2009 Nissan GTR

The magazine’s print deadline was looming, and I was working late. I finally walked out to the parking structure at about 9:30 p.m., tired and cranky after a long day at work. Waiting for me on the fifth level of the parking structure was the bright red . My spirits lifted almost instantly. I opened the door and settled in behind the wheel. A push on the start button resulted in a deep burble from the exhaust, which reverberated off the walls of the almost empty parking garage. I familiarized myself with the controls and rumbled slowly down five levels to the exit. Even at that low speed, the power under the GT-R’s hood was obvious.

I pulled out into traffic after exiting the structure. Normally, that would be when I would turn on the stereo. But that night, no background music was necessary. I hit the accelerator and felt the transmission-which was set to automatic mode-upshift through the gears and reach 6th far more quickly than I could shift gears myself. I played around with the suspension settings, because I could feel every bump on the uneven roads I drive home every night and I was looking for a more compliant setting. In truth, though, even at the “comfort” setting, the GT-R‘s suspension feels more rough-and-tumble than magic carpet. For a real kidney-rattler, try putting it in “race” setting.

The GT-R is too heavy and the suspension is too stiff, but it’s a blast to drive. Punch the accelerator and it instantly downshifts to 3rd while powering ahead. (Or use the column-mounted paddleshifts if you’re a do-it-yourself type of driver.) Did I mention that this car is quick? Somehow, it feels like a traffic ticket just waiting to happen. One thing I do know is that, after a long hard day at work, it put a smile on my face. And that’s reason enough for me to love driving this car.

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