Japan’s preeminent supercar continues to get better, with more power and a revised suspension for 2012. The Nissan GT-R is one of the fastest, most capable performance cars available for less than $100,000. What the GT-R may lack in tactility and driver involvement it makes up for in pure speed and grip. Driving the Nissan on public roads doesn’t really do it justice, because only at breakneck speeds on a track is the car’s true potential revealed. Three toggle switches on the center stack allow the driver to choose different modes for the suspension, stability control, and dual-clutch transmission. The track-oriented R mode enables launch control that sends the GT-R hurtling to 60 mph in as few as three seconds and on toward a maximum velocity of 196 mph. That performance is facilitated by a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6, now upgraded to 530 hp and 448 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automated manual transmission that can swap gears in as little as 0.2 second. The Nissan GT-R’s squared-off, angular body looks aggressive enough to match the car’s on-track demeanor, but it’s now starting to appear somewhat dated compared to less angular, more shapely supercars. The interior is finished in high-quality materials, with generous doses of brushed metal and optional carbon-fiber accents. The big touch screen can display all manner of information about the car’s performance, from boost and oil pressure to lateral g-force and steering angle. There are few better choices than the Nissan GT-R for setting heroically fast lap times with a minimum of fuss.
Trim levels: Premium, Black Edition
Body style: Coupe, 4-passenger
Engine: 3.8L twin-turbo V-6, 530 hp, 448 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automated manual
Passenger volume: 79.0 cu ft
Cargo space: 8.8 cu ft
The 2012 GT-R has been mildly restyled with new front and rear fascias, new wheels, carbon-fiber interior trim, and new paint colors. There is a new Black Edition, which includes leather-upholstered Recaro seats, a red and black interior, and a black headliner. Most important, engine output has been increased from 485 hp and 434 lb-ft to 530 hp and 448 lb-ft. Also, the suspension geometry has been revised, and the brakes are larger.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are stability control, traction control, ABS with brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
All: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Incredible performance
- Near-telepathic handling
- Improved interior trim
- Harsh, fidgety ride
- Could be more involving
- No manual transmission
Supercar performance and technology for a less-than-supercar price.
- Audi R8
- BMW M3
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Porsche 911