September 16, 2009
There is a particularly undulating stretch of the 405 freeway that I tackle every night on my way home.
In most cars, I barely notice the bumps. But when driving the Nissan GT-R, you really need to be in control of the steering wheel. The GT-R takes every road imperfection as a call to action. Not only do you feel it in your bum, but keeping the car within the confines of the lane lines is an adventure. You have to be alert and in command. And don't let go of that steering wheel.
Here is a video of Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson testing the Nissan GT-R in Japan.
September 15, 2009
Sure, our 2009 Nissan GT-R may not attract the average girl (according to editor Al Austria), but it certainly attracts a lot of challenges from the boyz. Yes, boys with a "z." You know what I'm talking about.
Late last night I was driving south on the 405 Freeway, barely any traffic around, and just cruising at 70 when in my peripheral I saw a car pull alongside my driver side and just hang there. He, I'm assuming it was a he, revved his engine and then jumped ahead and then dropped back again. I didn't even want to look at him because that would just engage him, right? He did it a couple more times, jumping forward and falling back. I felt like Spike the Bulldog in those old Warner Bros. cartoons with the excited Chester the Terrier jumping around me trying to get my attention. "Eh, sheddap," I could have said with one jab at the throttle.
Fortunately, my exit was coming up. I snuck a look at him as I exited but on the dark freeway couldn't really ID his car. An old Evo with tinted windows, I think it was. He looked all sad continuing on alone but I'm sure he found another car to play with.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
September 08, 2009
Enabling our longterm Nissan GT-R's "R" shift calibration setting requires you toggle this lever up for a second or two. In the "R" setting, the transmission shifts noticeably quicker than the default setting with no additional shift shock, making it the setting to use all the time.
I like "R" when the transmission is in full auto mode. I like "R" when it's in manual mode. And I switch amongst auto and manual modes a half-dozen times or more on any trip more than twenty minutes. I'd make "R" the default if I could, but it's no big deal to flip it on when I get in the car.
The real head-scratcher, though, is that the GT-R cancels the "R" setting every time I switch from auto to manual, or vice versa. Swtich to auto, re-engage R. Switch back to manual, re-engage R.
Makes no sense.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
August 24, 2009
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
July 22, 2009
At the first stoplight out of my neighborhood this morning I came up alongside a completely blacked-out Subaru WRX STI. Glancing to my right, I could see just enough of the driver to realize it was a very young, very pretty girl.
"I don't think so, sister," I thought to myself pressing my four-inch cork heel squarely into the Nissan GT-R's eager throttle, the Subie disappearing in my rearview mirror.
"Momma, did you remember to pack me an extra snack for after swim class?," asked a little voice from the supercar's tiny backseat.
And just as quickly I decelerated right back to reality.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 25,498 miles
July 06, 2009
Our longterm 2009 Nissan GT-R has always had a noted tendency to sniff out cambers. Super-sticky, wide tires plus stiff sidewalls and bushings will do that. There's not much we can do about it.
But how do other manufacturers address the issue? Over the weekend, at a park in San Francisco, I encountered one solution that has a whole bunch of drawbacks.
See, they rent these quadcycles which you can rent to ride around the park. They have truly awful steering in every sense of the word. But these rickety contraptions also manage to have absolutely zero bumpsteer.
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
June 11, 2009
"One who has the power to judge or ordain at will."
A curious thing happens when I drive the GT-R: People who insist on being de facto speed regulators (either by self-righteous choice or through a total lack of situational awareness), traveling 62 mph in the No. 1 lane with a half-mile of clear road in front of them, no longer irritate me quite so much. The anti-destination league doesn't have a chance when I've got 430 torques at my disposal from a mere 3,200 rpm.
Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 22,042 miles
June 08, 2009
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.
June 05, 2009
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.
June 05, 2009
June 02, 2009
It was almost a year ago that I picked our 2009 Nissan GT-R up in Nashville and drove it 3,000 miles across the U.S. Yet, I still get excited every time I get in this car -- as if I'm going to drive it again for the very first time.
And, you know, I think it's seating postion in the cockpit. This has to be one of the best resolved driving positions in any current-day sports car.
