GT-R is more than your average coupe
You don’t need a closed course to understand the GT-R is capable of a lot more than your average coupe.
When I say I now know what it’s like to spend some quality time inside Godzilla. I’m not talking about donning an oversized rubber monster suit and stomping across a miniature version of Tokyo. For a few days, I have the chance to sit inside the steel, aluminum, and carbon-fibre that makes up the 2013 Nissan GT-R supercar.
And there is still no better way to describe the GT-R than as a car that is super. Sure, it has a ton of power, but there are other production vehicles out there that can boast even more horsepower and torque. The GT-R takes that acceleration, and combines it with absolute spectacular handling.
As far as all-out performance goes, few vehicles can match this beast. I don’t have the opportunity to take it where it truly belongs - on a race track - but you don’t need a closed course to understand this vehicle is capable of a lot more than your average coupe.
What you do need, though, is the self-control to keep the GT-R reigned in to stay at least close to the limits of the average posted highway speed sign. This is one of those vehicles that only seem to know one speed - fast. Of course, saying that to an officer handing you a speeding ticket is akin to a gun-toting murderer claiming he didn’t kill his victim, his gun did.
Things only get faster for 2013, as the GT-R’s 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged engine has been tweaked to produce 545-horsepower and 463 lb.-ft. of torque (up from 530/448 in 2012). Despite the two turbochargers, there is a very brief delay after mashing the throttle, before this coupe takes off like a bat out of hell.
That being said, not once did it feel like the GT-R was out of sorts, though I wasn’t eager to turn off the electronic stability control, especially on rain-slick public roads during my short time with it. The GT-R offers the reassurance of an all-wheel drive system with a platform that puts a lot of the drivetrain components at the rear of the vehicle to give it that feeling of a conventional rear-wheel drive sports car.
I do try as many different settings as I can amongst all the toggle switches, knobs, and buttons throughout the vehicle. There are three switches below the climate controls that allow the driver to adjust the transmission, suspension, and aforementioned stability control settings. There’s even a comfort setting for the suspension that makes the vehicle noticeably more, well, comfortable. It’ll never reach Nissan Quest comfort, but it does a good job of making the drive home in traffic slightly more bearable.
The six-speed dual clutch transmission constantly feels tweaked toward the most performance oriented “R” setting, even when that’s not what I set it at. Downshifts occur lickety-split, which is a good thing, but upshifts always seem to take much longer. It’s not the worst thing to complain about in a performance vehicle, but it’s an issue that does annoy me a little.
In terms of steering, the GT-R acts like the most loyal of soldiers, doing exactly what you want it to do, when you want it to, without a moment’s hesitation. And no matter how fast the turn is that you’re taking, or how fast you’re travelling, the GT-R stays stuck to the road, staying as flat as imaginable; again, driving on public roads is only a hint at what the GT-R is capable of.
There aren’t a lot of supercars around these days, and it’s not often a person gets the chance to drive one. I can’t compare the GT-R to a lot, but I feel confident that whatever you put it up against, it’ll put up a hell of a fight, just like that radioactive monster that breathes fire and crushes anything in its path.
2013 Nissan GT-R
Trim level: Premium
Price as tested (before taxes): $104,280
Options on test vehicle: 3-coat metallic/pearl paint ($300)
Configuration: front engine/ all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.8L turbo V6 / 6-spd auto. with sequential shift
Power/torque: 545 hp/ 463 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): Premium (74L)
Fuel economy ratings: 12.9 L/100km city; 9.2 L/100km hwy
Observed fuel economy: 12.9 L/100km over 252 km
Warranties: 3 years/ 60,000 km (basic); 5 years/ 100,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: Audi R8; Porsche 911 Turbo
Strengths: power; handling; technology
Weaknesses: fuel economy; ride; rear seats