In 2007 Nissan revealed the GT-R. The successor of the legendary and beloved Skyline GT-R. Immediately after its introduction it completely turned the car world upside down. It absolutely crushed all competition, and it just gets better year by year. In front of me was a car. It’s red, it’s massive and packs a punch that makes other supercars twice its price feel nervous, and I had the opportunity to try it out for a couple of hours. The first time I laid my eyes on the GT-R was on the Scuderia Hanseat racing course at the Nürburgring in 2008. I did not really like the looks of it, it looked to big and clumsy. During the years it has really grown on me and now I actually like the looks of it a lot. It has a really intimidating presence, and I like that in a car.
The first feeling that hits you is that it’s big. Actually, it feels huge. It has a really hefty look. Nice, bulgy hips and front fenders toghether with a low stance. It looks almost like a bodybuilder. The red color together with the grey rims gives it the right contrasts and it looks really good. The car in front of me was a car of model year 2012. As most GT-R’s nowadays it’s tuned and tweaked. A new exhaust from the catalysts and back, new brakes and some programming to tell the engine to work a tad more efficient.
When you get in to the car the initial feeling is that it’s a bit plastic, but it has a solid feel to it. The steering-wheel is the perfect size and thickness. It fits my fingers perfectly. The shifter-paddles behind the wheel also have a solid feel to them with a nice “click” sound when used, although I would have preferred to have them a bit closer to the steering wheel because as they are now, I have to stretch my fingers. It could also have something to do with my small hands.
On the instrument panel it’s the usual gauges. A rev-counter in the middle, speedometer to the left and a couple of temperature gauges together with the fuel gauge. There was a large amount of buttons on the steering wheel that I actually never understood what they did. They are probably used for bluetoothing and cruise controlling. They sadly had a plastic feel to them as well, but they did not rattle. Which is a good thing. Some cars that has less plastic interiors rattles like a box of legos in the back of my golf. To the right, you have a multi-function display. The interface looks exactly like on the Gran Turismo racing simulators. The funny thing is that it’s actually the same company that does the interface. Gran Turismo players will feel right at home!
Here you can see all kind of information. As an aviator, I like to see as much information as I possibly can so I can see how the car is doing. On the screen, you can get g-meters that measures in all directions, how much you press the gas and brake pedal, temperature and pressure for basically all the fluids in the car except the washer fluid. It wouldn’t surprise me if it would show me my current pulse. It’s all very easy to use and you can customize it as you want. You can even have several customized screens so another driver can simply get his or her preferred gauges in a press of a button. I played around a bit in the menus, and it made perfect sense with all the settings and setups. That is something other companies need to get better at. I’m looking at you BMW. Below, you have buttons for the traction-control and the general mood of the car. From comfort to race.
Continuing to scan the interior I eventually looked behind me.This car is said to be a four-seater. I must admit that I’m not sure about that. A child seat or a really, really small child maybe. But a grown up must saw their legs of to fit back there. That would be messy to do every time you went out on a drive whith your mates.
It’s of course a keyless go as every new car and all you need to do is pressing the BRB. The Big Red Button and the engines rumbles into life. It’s a surprisingly deep rumble for such an engine. It’s nice. It could be the new exhaust system on this car.
What about the powerplant? It’s a true masterpiece. A 3,8L V6 with two turbochargers that gives it a high power output with a laughable ease for tuning to almost deranged powerlevels. It is built by almost mythical master craftsmen in a hermetically sealed, constant temperature laboratory. It’s actually the same guy that builds the complete engine, since the skill level between humans are not exactly the same.
It is told that it should turn out about ~550hp. As I said earlier, this car is a bit tuned. These small tweaks pushes the power up to 610-ish horsepower and a stupendous 800nm of torque. That is a lot. The thing is, some people say that It’s like a Nuclear warhead. Well, kind of. I see it as a tactical nuke. I’m a bit puzzled with the GT-R because with this weight and power, it should not be as quick as it is. Almost two tonnes and power that was a lot a couple of years ago. Despite this, it can do the sprint from 0-100km/h in under 3 seconds. It should not be physically possible. But it does it. With exceptional violence.
To get a feeling for the car, I went out to a nice biker-road called Bogesundsvägen and did some “Inspired driving”. The steering is direct and is as prescise as a surgerons knife. The power-steering is just enough. Not to light and not to heavy. The chassis is exceptionally balanced with a tad of oversteer if you overdrive it. The suspension is a bit too firm for a road car, but really nice when you drive on curvy roads. The gearbox is a thing of beauty as well. A double clutch-system that allows you to throw in another gear during a bend. It shifts so quickly the car does not have time to transfer the weight as it does in a manual car that usually makes the car end up in a ditch.
I was astonished about the power delivery, grip and driveability of the car. You can enter a corner way too early and step on the gas pedal. The four-wheel drive pulls you into the corner and effortlessly catapults you out of the bend in a perfect four-wheel power slide. It moves forward and changes direction with such ease you feel confident about the car immediately. It did not take long until I was darting around the back roads at frightening speeds. It almost thought I was driving on a scalextric track. I have driven Supercars that drives worse than this with a price tag that is more than twice that of the Nissan GT-R. It’s extraordinary.
Later that same day, I took one of my tame racing drivers out on a drive. After a couple of ultra-quick corners and time-bending accelerations. It said to me in a couple of chirping noises and toots that it loved the immense power, steering and grip, but it lacked driving feel.
After the drive, I sat down next to the car and wondered what I should think. The first thing I noticed what I felt. Or more to the point, what I didn’t feel. That feel that you can’t really measure. The car did not move me, it did not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I really want to like the car, but somehow I can’t. It’s just “a quick car”. It’s not as emotional as some other cars. As you drive along, with or without the safety-systems on, you can feel the computers aiding you to become the fastest driver on earth. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The car is a technological masterpiece that should be reckoned with for years to come. Hell, I can actually go so far as saying this car is the new bar to measure the performance of new supercars. It’s that mind-boggingly good.
Would I recommend it? Without a doubt. I want to love it. But I can’t.
It’s absolutely one of the best performance cars ever built. But that is also one of its faults. It’s too good.
Thanks a bunch to Eric Cederberg at bilhalleninorrort.se/ for the loan of the car.