It takes a minute to get set up -- with a single rotary-looking knob that actually functions more like a joystick as the main seat adjustor. And then there's a separate toggle button for the height adjustment of the front half of the seat-bottom cushion. The steering wheel has separate manual levers for both telescope and tilt (the latter moves the whole gauge pack up and down).
Once all that's done, though, it feels wonderful to sit in the GT-R. The steering wheel sits and fits in your hands just so, and the seat has you all set up to be looking ahead and making quick decisions about where Godzilla is going next. And all the controls are a finger's stretch away. And, when you're stopped in traffic, that special GT-R badge is right there in front of your face.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor
June 01, 2009
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.
May 26, 2009
I snagged the GT-R for the long weekend -- score! Figuring that Saturday and Monday would be bad days for L.A.'s already notorious traffic, I limited those days to running errands and running down to Long Beach to play tennis, respectively. The real quality time would be spent Sunday, taking a day trip with my girlfriend to Santa Barbara, with stops at Calabasas (for Supercar Sunday) and Camarillo (for the outlets). I got my car fix at the former (saw everything from Jay Leno's 192? Bugatti racecar to a mint '67 Shelby GT 500) and some new Nike kicks for my gf at the latter.
Right about now you're thinking "Yeah, yeah, that's all very nice...what about the GT-R?"
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
May 14, 2009
The video of this 0-170 mph run is on the next page. Turn up the volume. Of course this was brought to you by a professional driver on a closed course. And that hired hot shoe told me that the GT-R didn't even know it was going stupid fast. Besides a slight lightening of the steering above 150 mph the car is dead stable at this speed. Rock solid enough for me...I mean the driver to work the video camera with one hand and steer with the other.
By the way, the GT-R still had more than 20 mph left in it (Nissan says it is aero limited to 193 mph), although it's interesting to see how the acceleration slows about 150 mph. Watch the digital speedo. From zero to a buck fifty the GT-R is accelerating in 3 or 4 mph chunks. But above 150 mph, after it shifts 6th gear, its essentially rolling in single digits.
May 01, 2009
The secret to happiness is the driver seat of our 2009 Nissan GT-R. OK, that might be a bit over the top but it's why I have that extra bounce in my step today, that silly grin that I can't seem to wipe off my face.
Sure, I drove the GT-R to Vegas but I never drove it drove it. But last night I slogged through rush-hour from Santa Monica to Glendale and then had a pretty open highway on the way back in the later hours. And this morning the freeways were actually moving so my drive to work only took me a quarter of the time it usually does. This thing is fast and comfortable and smooth and powerful and ohhhh. And, sorry for the expletives, but OMFG. I think everyone should get a chance to drive this car and then just maybe the world would be a better place.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 19,464 miles
April 28, 2009
Explaining forced induction to a youngster is like explaining the joy of motorcycling to your wife. Words don't work. You need first-person experience.
So after explaining supercharger/turbocharger boost to my 10-year-old son a couple weeks ago (with minimal success) I decided it was time for a first-person experience. Strapped into our Nissan GT-R's passenger seat I dialed up the custom LCD screen that displayed brake and throttle application, plus boost level, speed and G-force tracking.
After a short reminder of what the boost gauge was tracking ("This is the amount of air pressure being pushed into the combustion chamber.") I told my young Padawan to watch the throttle position and boost gauges. "You'll see the throttle gauge suddenly go from zero to 100 percent, and then you'll see the boost gauge follow. You'll also notice a change in the GT-R's forward momentum."
Like I said, talking about forced induction is one thing. Seeing it visually displayed on a gauge while simultaneously feeling it throughout your body is something else.
I'm happy to report that when it comes to understanding the benefits of forced induction my son definitely "gets it." And unlike the wife's opinion of motorcycling, he's not terrified by it.
Next on the lesson plan: Why lateral G-forces are cool.
Thank you, Nissan, for the helpful visual aids
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 19,223 miles
March 27, 2009
So our 2009 Nissan GT-R needs new rear tires. You don't think it has anything to do with the way we've been driving do you? This video is a prime example of what can happen when you put fresh tires on the front of a car and leave worn ones out back and go tearing around a skidpad. That's test driver Josh Jacquot's voice you hear over the radio at the beginning of the video. He's clearly a fan of this setup.
Total cost: $903.52 for a set of Bridgestone Potenza REO70R size 285/35R20. Stokes Tire Pros here in Santa Monica ordered them Wednesday, they showed up Thursday and were installed in about an hour (busy day).
March 05, 2009
As the GT-R sits cooling in the morning shade, I can't help but wonder about how others view this track bred street car. See, for the past two days I've been driving the GT-R in and around Long Beach, California and in that short time I've lost count of how many times someone challenged the GT-R to an impromptu street race. Here's a short list of the cars: Audi 1.8T Avant, Lexus SC??(does the number really matter), Mustang SVT Cobra, 5.0 Mustang, 2nd Gen RX-7, 90s Camaro Z28 and some kind of lowered Civic that looked like a reject from the VW "unpimp z auto" commercial.
Two theories have developed here in the office - 1) People are clueless and actually think their car has a chance and 2) These folks are enthusiasts, know what the GT-R is and just want to see/hear a Nissan GT-R go like stink. Which one do you think is accurate?
Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ 17,788 miles
February 20, 2009
While We were out at the track retesting our re-tuned GTR I couldn't resist suction-cupping a camera to the GTR and doing a few launch control acceleration runs. For valid blogging purposes of course.
This is 0-110 mph in our 2009 Nissan GT-R using the new launch control. There are two runs represented with three videos. The in-car video was shot by Riswick who was riding in the backseat. That video was also shot at the same time as the run where my camera was stuck to the roof. The final video, the wheel shot, was a seperate run.
February 18, 2009
So our GT-R is all reprogrammed and ready to blow the doors off anything on the road without so much as touching a paddle. Yep, that's right, you don't even need manual mode any more. Just leave it in "A1" and the thing will run 11s all day.
It's almost too easy. No, it's definitely too easy. I felt like dropping the hammer at every light this weekend. And why not? No launch-control mishaps to worry about right?
Well, not exactly. Our GT-R doesn't take off with the same clutch-shattering thrust it used to, but it's still not what you would call gentle.
Which made me wonder: Is Nissan digging itself an even bigger hole with the GT-R's new programming? Plenty of owners have already shown that they can't be trusted to know when to say when. Might this new form of launch control encourage more of the same? Shouldn't take long to find out.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, @ 17,039 miles
February 11, 2009
Bottom line, the GT-R with the revised software will be quicker with the VDC on, but not as quick as it was before with the VDC turned off. Only a trip to the track will reveal exactly how performance will be affected.
This is what we wrote a couple of weeks ago in our investigative piece Nissan Reprograms the GT-R. This reporting was based on interviews with many members of the GT-R team at Nissan's headquarters in Nashville, TN. It was also wrong. Turns out the GT-R gets quicker with the VDC on and off.
How do we know?
Well, we had our long-term GT-R reprogrammed and then we took it to the track. Here are the results:
0-30 mph-----1.6 sec.
0-45 mph-----2.5 sec.
0-60 mph-----3.6 sec. (3.4 sec. with one foot of rollout like on a dragstrip)
0-75 mph-----5.1 sec.
1/4 Mile-------11.7 sec. @ 118.5 mph
0-30 mph-----1.6 sec.
0-45 mph-----2.5 sec.
0-60 mph-----3.6 sec. (3.3 sec. with one foot of rollout like on a dragstrip)
0-75 mph-----5.0 sec.
1/4 Mile-------11.6 sec. @ 118.9 mph
February 09, 2009
(photo by Kurt Niebuhr)
"Do the reprogram."
"Come on, for the sake of investigative journalism?"
"Don't do it. You all are responsible enough not to ruin this car." ( Says you.)
"I vote no.
Use the car the way you bought it."
We went back and forth internally for about 5 minutes on this one. On the one hand, launch control is awesome, and with the GT-R it'll dig four troughs in the asphalt before shifting to 2nd and hitting 60 in under four seconds. It's a parlour trick we just can't get enough of.
But then there's every other reason we should get the transmission "recalibrated:" It's what most owners (probably) will do. We'll be less likely to blow up our GT-R. You get the idea.
