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2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo Test: Godzilla Still Deserves a Kingdom

All of these years later, the GT-R remains a monster.

The older you become, the quicker time passes. Or, if you're driving a Nissan GT-R, time tends to pass quickly—or is it more slowly?—simply because of how balls-out fast you're probably traveling. Or something like that. To quote Doc Brown, "Whatever!" But as Pro Racer's Take welcomes the 2020 Nissan GT-R as its latest track-test victim, we can't but help feel at least a little bit nostalgic.

We've definitely all grown older since Nissan's mythical GT-R arrived officially in North America, when we named it our Automobile of the Year. Twelve years older, to be specific, since the R35-generation Godzilla became obtainable from an honest-to-goodness Nissan dealer. In-the-know enthusiasts lusted from afar for GT-Rs for 20 years, and it came to our market with the greatest of fanfare.

More than one Automobile staffer recalls driving the original GT-R test cars from Nissan's press pool and being accosted by hyperventilating fans at almost every stop. At least one of us was followed home by a car full of young acolytes clearly raised on Gran Turismo video games who just wanted to stand next to it, to peer inside the cockpit, to look under the hood, and to snap cellphone photos to no doubt post to the then-burgeoning phenomenon known as Facebook.

And oh how the Nissan GT-R delivered astoundingly quick and fast track-test numbers. With a state-of-the art twin-turbo V-6 producing 480 horsepower, combined with advanced electronics-enhanced dynamics and all-wheel drive, the GT-R took on and vanquished all-manner of challengers. For around $70,000, you bought a GT-R and you bought yourself legitimate performance to match its pseudo-underground provenance. You drove a GT-R, you were unquestionably a rock star on four wheels, at every stoplight and at every automotive gathering you rolled up to.

The automotive world looks a lot different today than it did at the height of the GT-R's reign, and while the car is well into its twilight, there's nothing ephemeral about it. It still causes a stir when people spot it on the street, and though its price has ballooned—even more so when it comes to the $212,000 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo in this week's track test—the It Factor still applies. Certain cars, once they pass a certain point in their lifespan, tend to morph before your eyes into caricatures of themselves, and you can argue the GT-R isn't immune from the phenomenon. Still, it commands big respect everywhere it goes, even if you can buy similar or even better performance in a modern Ford Mustang that costs about $100,000 less. But that's just not quite the same, is it?

Hit the Play button now and join Andy Pilgrim as he tests the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo to the limit at NCM Motorsports Park and reminds us why the Japanese supercar will always be one of the all-time greats. And check our overall Pro Racer's Take leaderboard to see precisely how the Nismo stacks up to other top-flight, much younger performance cars available now.