Is the Nissan GT-R Japan’s greatest-ever production grand touring sports coupe?
Some might say it is the world’s greatest, with an incredible dedication to performance and driving pleasure that is the pure essence of the now-defunct brand that started the lineage with the Skyline GT-R some half a century ago.
Nowadays, the Skyline name does not exist in many markets outside of Japan, and it is a very separate entity to the R35 GT-R that debuted at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.
A mid-mounted front-engined all-wheel-drive two-door four-seater coupe sitting on a unique platform developed from an earlier architecture that debuted in the V35 Skyline all the way back in 2001, the aluminium-intensive GT-R may be entering its teen years, but it has steadily been improved and updated since launching on the world market as an MY2009 model.
Powered by a hand-built 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine known as the VR38DETT, and driving all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, it initially belted out 358kW of power and 583Nm of torque, but that figure grew steadily over the years in the standard production models, to 362kW/588Nm in 2010, 395kW/607Nm in 2012, 406kW/628Nm in 2013 and 421kW/633Nm from 2017.
These are standard international figures. In 2021, the Australian-market Premium and Track grades are officially rated at 419kW/632Nm, with maximum power coming in at 6800rpm, while the Nismo flagship delivers 441kW/652Nm.
So, how fast is the GT-R? Very.
Back in 2007, Nissan said it can manage an impressive 315km/h, with a 0-100km/h time of 3.2 seconds in a launch control mode, which necessitates turning off the traction and stability controls known as Vehicle Dynamic Control in Nissan-speak.
Later GT-Rs feature an "R-Mode Start" to help achieve that 3.2s start more easily, consistently and safely, while in 2017 that 0-100km/h figure dropped down to a startling 2.7s, with an independent test managing to coax 328km/h out of the car.
That latter figure, by the way, is for all GT-Rs, including the Nismo version. In contrast, the 2020 Porsche 992 911 Turbo S coupe manages the same time and just 2km/h more in the top-speed stakes, employing a 478kW/800Nm 3.7-litre flat-six twin-turbo engine, so the Nissan’s still well in the game.
Finally, there is an R35 GT-R swansong on the horizon, before its long-anticipated R35 successor comes on stream sometime around 2023 or after.
Dubbed the ‘Final’ and due in 2022, it is expected to boast a heady 530kW of power, according to some reports.
|Nissan GT-R||$193,300||3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 (AWD)||419kW/632Nm||2.7 sec|
|Porsche 911 Turbo S||$473,500||3.7-litre twin-turbo flat-six (AWD)||478kW/800Nm||2.7 sec|
|Ferrari Portofino||$403,888||3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 (RWD)||441kW/760Nm||3.5 sec|
|BMW M8 Competition||$357,900||4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 (AWD)||460kW/750Nm||3.2 sec|
|McLaren GT||$325,900||4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 (RWD)||456kW/630Nm||3.2 sec|
|Tesla Model S Performance||$152,675||Dual electric motors (AWD)||450kW/967Nm||2.5 sec|