The debate came to an end on Friday when we got the call from our local Nissan dealer that they had the update. This is despite the Letter to Dealers we published that said GT-R owners would be notified on the 16th. We jumped at the chance. It would allow us to get new performance numbers and let other owners know what to expect. It was a no-brainer at that point.
Turns out the release was available well before this (as some people have already run some quick times post-mod), but then pulled back and re-released. We're not sure what they did in that downtime, but owners who had it done prior to last Friday might want to check back with their dealership. We have the final release.
Our GT-R took the new tune without an issue and was in the care of Nissan of Santa Monica for about two hours. Ours was the first customer car re(de?)tuned.
The new transmission calibration came in lockstep with the new tires we had ordered from Stokes Tire Pros here in Santa Monica. A new set of Bridgestone Potenza RE070R size 255/40ZR20 showed up Saturday morning and were mounted that same day. The total cost was $853.90. The manual says that all four tires may need to be replaced at any time. Ours did not. The rears are still in great shape.
Stay tuned for post-recalibration test numbers.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 16,389 miles
February 05, 2009
By now everyone and their mother knows Nissan is going to have its dealers contact all existing GT-R owners and ask them to voluntarily bring their GT-Rs to the store for a software change that affects the car's launching with its VDC system on and with it off. We broke that story on Edmunds a week ago (Nissan Reprograms the GT-R) and have been waiting for the phone call from Santa Monica Nissan ever since.
Remember, we bought our 2009 Nissan GT-R from a dealer, just like 1,700 or so other Americans did last year. But, the question is: Should we do it? We like our car just the way it is. Should we voluntarily have our long-term GT-R altered to better protect its pricey transaxle and ourselves from the possible repair costs?
I don't think we should. What do you think?
Scott Oldham, Edmunds Editor in Chief
January 30, 2009
As the economy continues to sputter, we here at the Long-Term Blog are turning our attention to burning questions that are in tune with these troubled times. Such as the following:
Which is better, the GT-R's dual-clutch automated manual transmission or Porsche's new PDK?
I'd like to leave aside the question of durability, since we've just reported that less than one percent of GT-Rs have experienced the infamous transaxle failure. But Nissan's eliminating launch control from future GT-Rs, so there must be something to it. As for PDK, it can weather 40 consecutive launches without issue, according to Porsche, and nothing in our experience suggests otherwise. Advantage: PDK.
The margin only widens at speed, where PDK proves utterly seamless in full automatic mode and serves up lightning-quick yet remarkably smooth manual shifts in "Sport." The GT-R's transmission is very good, but there's some perceptible thunking through the gears, and its downshifts aren't as quick as PDK's.
So there's your answer: Godzilla's good, but PDK's better. It's still no manual substitute, though, and never will be.
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com
January 28, 2009
Our GT-R is down. No, the transaxle hasn't gone kapow, the front tires have. Check it out; both are corded on the inside edge of the tread. A Nissan engineer tells me he's surprised they lasted this long. "If they keep the suspension in the performance alignment settings, as you obviously have, most customers will get between 12,000-15,000 miles out of the first set of tires," he told me.
He's right. All GT-Rs are delivered with a performance alignment. It increases the car's grip due to a fair amount of negative camber, but it also accelerates front tire wear. There are less aggressive alignment settings that Nissan recommends, and your dealer will make the adjustment if you wish. We never wished. Our car has always had the performance alignment.
And now it is parked awaiting new front tires, which won't be cheap. Considering we just bought new rubber for our BMW 135i, this is not good timing.
Scott Oldham, Edmunds Editor in Chief @ 16,383 miles
January 27, 2009
Not long after Ferris Bueller charms Cameron out of the keys to his dad's prized Ferrari (cue the Yello song "Oh Yeah"), you can just barely pick out Ferris shouting "Redline! Redline! Redline!" as he mashes the throttle and bolts out of the frame toward downtown Chicago.
This morning, it was me doing the throttle mashing. But my exclamation "Redline! Redline. Redline ... Redline?" was not one of pure exuberance; I was counting the damn things.
That's right, our 2009 Nissan GT-R has four redlines. At least. And that's not including any temperature or pressure gauges.
