack rides in the passenger footwell.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 1: Picking Up Godzilla

August 05, 2008


It's late afternoon in Franklin, Tennessee, when the airport shuttle van deposits me at Nissan of Cool Springs. The shuttle driver had trouble finding the place on his Garmin, which is odd since the dealership has been open for a year. Still, it looks sparkling new here. I look for our white 2009 Nissan GT-R on the showroom floor but learn it has already been moved to service for last-minute checks.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests