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Nissan GT-R 2011 review: snapshot

It must be galling for wealthy punters who put down half a million bucks on the latest Ferrari, Porsche or Lambo to know there's a car out there, a third of the price, that blows them into the weeds in performance terms and most probably handling too.

It mightn't look a sweet as the new Ferrari 458 Italia but man oh man, the 2011 version of Nissan's R35 GTR makes up for any styling shortfall in the way it goes.


Nissan's comprehensive revamp of the GTR makes it the best yet in every sense.

The hand-made, twin-turbo, 3.8-litre, V6 engine moves up to 390kW/612Nm output while at the same time uses less fuel rated at an average of 12.0-litres/100km. For the mechanically attuned engine detail changes are numerous but it's mostly about more turbo boost. There are larger diameter intake and exhaust tracts and the exhaust system is free flowing. This plus an engine computer re-calibration and altered valve timing.

The dual-clutch manumatic transmission has been uprated for quicker shifts and "predictive" operation based on accelerator position. The all wheel drive system is improved offering a drive split of up to 100 per cent to the rear wheels and a torque vectoring function is achieved through electronic controls and limited slip differentials front and rear.

Six piston front brakes measure 390mm in diameter and are squeezed by Brembo calipers. Rear brakes a four piston. Bilstein aluminium dampers offer comfort and sport modes and the 20-inch wheels weigh less than before and carry specially made Dunlop Sport rubber.


Nissan matched the performance boost with new styling inside and out featuring LED front driving lights, new bumpers and a larger front grille. Aerodynamic drag is now down to 0.26 - extremely low.

The interior retains all of the previous model's features including a comprehensive read-out panel offering info' right down to cornering g forces and rate of acceleration. Equipment levels are luxury car level. You get leather heated seats, big screen satnav, premium audio with a 10 gig music "box", column mounted gear change paddles in magnesium and Recaro seats among a host of goodies.


What's it like to drive? Sledgehammer springs to mind. Makes mug drivers look and feel like champions. There's brutal acceleration everywhere and a redline of 7000rpm accompanied by a superb exhaust note. Testing reveals the newly tweaked GTR stops the clocks for a 0-100kmh sprint in "around" 3.0 seconds.

We actually got close to that time simply by engaging the "launch control" mode that is easily accessible through the GTR's multi- mode dynamic controls. Basically you put everything in R, put your left foot on the brake, push the accelerator to the floor with your right foot then side-step the brake pedal.

The effect is much like a theme park ride (the slingshot) where your eyeballs and guts are pushed back into your body and you feel queasy after the second go. We experienced no brake fade even though the discs are steel and it never put a wheel out of place.

Driving this car was an awesome experience. And all for a trifling $168,800.

Any downside? The hard ride would wear thin after a short while and it's difficult to get 100 octane fuel though 98 is OK. The styling grows on you but we still think the bum is too big. And you can hear the gearbox shuffling through the ratios downchanging.

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(base) 3.8L, PULP, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO $54,400 – 68,750 2011 Nissan GT-R 2011 (base) Pricing and Specs
Premium 3.8L, PULP, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO $55,200 – 69,850 2011 Nissan GT-R 2011 Premium Pricing and Specs
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