Of course the twin-turbo V6 engine has a redline, and it's 7,000 rpm. But the GT-R also has redlines for steering (0.5 lateral g, as shown above), braking (0.4 longitudinal g) and acceleration (0.3 longitudinal g.)
January 20, 2009
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.
January 13, 2009
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
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)
"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)
December 30, 2008
A week in the GT-R is like hanging out with Superman. Wherever you stop, people notice, and if stationary long enough, begin to congregate. Matronly types with no interest at all in automobiles put their hand near their mouth (as if the GT-R might overhear) and comment in unconsciously sultry tones on how fast the car looks. Small groups mingle on sidewalks to watch you pull away, witness to the jet-like roar as the car spools its turbos. All the while, you're ensconced in a bunker-like cocoon with fantastic seats. Beyond the ill-deserved attention, my wife specifically asked me not to bring this car home again. Why?
It was certainly not for the GT-R's chiseled good looks. This is a fairly massive coupe, but it deftly hides that bulk in a square-jawed way that grabs you as you approach the car. Favreau should have put Iron Man in this rather than the R8. In white, especially when approached from the front, its gaping maw does make it look like a whale shark has trolled onto your driveway. But in the darker shades, this is one menacing machine. Though I never got the chance to snap a photo of the two together over the holiday, a neighbor down the end of my block has a black GT-R (welcome to L.A.), and trust me, it's all ate up with menacing.
So what was up with the shun? My spouse's cruel request stemmed from the GT-R's suspension tuning. On SoCal's beautifully constructed concrete freeways, the expansion joint hop can make the GT-R a brutal penalty box over long freeway stretches. Granted, this is not a car tuned for freeway running, but in the spirit of other great grand-touring machines, this stands out from an otherwise impressive all-rounder.
The GT-R does feature an adjustable suspension, which helps calm what still feels like a combination of a brutal spring rate and overly aggressive compression damping. But even in the comfort mode, poor pavement will have the GT-R's stiff chassis transferring pounding impacts to the cabin. For all the time most owners will spend on the track, I'd happily trade the suspension's "R" mode for a silkier setting below the "Conf" notch. They could save the range of this setup, or an even stiffer one, for the upcoming GT-R V Spec.
This realm of suspension tuning is an area where the European manufacturers still seem to have an edge over their Japanese counterparts. Compliance combined with sporting control is the Euro's ace in the hole. Perhaps it's Japan's lucky emphasis on excellent road quality, but many sporting machines from Japan seem tuned in a test-track vacuum. We're always seeing GT-R mules flitting around the Nurburgring, but suspensions tuned for lap-time bragging rights often run counter to real world livability. While at the Nordschleife, they might want to hound some of the BMW crew.
This poor-pavement punishment is a standout anomaly, as the GT-R would otherwise happily serve as an everyday supercar. I can't say enough about the stellar, grippy seats, the tranny is responsive in manual mode and still works well in stop-and-go traffic, even the trunk is usefully spacious. Chassis feedback is limited as you really push this beast, but that limit is so ridiculously high, few will ever approach it on the street. Do you think if we could get some Japanese suspension engineers to apprentice for a while at BMW, they'd finally seal the ride/handling gap?
Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 14,783 miles
December 17, 2008
I awoke this morning to the coldest temps in recent memory around here. Which, in Santa Monica, means high 40s, so yeah, not really cold at all. Still, the cool air seemed to have chilled the GT-R's bones a bit as it turned over a little more lazily than usual. I also noticed that the dashboard display screen took a minute or two to warm up like some old vacuum tube TV
That said, once everything was up to temp the GT-R had no trouble with the slick roads from last night's rain. Like Roman's pointed out earlier, you don't realize how insane all-wheel drive can be until you try laying down some serious horsepower on a damp, cold street. There was a slip here and there, but for the most part the GT-R could still muster a pretty serious launch. Not the mythical transmission-busting kind of launch, but certainly one that would leave a rear-wheel drive car wallowing in the Nissan's tire spray.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 14,067 miles
December 05, 2008
So how fast is it w/o using launch control?" asked Desmolicious. This was the first reply when Straightline broke the news that the 2010 Nissan GT-R would not be available with the launch control feature that helps the car get some pretty amazing times. Turns out that this sort of thing -- electronically dumping the clutch on a 480-hp, AWD car with the revs way up -- could do some pretty serious damage to the gearbox as well as the tires. "We just don't want to deal with the warranty nightmare anymore. It'll make the 2009 GT-R really special. It'll be the only R35 with launch control." Said a ranking Nissan Exec.
