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2020 Nissan GT-R Overview

Anthony Sophinos
Automotive Editor - September 3, 2019

Remember 2009? If not, here's a quick recap: GM went bankrupt, Obama was inaugurated, and Nissan introduced to the public the GT-R. Since then, the General has marched back from death and Obama served two terms, but Nissan's flagship performance car on first blush looks largely unchanged from the debut model. Incremental change seems to be the mantra of the GT-R.

Incremental doesn't equate to inadequate, however, and the refined 2020 Nissan GT-R is proof of this. The base model has now been dropped, leaving the Premium as the new starting point for the GT-R lineup. A new 50th Anniversary Edition package celebrates 50 years of GT-R with exclusive color schemes and trim. The Track Edition now sports the 600-horsepower Nismo engine and gets a new carbon-fiber roof.

The flagship Nismo model also gets its share of updates. There's new carbon-fiber body panels, a new carbon-ceramic braking system, and new turbochargers plucked right from the GT3 race car. The new sticker price? A whopping $35 grand more than last year's model.

Choosing Your Nissan GT-R

For 2020, the GT-R line is broken out into four trims: Premium, 50th Anniversary Edition, Track Edition, and Nismo. Pricing starts at $115,235 including destination for the Premium and climbs all the way up to $212,435 for the Nismo.

Engine Choices

Like all GT-Rs of the last decade, the 2020 model is a one-engine car. That engine is a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6, although an uprated version is featured in the Track Edition and Nismo trims. The only transmission is a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Engine TypeTrim LevelHorsepowerTorqueFuel Economy (Combined)
3.8L Twin-Turbo V6Premium, 50th Anniversary Edition565 hp467 lb-ft18 mpg
3.8L Twin-Turbo V6Track Edition, Nismo600 hp481 lb-ft18 mpg

To get all its power to the ground without delay or drama, every GT-R trim comes standard with all-wheel drive. The power split is normally 0:100 front/rear, but up to 50% can be automatically sent to the front wheels when the computers deem it appropriate.

Though the 35-hp bump for the Track Edition and Nismo doesn't seem like much, a lot of mechanical enhancements are hiding behind that power figure. Chief among them are new turbos pulled straight from the GT3 GT-R race car. Nissan claims this upgrade alone results in 20% better engine response than last year.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

The GT-R can carry four people, but the back two seats are best reserved for the trophies you'll be aiming to bring home from the track; rear head room of 33 inches and leg room of 26 inches make them all but useless for a full-grown adult.

The trunk offers 8.8 cubic feet of cargo space, a figure about in line for the class. A Chevrolet Corvette isn't much better despite being a hatch, and the Porsche 911 also comes within spitting distance of that figure.

Safety Features

The era of driver-assist safety features has yet to come to the GT-R. Still running the show here are the original titans of modern automotive safety: airbags, crumple zones, stability control, and anti-lock brakes.

If you're hoping for emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and all the other modern active safety technologies, starting looking elsewhere.

Connectivity

Every GT-R has an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, SiriusXM, voice recognition, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Compatibility with Nissan cloud services is also standard, though usage requires a monthly subscription fee. Audio is provided via an 11-speaker Bose system that includes two subwoofers.

Premium - From $115,235

The entry-level GT-R Premium gives up little to its pricier brethren. Standard convenience features include dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, and two USB ports as well as three cup holders.

Seats are power-adjustable and have leather bolsters with synthetic suede inserts. A customizable display within the gauge cluster can show various performance parameters such as oil pressure, coolant temperature, and steering position.

Mechanically, the dual-clutch transmission offers paddle shifters for full manual control as well as two multiple driver-selectable shift modes. Similarly, the suspension uses active dampers with three different settings: Comfort, Normal, and R. Each is progressively stiffer than the last. Brakes are Brembos and use 15-inch slotted and drilled rotors all the way around.

The only major option is the $4,280 Premium Interior Package. It swaps out the leather/suede seats for full semi-aniline leather thrones and also includes premium leather trimmings for the doors and dash.

50th Anniversary Edition - From $124,735

Technically a package on the Premium, the 50th Anniversary Edition honors the GT-R's half-century heritage with historically significant color schemes and distinctive trimmings and badging.

Bayside Blue – an old favorite of the GT-R fanbase – will particularly excite the purists. There's also a Super Silver QuadCoat and Pearl White TriCoat for those seeking a subtler hue. White stripes come on the blue and silver cars, while the white cars get red striping.

Regardless of exterior color, all 50th Anniversary Edition interiors are done up in gray leather and feature an exclusively-trimmed steering wheel and shifter knob, seats embossed with 50th Anniversary Edition logos, and an Alcantara headliner. Otherwise, all comfort, convenience, and performance features are identical to the Premium.

Track Edition - From $147,235

The Track Edition is the demarcation point within the GT-R lineup; it's at this point that the GT-R turns truly riotous. The change in demeanor is largely due to the 600-hp engine breathing fire from under the hood.

The high-output motor is supplemented by a Nismo-tuned suspension, additional spot-welding and structural bracing for the body, and Nismo-spec tires wrapped around 20-inch Nismo wheels. Think of it as a Nismo-lite and you'll get the idea.

Interiors differentiate themselves from Premium cars through a black-and-red two-tone color combination and heavily bolstered leather Recaro seats.

The carbon-ceramic brakes found standard on the Nismo are the lone option available and cost $15,000.

Nismo - From $212,435

Carbon fiber is the Nismo's calling card – the exterior is slathered with the stuff. Bumpers, fenders, hood, roof, spoiler, trunk, and side sills are all crafted from the racy material in the interest of lowering weight. Aerodynamics take precedent as well, and are the reason behind every functional vent and downforce-inducing appendage.

Similar to the Track Edition, interiors use Recaro seats with a black-and-red color scheme, but the chairs here have synthetic suede inserts. The carbon-ceramic brakes optional on the Track Edition are standard as well.

Compare GT-R Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Premium will more than suffice for most buyers, but if you're bent on getting the full 600-hp serving, buy the Track Edition. Besides being a cool $70 grand cheaper than the Nismo, it'll be easier to live with thanks to its more street-focused attitude.

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