In its seven months in our fleet, the Nissan GT-R has been called many things. But boring? Let West Coast editor Jason Cammisa be the first:
"The GT-R is certainly capable of blistering performance, but it is the perfect embodiment of what it, in my opinion, is the biggest failing of many modern cars. Manufacturers think fun is a product of speed. It's not. It's a product of involvement. Any car, no matter how fast, begins to feel slow after a while, but a car that talks to its driver never gets boring. The GT-R is great for a quick thrill or to make your passengers blurt out a stream of profane expletives, but as a long-term proposition, it grows tiresome really quickly. Too disconnected, too boosted, too artificial, too automated, and too foolproof.
"People laugh at me when I say that a car that can hit 60 mph in well under four seconds is boring. But after only 100 miles in the GT-R, I'm bored. And in a supercar, boredom shouldn't occur even after 100,000 miles."
Jason may be bored but others are still geeked -- assistant editor David Zenlea's dad, for one. So his dutiful son drove to Illinois in the GT-R to take both his parents on a Route 66 road trip. And it turns out that the GT-R was oddly suited to this role.
"Surprising as it may sound, the GT-R drew no complaints over the two-day trip," Zenlea notes. "My dad had an easy enough time in the back seat; I relieved him for a spell and found it's actually quite comfy back there, once you've arranged yourself so as to take advantage of the limited space. We appreciated Nissan's excellent navigation interface, which allowed us to turn our random list of historic gas stations, drive-in restaurants, and giant astronaut statues into somewhat of an itinerary. Tramlining, as others have noted, is an issue when the pavement is rough -- as it often is on Route 66 -- but I easily kept the car in line with two firm hands on the wheel."
But Zenlea, too, mentioned boredom. "It would be easy to blame my mom," he continues, "who pretty much put a ban on full-throttle acceleration by covering her eyes and threatening to throw up when I blasted out of the first toll booth, but the real issue is that the GT-R is simply not entertaining unless you're willing to throw your license away. Some cars are engaging and fun even when plodding along a two-lane highway. Not the GT-R. Drive it reasonably, and it just feels big, heavy, and loud. Much of this I blame on the automated manual transmission. I don't care how many milliseconds it saves on full-throttle upshifts. I'd much rather have all this power at my command with a traditional manual transmission."
Back in Ann Arbor, executive editor Joe DeMatio had another take: "I'm driving home on Miller Road, thinking how tedious the noise from the tires and the transmission can be, when a brief space opens up to pass a slow-moving Land Rover Discovery. And then I remember what this car is all about: straightline speed. It is just so lightning fast. It kind of clears the cobwebs and makes you a believer again, at least for a little while."
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