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      11-30-2007, 03:34 PM   #1
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CAR Drives GT-R: "It's automotive heaven"




Nissan GT-R. Finally, the full-blown road test…

Yes, after all the hype, the teaser images, the passenger rides and interviews, we’ve finally been let loose in the Nissan GT-R, one of the most anticipated drives of the year.

And my word, it’s been worth the six-year wait. This is one of the finest, most engaging and desirable cars we have driven in ages, a car with a seemingly endless range of ground-covering abilities that elevates it way beyond the common Nissan badge. It’s automotive heaven…





The GT-R is really that good?

Yes. It’s really that good. Nissan took us out to its test track in Sendai, a small student town a couple of hours north of Tokyo on the Bullet Train. The circuit is only 2.5 miles long, but it crams an amazing number of different corners – fast, slow, off-camber and sweaty-palm kinks – into a short stretch of tarmac. A Nürburgring-lite, if you like.

There we hooked up with Kazutoshi Mizuno, former head of Nissan’s sports car racing programme, who warned us about the intricacies of the Sendai circuit and then lobbed us the GT-R’s keys for ten fast-as-you-dare laps.





Please, please tell me it turned you into a driving god…

One with winged heels! The GT-R is ferociously quick, sucking in the horizon with the kind of pace that makes you radically recalibrate your speed-distance-time triangle. The 3.8-litre bi-turbo engine is a new V6, not related to the fine one used in the 350Z. It’s an amazingly tractable engine, pulling from way down low in the rev band, then energised by the twin IHI turbochargers all the way, uninterrupted, to the 7000rpm redline.

From launch to 62mph takes just 3.6 seconds. Top speed is a supercar-rivalling 193mph. The gearchange is lightening quick and clean, and those big Brembo brakes are quite brilliant. They stop you like a giant hand firmly pulling you backwards to safety. Mizuno says they’re the best brakes on any production car and Japanese homologation tests say the same. On our experience, we'd be inclined to agree.




Straightline speed is one thing, cornering is another...

Don't worry, the GT-R has the polished dynamics to use all that power, all that turbo-enhanced performance all the time. Sure, the steering isn’t as sharp or as delicate as a 911’s – the GT-R is 350kg heavier, remember – but it’s linear and the GT-R’s blunt nose instantly changes direction, no questions asked.

It doesn't understeer, it simply hunkers down and goes where you want it. It’s a car that drives square on its feet rather than always on its toes. Less poetic, perhaps, than its European rivals. But, in this case, faster. And so easy to exploit.

It is, says Mizuno, the fastest production car in the world around the Nürburgring – according to Nissan, only the bespoke (and out of production) Porsche Carrera GT can lap the daunting German circuit quicker. That’s real-world pace, irrespective of road or weather conditions.




So it’s a real hardcore machine?

Oh it’s quick alright – quick enough to make Porsche’s 911 Turbo feel unexciting – but the GT-R’s real appeal is its adaptability. Punt it hard, really hard on a track and the GT-R responds, delivering searing pace, formidable control, a fine and perfectly judged balance and a wonderfully high level of feedback.

But if you want to drive it across town in rush-hour traffic or halfway across a continent, you simply slot into Drive, settle back into the thickly padded and generously bolstered seats, switch the suspension setting to soft and the GT-R is so easy and effortless, you might just as well be in a Maxima. A very brisk Maxima.

And that’s core to the Nissan’s magic appeal – its ability to deliver two distinctly different driving characteristics, where the qualities of one don’t compromise the other.




How does it achieve this duality?

With just three switches, housed just above the gearlever, at the bottom of the centre of the dash. The left one adjusts the transmission and you choose ‘R’ mode for faster gearshifts. The middle switch adjusts the dampers. Again, you choose R for the sportiest chassis set-up. Those Bilsteins are now on maximum sports setting.

Finally turn the VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control – controlling stability and traction controls) switch to R. Which means it’s turned off. Ring up three Rs and you're ready to Race. Flick them back to their default settings and you have a comfy cruiser.

There’s even a brake-assist function for hills, to avoid rolling backwards unintentionally on those awkward hill starts.




Not that it looks like a cruiser…

True, the GT-R’s lines are bold, brutal and intimidating, but its hides a surprisingly roomy and well packaged cabin. There is none of the styling poetry of a Porsche or, even more, a Ferrari, but the Nissan is bank-vault solidly built and - apart from the PlayStation graphics on the ‘multi function meter’ (myriad info read-outs include turbo boost and front/rear torque split, plus steering angle and even a g meter) - it’s coupé conventional.





Verdict

Quite simply, the new GT-R is the world’s most multi-faceted supercar. There is no fast car so easy to steer, none so forgiving, no car that has more armoury in its quest to go fast and keep you out of trouble.

