Our summer with Godzilla continues to offer thrills, both to its lucky drivers and to onlookers alike. A typical comment: "I just drove the GT-R 600 miles in two days. My predictable conclusions: This thing is mental, and people love it."
Sometimes they love it too much, or so it seems. "On my ride to work the other morning, a guy in a Chevy S-10 kept taking cell phone pictures of the GT-R on the highway," one staffer recalled. "After a while, I found it kind of annoying, but we were stuck in traffic and I couldn't get away. Then I thought about the fact that I was driving through rural Michigan, where the vehicle of choice is a pickup truck and the biggest decision is a 6- or an 8-foot bed, and a car like the GT-R looks more like a UFO than a form of highway transportation."
Not only are you in a lot of camera-phone pictures when you drive the GT-R, but another part of the deal is that you end up taking a lot of people for thrill rides. Which is how copy editor Rusty Blackwell ended up with his parents' neighbor and the neighbor's two teenage sons, one of whom is six-feet tall, in the car. "The boys weren't exactly comfortable in the back, but they did fit back there, which is more than you can say about the back seats in a Porsche 911 or a Jaguar XK."
The more oft repeated frustration, though, is that it's hard to exercise the GT-R's superstar abilities on public roads - particularly those in southeast Michigan, which are uniformly straight, flat, and beat to hell. Blackwell got out of town, heading down to Mid-Ohio raceway for a Rahal Letterman Racing ALMS test. Unfortunately, there was no track time for the GT-R, but he says, "I was thrilled at the opportunity to blast down the hilly, curvy, deserted roads around the racetrack."
We try to keep our supercar super clean, but when a car is getting this much hard use, it's tough. "Our GT-R was covered in dirt and bird crap," noted assistant editor David Zenlea, "but that didn't deter the amazed onlookers one bit. And after I thought about it, I realized it's kind of cool to see a dusty, clearly daily driven GT-R. It's sort of like watching someone play catch with a baseball signed by the 1927 New York Yankees."
Through it all, the mighty Nissan is hanging together pretty well. "The GT-R cracked 10,000 miles on the odometer last night on my way home," wrote road test coordinator Mike Ofiara. "Overall it feels like it's holding up pretty well. The brakes still have plenty of bite, tires still have lots of meat left, and the thing still produces neck-snapping acceleration. Aside from a couple minor cosmetic blemishes, the GT-R is a marvel to look at."
Complaints? Yeah, we've got a few. The first is tramlining, particularly on Ann Arbor's worn roads. The second is squeaks in the dash that make the GT-R's Bluetooth phone feature pretty much useless. Of course, it's important to keep this stuff in perspective. "It's easy to balk at the cacophony of squeaks, creaks, and grunts emitted by the GT-R in around-town traffic," says web producer Evan McCausland. "But once you're granted an open stretch of highway or a series of switchbacks, the GT-R's dynamics slap you back into place. 'I'm a supercar, dammit,' it says as you blitz down the freeway at 95 mph, 'and don't you forget it.'"
2009 Nissan GT-R Premium
Base price (with dest.): $84,040
Price as tested: $87,320
Body Style: 2-door coupe
Construction: Steel unibody
Engine: DOHC 24-valve twin-turbo V-6
Displacement: 3.8 liters
Power: 485 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 434 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch transmission
Fuel economy: 16/21/18 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Steering: Speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock: 2.4
Suspension, Front: Control arms, coil spring; adaptive dampening
Suspension, Rear: Control arms, coil spring; adaptive dampening
Brakes F/R: Vented discs, ABS
Wheels: 20 x 9.5 / 20 x 10.5 in (f/r)
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza
Tire Size: 255/40ZRF20 / 285/35ZRF20 (f/r)
Headroom F/R: 38.1 / 33.5 in
Legroom F/R: 44.6 / 26.4 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 54.3 / 50.0 in
Wheelbase: 109.4 in
Track F/R: 62.6 / 63.0 in
L x W x H: 183.1 x 74.9 x 54.0 in
Cargo Capacity: 17.7 cu ft
Weight: 3829 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: 53 / 47 %
Fuel Capacity: 19.5 gal
Est. Range: 350 miles
Fuel Grade: 91 octane
Front, side, curtain airbags
Push-button ignition with intelligent key
GPS/hard drive system
-Super Silver Metallic Paint $3000
-iPod interface $400
-Carpeted GT-R logo floor mats $280