There's been a lot of speculation on the performance, but we have data loggers and test drivers and a closed test facility, we don't need to speculate. Last week we put our 2009 Nissan GT-R back on the starting line, this time without launch control. Follow the jump for the numbers.
0-60 : 3.53
1/4 mile @ mph: 11.77 @ 118.63
0-60 : 4.0
1/4 mile @ mph: 12.3 @ 118.5
Comments: "After trying every combination of suspension settings, shift protocol, automatic and manual shift, and traction control, I tried a completely default run (Normal: shift, suspension, trac) and it effectively tied my all-R / Manual shifted run. Big bog out of the hole, but then it goes like stink."
December 01, 2008
I was reminded this weekend why supercars like the GT-R aren't all that great. They're too damn fast. As in, if I dip into even half of this car's capability, there could be jail time in my future. The GT-R is especially guilty of this. Unlike a hard-edged Viper or Z06 Corvette, the Nissan is so tame that going ridiculously fast feels quite comfortable. It made driving one of my favorite mountain roads this weekend a lesson in restraint. Maybe I should have taken the 1-Series instead.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 12,144 miles
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
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
November 18, 2008
On Saturday morning I took our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R to the hand wash. I was going to display it that evening at our unveil party for the 2009 Nissan 370Zand it was in deep need of a bath. Of course, everyone at the car wash wanted to know about the car, including a nice man there to bathe his almost new 350Z.
He wanted to know how much faster the GT-R was than his Z, which by the way was rolling on heavy 19s. I told him the GT-R was much faster than his Z. That it wasn't even close. That the GT-R's speed was in a whole other dimension than his ride.
He wasn't buying it. "But they're both V6s," he said. "Same engine, how can one be that much faster than the other? My Z would be just as quick if I threw on a turbo."
I argued the benefits of the GT-R's special engine, dual-cluch transmission and all-wheel drive, but he wasn't buying. So I offered to take him for a ride.
Screw the warranty. I set the launch control and blew his mind. He had no idea a car could be as quick as the GT-R. Its performance was actually out of the man's limited imagination, beyond what he thought was possible. After three gears he begged me to slow down.
It was such a good launch I went back to the spot after I dropped the guy off at his Z. The GT-R laid a 23 ft. patch (look closely at the photo) with its rear tires before the all-wheel drive system caught up and send some of that power to the front tires.
Scott Oldham, Edmunds Editor in Chief
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
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
October 06, 2008
The first time I really laid into the GT-R was merging onto the highway Saturday morning. The absolutely effortless acceleration and jet-like engine aria were astonishing -- I giggled for a good 30 seconds. Sadlier was dead on when he described it as like driving a plane. Actually, the last time I felt such a sensation was on a small private jet.
So when I drew the GT-R for the weekend, I immediately changed my plans and jetted out for 24 hours in Las Vegas.
Given the fact I live farther away than Jacquot does, I knew I couldn't touch his absurd time from the week before, but on a Saturday morning I figured I could at least set a new record for myself. Averaging around -- mph and keeping pace with other cars, I got from Santa Monica to the Luxor in 3.5 hours. And what a few hours it was. Once you clear the god-awful Los Angeles freeway surfaces, the GT-R's Comf suspension setting becomes less ironic and I could actually enjoy the ride. The seats I initially lamented for pinching a little too much and not offering adjustable bolsters like in the G37, actually became wonderfully comfortable as the drive went on. My girlfriend (who is basically half my size) concurred that the seats were excellent.