Just as that old GT-R resets the standards for front-engined coupés, so the new one lifts the bar ever higher. An M3 beater? Easily. M5? Think higher. This car is faster, more high-tech, sharper, more capable. Faster than a 911 Turbo on the straight. Or on the circuit. And all for normal 911 money. Genius.
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      11-30-2007, 03:42 PM   #2
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Thanks 1ster for nice pics and an interesting read.

It's all a bit too raving if you ask me, but if the actual production car is as good as this guy says, then the dealer markup will be astronomical.
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      11-30-2007, 04:10 PM   #3
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sounds like a bunch of smoke in the rear to me. this car is ugly as sin. I'll bet it's fun to drive but damn their making this thing out to be the god of all cars. a NISSAN???? I think it's just one of those cars that's easy to drive fast not necessarily out performing driver ecstasy.
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      11-30-2007, 05:52 PM   #4
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Insert Nissan/Japanese car hating here.

If I had 60-70k to spend on a car, this would be it. I would, however, prefer a manual.
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      11-30-2007, 07:00 PM   #5
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My gosh, that's hideous. In comparison, the 1-Series is gorgeous.
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      11-30-2007, 07:32 PM   #6
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i will own this car
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      11-30-2007, 07:42 PM   #7
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It is, says Mizuno, the fastest production car in the world around the Nürburgring – according to Nissan, only the bespoke (and out of production) Porsche Carrera GT can lap the daunting German circuit quicker. That’s real-world pace, irrespective of road or weather conditions.

So.....doesnt that mean its faster than an enzo and mclaren f1? In that case, sign me up for my 70k mclaren f1.
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      12-01-2007, 01:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bavarianbutcher View Post
a NISSAN????
Sure, why not?

Any of the modern automakers can build high performance cars should they choose to.

Or is yours a concern of provenance?
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      12-01-2007, 01:20 AM   #9
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Insert Nissan/Japanese car hating here.
Yup.
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      12-01-2007, 09:51 AM   #10
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i will own this car
Not in a 135i you won't! :biggrin:
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      12-01-2007, 12:30 PM   #11
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Please provide a link if you're going to quote an article, thanks.
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      12-01-2007, 12:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihatepostmodernism View Post
So.....doesnt that mean its faster than an enzo and mclaren f1? In that case, sign me up for my 70k mclaren f1.
The Nissan goes 193mph, the MacLaren F1 goes 242mph...
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      12-01-2007, 01:04 PM   #13
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The Nissan goes 193mph, the MacLaren F1 goes 242mph...
you also cant drive a maclaren without headphones and costs around 30grand to upkeep every 6k miles or something stupid like that
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      12-01-2007, 01:07 PM   #14
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you also cant drive a maclaren without headphones and costs around 30grand to upkeep every 6k miles or something stupid like that
Yes, but the Nissan will depreciate like all other new japanese cars and the F1 will continue to appreciate over time making its service costs irrelevant, assuming you can afford the 7-figure price tag for a 10-year old car:tongue:
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      12-01-2007, 07:07 PM   #15
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I never doubted the GTR would be an amazing car. Its the be the perfect mix between performance practicality. I just hope nissan has uped their fit and finish for this $70K car.
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      12-01-2007, 07:52 PM   #16
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Yes... BUT...

That's a horrid steering wheel. I can't drive any car with a steering wheel like that.
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      12-02-2007, 02:49 AM   #17
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Yes... BUT...

That's a horrid steering wheel. I can't drive any car with a steering wheel like that.
why not? i think its cool to have all the buttoms like a enzo :thumbup:
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      12-02-2007, 01:11 PM   #18
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It's a nissan!
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      12-02-2007, 02:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bavarianbutcher View Post
It's a nissan!
Yes, it is. Thank you so much for your insightful post

This is the epitome of why I am hesitant towards becoming a BMW owner. If you can't respect the GT-R and its heritage, then you are not a true automotive enthusiast. You are, however, ignorant.
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      12-02-2007, 06:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Yes, it is. Thank you so much for your insightful post

This is the epitome of why I am hesitant towards becoming a BMW owner. If you can't respect the GT-R and its heritage, then you are not a true automotive enthusiast. You are, however, ignorant.
I agree. That GT-R will put such a beating on 99% of the cars out there. Too bad many people cant come to terms with that. I'm sure the Germans are listening. NOW BRING US THAT DAMN CSL!!
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      12-04-2007, 06:28 PM   #21
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I have to say, this thing looks AMAZING in red. I think it was a mistake to make most of the press cars silver. Red really makes the design pop...
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      12-04-2007, 07:20 PM   #22
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I have to say, this thing looks AMAZING in red. I think it was a mistake to make most of the press cars silver. Red really makes the design pop...
I dont know man. I just cant seem to warm up to the styling. The car looks so big. If it was low and wide I would like it more... Ugghh..
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