It's fretted and fawned over at gas stations. It's reverent fans put to memory every spec and stat. It's affectionately known as Godzilla. It's Nissan's own GT-R, and thanks to steady and continuous improvement (not to mention a few welcome injections of power), the nearly decade-old supercar still manages to raise hairs and quicken pulses.
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2018 Nissan GT-R Overview
What's New for 2018
When the current-generation GT-R landed on these shores in 2009, its starting price was about $70,000. Last year, the most bare-bones example carried a $110,000 price tag. That pricing bloat is the sole reason behind the new, sub-$100,000 Pure trim, which cuts the sound deadening, eschews the titanium exhaust, eliminates the active noise cancellation system and subs in a six-speaker stereo in lieu of the Premium trim's 11-speaker affair. Also new for this year is Apple CarPlay as standard equipment and a Kuro Black interior package.
Choosing Your Nissan GT-R
With the new Pure, there's now four trim levels for buyers to pick from. A distinct line of demarcation runs down the middle of that hierarchy: the Pure and Premium are versatile and maybe even tame, while the Track Edition and Nismo variants are fierce, uncompromising machines that are happier on a track than the streets.
Their personalities may range from vexed house cat to prowling jungle kitty, but the heart of each GT-R is the same – a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6. The lower three trims have 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque to play with; power rises to 600 horses and 481 lb-ft for the top-spec Nismo. A dual-clutch six-speed auto handles gear changes, with standard paddle shifters remitting control to drivers if they so desire. Even die-hard manual aficionados have to respect this transmission's performance: it will snap off shifts in as little as 0.15 seconds, far faster than anyone can do the three-pedal dance.
A performance-focused all-wheel-drive system that can rout nearly 100 percent of power to the rear wheels is standard, and Nissan's Vehicle Dynamic Control helps modulate torque between the fore and aft of the car based on road conditions. The three available drive mode settings also work to alter the car's persona and drivability, with each setting fine-tuning the transmission, suspension, and power delivery. Set it in Comfort mode on the way to the track; put it in R mode for when the green flag drops.
As expected of a six-figure car, the GT-R's cabin is well-appointed. Buyers will find niceties such as an eight-inch touch screen, Nappa leather, Nissan Connect services, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth. The touchscreen houses both a navigation system as well as five preset pages of powertrain and performance information. These pages will tell drivers anything from throttle position to G-forces to fuel economy. Regarding that last point, the GT-R returns 16 miles per gallon city, 22 highway, and 18 combined – not bad for something known as Godzilla.
The Pure for sure. Costing just a shade over six figures, the cheapest GT-R offers buyers exactly what they're looking for from a car like this: namely, the ability to look like Batman and feel like a champion as they exploit the car's prodigious power. On that front, the purest Godzilla delivers with abundance.