GT-R 3.8 Black Edition
first and probably only
GT-R test drive.
Just 1,250 of the long-awaited
and sought-after Nissan GT-R
models will be available to the
UK in the first full year of sales,
and all are already sold...
TO PUT ITS PERFORMANCE IN PERSPECTIVE one only needs to look to the lap time
achieved by the GT-R on the demanding Nürburgring Nordschleife on 23 April (2009)
a fraction under 7 min 27 seconds. That's one of the fastest times
ever recorded by a production car around the demanding German circuit.
The brief headlines for this 195mph 2+2 supercar are: blistering, accessible
performance underpinned by confidence-inspiring handling enabling it to be driven
fast and skilfully by just about anybody; unrivalled performance and price combination
(from £56,800); the hand-built (one craftsman hand-assembles the entire engine)
478bhp/433lb ft 3.8-litre twin-turboed V6 petrol engine; and the world-first
paddle-shift sequential 6-speed dual-clutch rear transaxle layout (engine at
the front: gearbox and axle at the) with an advanced all-wheel drive system.
The GT-R is no temperamental sports car it offers everyday practicality
and driveability suitable for the daily commute through to high-speed motorway
cruising or for track-day use by enthusiasts. There is a very comprehensive
standard specification and, should you wish to place an order for delivery next
year, the GT-R is available from a network of 11 UK Nissan High Performance
Centres. And because Nissan is changing its headline image from 'small, medium
everyday cars and 4x4s' to a sporting pedigree with the arrival of the GT-R
and the new rear-wheel drive 370Z coupe, the number of UK Performance Centres
is set to increase to 20.
Nissan say the GT-R is a global car so the specification remains constant worldwide;
only the steering wheel and controls differ for left- and right-hand drive markets.
From September, UK versions gain a very advanced navigation system as standard.
In stark performance terms, 62mph from a standing start appears in a very quick
3.5 seconds, while its potential top speed is 195mph. But it is the GT-R's astonishing
ground covering capabilities that mark out the new Nissan flagship, ably demonstrated
by the Nürburgring lap time. On my drive at the Millbrook test track, driving
the GT-R on the high-speed bowl or the steep and dauntingly twisting hill route,
I never got close to finding the car's limits it is just so capable.
As a point-and-shoot 'missile' it just goes and as a well-balanced high-speed
cornering machine the all-wheel drive system provides ample traction for most
drivers. For a long-legged cruiser it makes a refined everyday car.
the statistics lies a technologically-advanced specification. The Nissan GT-R's
unique driveline comprises a 478bhp twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 engine, a world-first
rear transaxle with a sequential dual-clutch, paddle shift and very fast-changing
transmission and full-time four-wheel drive. Underpinning them are sophisticated
electronic controls designed to make best use of engine output in all conditions
without diluting either driver enjoyment or involvement.
Nissan GT-R has
a clear advantage
over most rival supercars
on a racing circuit or
on the public roads...
As one of the world's fastest production vehicles, the GT-R is also probably
the world's easiest and most secure high-speed car to drive quickly. Key elements
behind its immense flexibility and accessible performance are the tractable
nature of the engine even on moderate throttle openings it typically
generates about 288lb ft of torque and perfect weight distribution across
all four wheels that allows for stable, predictable and readily-intuitive handling
characteristics. Plus the constant reassurance of four-wheel drive.
So while the Nissan GT-R has a clear advantage over most rival supercars on
a racing circuit or at high-speed on the public roads, its superiority in difficult
conditions ice, rain, slush, snow will be far more noticeable.
And while many supercars can feel like caged animals in the city ill-tempered
and frustrated by traffic and poor road surfaces adaptability is central
to the everyday nature of the GT-R. Set-up switches in the centre panel allow
gear-shift characteristics, damper settings and stability control settings to
be adjusted to suit the driver's mood and driving conditions. This extraordinarily
fast vehicle can be turned instantly into a supple, comfortable coupe, with
the choice of fully automated gear changing for an even more relaxing experience.
The efficiency of the engine and the car's aerodynamic qualities means the GT-R
is also one of the world's most effective supercars in balancing performance
and fuel consumption, recording 22.8mpg on the combined cycle (15.4 urban; 31mpg
extra-urban) and a CO2 emissions figure of 298g/km. The automatic gear-shift
mode is also programmed to offer optimal fuel economy, so the car cruises in
as high a gear as possible, helped by the flexibility of the engine.
Despite delivering race-car thrills, every GT-R comes laden with luxuries. Reflecting
the GT-R's 'softer' side are power-adjustable front seats (eight-way on the
driver's/four-way on the front passenger's) trimmed in leather with perforated
suede inserts, dual-zone automatic climate control and cruise control. The standard
radio/CD audio system comes with six speakers, RDS and MP3/WMA CD playback capability,
and features an HDD Music Box system capable of storing 9.4 GB of your favourite
A unique multi-function LCD screen (developed with the designers of Sony PlayStation's
Gran Turismo game) provides an instant indication of a range of vehicle dynamics
such as lateral G-forces which, if you prefer, can be stored for later analysis.
There are also special wide-beam xenon headlamps, a tyre-pressure monitoring
system, Intelligent Key, 20-inch RAYS forged alloy wheels finished in gunmetal
and a Thatcham-approved anti-theft system.
Move up from the standard car to the GT-R Premium Edition and you get automatic
headlights and wipers, auto-dimming mirror and a specially-designed digital
Bose audio package (optional on the standard model) matched to the acoustic
requirements of the cabin. The 11-speaker system features two tweeters, two
squawkers and four woofers including two in the rear centre armrest directed
forward. These, plus the door speakers, are mounted in rigid aluminium diecast
panels which improve sound quality, especially with tight bass sounds. Completing
the model line-up is the GT-R Black Edition with an exclusive Kuro black paint
job, a striking black leather interior with red highlights and black RAYS alloys.
For the record, a £100,000 GT-R high-performance lightweight version even more
biased towards motorsport and track-day use will also be joining the line-up.
Desirable? Oh yes! Reasons to buy one include the GT-R's supreme technology
for power supply, delivery and traction, its overall handling balance and control
and the good looks. Despite a £60,000 price tag the GT-R is, at this price and
for what it offers and delivers, a bargain. What's not to like? Only the fact
that Nissan is not yet considered a premium sports car brand. Who cares? Go
ahead, punk, eat my dust! David Miles
Nissan GT-R 3.8 Black Edition | £59,400
Maximum speed: 195mph | 0-62mph: 3.5 seconds | MPG: 22.8mpg
Power: 478bhp | Torque: 433lb ft | CO2 298g/km | Insurance group 20