Other than the suspension, I couldn't ask for a better Vegas car than the GT-R. Reason one is the turbo-6 doesn't blink at the countless inclines. Reason two is the ability to blow past the ExpeTahoeBurbans and dimwitted Priuses that diligently cling to the left lane. This was a bigger deal on the way back Sunday with much heavier traffic. Although I hate passing on the right (since it's not so legal), they leave you little choice with their complete lack of lane discipline. After giving them a brief opportunity to get the hell out of Godzilla's way, I yell out "Shake and bake baby!" and like a pilot pushing down on the throttle at take-off, nudge into the GT-R's jet engine. Holy crap it's fun.
And yet with such speed and fun, I managed 19.78 mpg over the whole trip (one tank each way, 18.5 mpg there, 21.4 back). That's pretty darn good considering I only got 20.2 mpg out of a Dodge Journey on the exact same journey three weeks ago. JDP could also only manage 17.1 mpg out of the R8 on the much flatter trip to Phoenix.
Given all this and the fact it has a useful trunk and lots of entertainment options, the GT-R is a phenomenal road trip car...as long as the road's good enough for Comf to actually mean Comf.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 8,318 miles
(I'll have some more GT-R trip stories this week over on Thoughts from the Curb)
October 01, 2008
Shook hands with Godzilla last night, and had a brief, but enjoyable visit. This thing's good. I only experienced two freeway on-ramps to get just a hint of the handling, but it sticks like glue through the turns. If you probed the limits on a public road, you may find yourself on your head. The steering is good, but not great. But the acceleration at speed is amazing, the fastest I've ever experienced. If you mash the throttle on the freeway, there may not be a downshift but there's no drama; you're just gone. And you find yourself quickly going crazy fast. As Dan said, the speedo's useless, but there is a nice digital speed display so you can confirm the traffic citation.
September 26, 2008
It appears that our GT-R is back on form. Thanks to a little help from our Escort 9500i radar detector it set down a nice baseline for future OC to Vegas time trials yesterday morning. How does 266.3 miles in two hours and 54 minutes sound?
Actually, we did nothing of the sort. Only irresponsible hacks who care little about the safety of others would do something like that. So cool it with the comments.
September 26, 2008
With all of the hubbub surrounding the recent repairs on our long term 2009 Nissan GT-R we thought we'd bring things back around and focus on the point of the GT-R: going fast.
We ran our GT-R (our car purchased from a dealership, not a press vehicle) through all of our normal performance tests, 0-60, 1/4-mile, 60-0, slalom and skidpad.
Follow the link for the full details.
2009 Nissan GT-R Performance Test:
0-60 with rollout(): 3.5
1/4-mile: 12.0 @ 114.7
Comments: "Seems like both the driver and the car are working properly, but this isn't as quick as we've seen in the past. Launch is good, but 60 and 1/4 (times) are off slightly. Got noticeably slower the more we ran it. Quit at 4 runs."
60-0: 108 feet
30-0: 28 feet
Comments: "Again, everything feels to spec, yet 108 is a long way from previous 98 ft best."
Slalom: 73.6 mph
Comments: "Suddenly the GT-R feels 400-lbs lighter in the slalom. The biggest challenge is not hitting cones (especially on the driver's right side). Discovered a counter intuitive trait this time: if it understeers, wood the throttle and let the computers take care of it."
Skidpad: .91 G
Comments: "All setting on full attack but it understeered its way to a .091G. Seems "off" to me."
Oh, about that 27.4 mpg thing. On the same day as this test I was charged with escorting a test car, ferried by trailer, on a 250+ mile trek. We were limited to Trucks with Trailer speed limits (which were occasionally ignored by my right foot) on California's 5 highway. The digital display read 29.5, but our calculations had it a bit lower; 27.4. Beats my best Z06 mileage (25.5) by a hair.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 5,000 miles
August 15, 2008
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.
August 14, 2008
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?
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.
August 08, 2008
Our long-term Nissan GT-R and I enter Colorado on Interstate 70, but quickly divert to U.S. 24 and I-25. We're headed to Walsenburg, south of Pueblo. We'll cross the state via the southern east-west highway, U.S. 160, which, judging by my atlas, looks like it has its share of twists, turns and elevation changes. Later, I have second thoughts and wish I'd picked twistier U.S. 50, but with a motel booked in Cortez for the evening, we have to press on.
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.