You know in the first Iron Man movie when Tony Stark takes his armour out for its very first flight in Malibu, and he spends the whole experience with the world’s most terrified grin on his face? That’s the face you’ll pull every single time you hit the accelerator on the Nissan GT-R.
In case you were wondering, this is that scene.
- Engine: 3.8-litre, twin turbo V6/li>
- Gearbox: Automatic with paddle-shift option
- Entertainment System: 7-inch touchscreen
- Bluetooth: Yes (phone and media streaming)
- Fuel consumption: 16L/100km
A beastly supercar that genuinely put my back out for four days while I was reviewing it.
If you’ve ever grown up gawking at pictures of sexy Skylines, this is the grown-up’s version that you simply must drive to believe.
It’s powered by the weaponised 3.8-litre twin turbocharged V6 engine from Nissan, each of which is hand-build by a its own special technician using amazingly futuristic equipment to monitor quality control.
It produces 404kW of power at 6400rpm, and generates 628Nm of torque between 3200 and 5800rpm.
It’s running on an all-wheel drive system, and packs in a traction control system that, along with the nitrogen-filled, Dunlop SP Sport MAXX tyres painted on top of the 20-inch black alloy wheels, works to tear your face off in the corners.
As far as tech is concerned, the car is packing a premium Bose audio system with 11 speakers and two subwoofers in the palace of a centre-rear seat. Those are locked up in a gorgeous aluminium case and serve as the splitter between the two back seats so your passengers can be rocked both by the music and the exhilirating drive.
There’s a 7-inch LCD touchscreen complete with media functions, phone capabilities and in-dash GPS, and ports for your iPod, iPhone or Android phone. Alternatively you can just connect it over Bluetooth and stream your tunes wirelessly. On top of all that, there’s a built-in hard drive in the GT-R with just shy of 10GB of storage on board, so you can keep your favourite tracks in the car if you’re that way inclined.
That touchscreen can also serve to show you various data points about your drive, including G-force developed, Boost pressure, power output and fuel economy (ha!) via controls that are straight out of Gran Turismo.
Over and above the specs on the original GT-R, the GT-R Premium features extra bells and whistles to make your purchase even sweeter. You get LED daytime running lights, LED tail and brake lights, body colour spoiler and (heated) mirrors, aluminium door handles which sit flush to the body for better aerodynamics and a baffling 30 seconds spent trying to open to door, UV reducing solar glass on the windows and 5-inch polished exhaust pipes.
The cost for this vehicular godzilla? $170,800.
Every country has its own signature when it comes to cars. Australian cars (for now) are incredibly versatile; German cars are incredibly luxurious; Italian cars are full of passion and vigour and Japanese cars like the GT-R are technologically spectacular.
The GT-R is still one of the most technically complex cars ever built, with each car hand-built by robots in clean room laboratories. The commitment to quality is unending, and the results that stem from this meticulousness means that the 2014 GT-R is a true driver’s car.
Despite the fact that the GT-R is rather weighty on the road with its AWD system, two additional seats and a relatively generous boot that other cars in its price range wouldn’t have, it’s still able to turn your face inside out once you press the hyperspace button disguised as an accelerator pedal. 0-100 is dealt with in under 3 seconds. For what it’s worth, you’re able to regain control over your bodily fluids within that time also. For the most part.
The GT-R also comes equipped with a bonkers feature called Launch Control which allows you to build up the revs in first gear with the car’s suspension and engine in race mode so you can guarantee that clock-blitzing 0-100 time. I promise* I only tried it a handful of times.
The top speed of the GT-R is also completely ballistic. So much so that I wasn’t brave enough to find it. I’m not willing to write down what I topped out at, but it’s faster than any of the boys in blue would be happy with, I expect.
That’s when I learned just how good the GT-R’s monstrous brakes were. The enormous Brembo disc brakes you see tucked inside the rims are definitely not just there for show. The only thing that’s going to stop you faster is a tet-a-tet with a tree, and that tends to affect handling a little once you managed to pry it out.
Combine the fierce acceleration, bonkers top speed and gravity slowing brakes with the GT-R’s cornering ability and you find that it just about cracks the formula for the perfect track car. Put that one the road and you find yourself taking every set of bends like you’re on a race day: aiming to clip the apex of each and power out into the next exhilarating corner. This car takes normal roads and makes them fun.
The level of quality continues inside the cabin as well. The hand-stitched leather seats with accented thread, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, along with a carbon fibre centre console makes the GT-R a beautiful place to sit.
The seats themselves are hardcore racing buckets, but they’re comfortable enough to treat the GT-R as a great tourer.
The GT-R is a fantastic supercar, because not only can it mash your face in the corners, give you an idiotic grin when you hit the accelerator pedal and keep you supremely comfortable while you do it, it’s also astoundingly practical. Normally, a supercar would have deleted the back seats to save weight, shrunk or just abandoned the boot and replaced it with a little cubby hole somewhere on the car for your backpack and still charged you the Earth for it. That’s not the GT-R’s bag, baby.
You get two rear seats on the GT-R, as well as a decent boot for storing your gear. Now, the rear seats aren’t exactly the most spacious in terms of leg or head room: put anyone over six feet tall in there and you’ll have problems, nor is the boot something you can use to help someone move, but it’s more practical than you’d find on anything of the same class.
The in-car entertainment system is also handy to have. It’s configured so it faces the driver directly, rather than sitting flush with the console itself. Thanks to that awesome positioning and a handy set of tracking tools, the screen acts as a co-pilot, giving you all the stats you need to squeeze more power out of the car or track just how much force you’re generating for yourself.
I could go on all day about the GT-R, and I’m now sad that I had to give it back.
There’s no denying it: the GT-R is insanely expensive. $170,000 is unusually steep for a car that originally started its life as a sub-$100,000 supercar for the masses, but instead the price has now bloated out to near-unaffordable proportions. And the damage to your bank balance doesn’t stop once you leave the showroom, either: the GT-R is thirstier than anything I’ve ever driven and ever expect to drive.
At one point the GT-R was doing 19L/100km in our tests. Admittedly we had been “driving with spirit”, meaning that the consumption went back down to an average of 16L/100km, but still: that’s bonkers. It just eats fuel in one big bite, and no amount of eco-driving can keep it happy. This thing just wants to roar and race.
The only other niggling issue we found was in the software for the in-car entertainment system had a few “moments” to itself during setup. It’s a bit of a drag to try and get everything connected (it took me about 20 minutes to pair, unpair, repair and repeat), but it’s great once you get going.
Should You Buy It?
Nissan isn’t the first name you think of when it comes to luxury supercars.
Let’s be honest: if you’re going to spend over $150,000 on a luxury supercar, it’s probably going to bear the beautiful wings of an Aston Martin or the proud stallion of Ferrari, rather than the circular badge shared by cars designed to do the school run every day.
And that’s a shame. Because all that being said, there’s something indescribable about the GT-R. It’s like being grabbed by a four-wheeled King Kong and flung around.
From the moment you fire up that beastly engine to the moment the noise fades away from around you and all you’re left with is the ringing in your ears, the smile on your face and a glisten in your eye.
Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s a car that yobs seem to enjoy crashing most these days and yes, it doesn’t have the same brand recognition in supercar parlons that its competition does.
But when you’re the one threading the GT-R through time and space, you feel like Tony Stark in his Iron Man suit for the first time: like you never want to get out.