‘G-T-R’; three of the most potent letters in the motoring world that are synonymous with meticulous attention to detail. The Nissan GT-R is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary and for me this is one car that truly deserves its iconic status.
The Nissan GT-R 50th anniversary special edition is based off the MY20 Premium Luxury variant. This Bayside Blue beauty, which is a new colour that celebrates the rich heritage of Nissan’s racing history, was my introduction to the sixth generation of the GT-R. The 50th anniversary special editions are also available in Super Silver with white stripes, Ivory Pearl with red stripes. The special edition has a new interior shade called Twilight Grey, features 50th anniversary badging and my car also had special ‘blue’ alloy wheels with engraving.
All MY20 GT-R models have received a styling refresh as well as some tweaks under the bonnet. The turbochargers have been updated with the adoption of an abradable seal (technology primarily used for racing engines) that reduces compressor housing-blade clearance to reduce air leakage and improve response at low RPMs. There is no change to the performance figures from the epic looking twin turbocharged 3.8 litre V6 engine, which still has 419kW of power and 632Nm of torque.
The 6-speed dual-clutch transmission GT-R has a refined ‘R Mode’ allowing for more aggressive downshifts. From my experience I would say the gearbox in on par with supercars for gear change speed and accuracy.
Contrary to popular thinking this car is very analogue, you may get gaming-style digital readouts on the infotainment screen, but when you start the GT-R up there is a real mechanical sound and when you put it into gear you feel it happening. For that I love this car even more as it takes me back to my early driving experiences.
One of the greatest compliments I can bestow on the GT-R is that it launches like a Tesla Model S with zero traction loss and then tears down the road. You get the sexy whistle from the twin turbochargers, but not a great deal of noise from the blue-tipped exhausts. When I asked people what it sounded like from the outside the answer was not all that impressive.
One feature on the GT-R which annoyed me was the fuel filler inlet angle because it’s hard to put the fuel nozzle inside in a way that doesn’t make the auto click off function constantly stop the pump working. I got to know this well as I filled it up four times for the week that I drove the GT-R. The official combined fuel consumption is 11.7L/100km and for my week with the GT-R I used 15.5L/100km and I have to say this figure is very impressive. I have not done more kilometres in a press car in a week and this demonstrates the great joy I had driving this car.
Driving along 16km of my favourite piece of bitumen the GT-R was unflappable. This road features a series of second, third and fourth gear corners ranging from hard 90o turns to sweeping bends with undulation changes added in for good measure. Pushing hard through these corners it felt like the GT-R could have gone on for hours at that pace and on the straights the GT-R felt stable and oh so capable.
As I descended off The Great Dividing Range back into the Sydney schlep I flicked the GT-R into auto gearbox mode and comfortably mooched through the traffic in Comfort drive mode, which is smooth enough for everyday driving. I now had time to reflect on the interior, the cabin smells nice and I loved the Alcantara headliner with decorative stitching.
The seats are comfortable and after a full day of driving I did not have a sore back, although I would like a bit more side support. The steering has a nice slightly heavy feel and when you adjust steering column up and down the whole driver’s dash moves with the steering wheel. On the steering wheel is a start/stop button for recording lap times with the built in stop watch, one of the function screens that can be chosen from the infotainment system.
Under the armrest is a shallow storage area for your phone with two USB ports, one AUX and one 12V. It has two cup holders with one deeper than the other and I really like the matt carbon fibre centre console with the 50th anniversary emblem near the gear selector and driver’s dash surround.
There is not much room in the back seats and in reality it is not suitable for adults back there. The rear seats belts pull from the centre to the outside of the car, which is opposite to the majority of cars and confused the children a bit and made it hard for my daughter to engage the belt for her booster seat.
The rear seats have two ISOFIX/two rear tether child seat restraint points, but it was difficult to fit the booster seat in because of the sloping nature of the roof. So if you are going to be using the GT-R as a baby hauler then you will need to some research into your car seat options. Good news is the boot is a good size, but it is hard to reach right into the back of it due to the design of the boot opening.
The other issue for me was my children’s heads were under the rear windscreen glass, like they were in the Ford Mustang, so if we went on a long drive they had to wear a hat. There are no rear seat air vents and one drink holder in front of the enormous speaker that is between the two seats. This is good for drowning out the noise of your children whinging about how uncomfortable they are back there.
My friend asked me if the GT-R felt like a European car and I said “yes, if my subconscious has anything to say about it.” Because driving a different car each week, my brain is pretty good at automatically knowing what side the indicator is on, being left for European cars and right for Japanese cars and I don’t make the mistake of turning the windscreen wipers on when I go to indicate very often.
But in the GT-R I kept going for the left for a good couple of days when I first started driving it, I had to consciously tell myself to use my right hand for the indicator. It is also such a magnificent piece of engineering, something you would expect from a European supercar company.
Apart from its obvious features I also loved the smell of the GT-R in my garage after I had been driving it, the best way to describe it was it smelt like a racecar, which essentially it is. As I inhaled this aroma on my last day with this icon I was so sad for two reasons. Sad that in a few hours I had to hand the keys back and sad that the days for special cars like these are numbered.
This is a car from the pre-computer age; it’s a supercar in JDM clothes and I think it is a bargain for what you pay for it. If you have ever considered buying one, all I can say is “do it.” The MY20 GT-R range starts at $193,800 and my 50th anniversary Bayside Blue GT-R is $209,300 plus on road costs.
If the GT-R special maintenance inspections are completed by a Nissan High Performance Centre, the first four inspections (at 2,000 km, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months) will be completed free of charge. Owners need to take their GT-R to a Nissan High Performance Centre for maintenance since the GT-R requires specially trained technicians and tools to maintain its unique performance.
If you want track your GT-R and not void your new car warranty you will need to have Pre/Post track inspections undertaken at a Nissan High Performance Centre also. These inspections are undertaken at the expense of the owner.
A couple of months ago I got to meet ‘Mr GT-R’ himself Hiroshi Tamura and I was captivated by his passion for Nissan and the GT-R. My favourite quote from Tamura-san was “Creating customer happy faces is the most important thing.” Well Tamura-san you have done that for me a thousand times over!
This is a legend of a car and it has earned a place in my ultimate money-no-object ten car garage because it’s such a solid feeling machine and felt planted to the road no matter what I threw at it. Under its digital skin is a raw supercar, so don’t be deceived.
I feel so privileged to have spent a week in the GT-R driving on some of my favourite roads, just me and the car. I do hope I get the opportunity to drive one again, but as the saying goes ‘it’s better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all’. Want to know why I am so in enamoured with the GT-R? Then I suggest you visit a Nissan GT-R specialist dealer to test drive one for yourself.
|The engine!||Limited room in the rear seats|
|The driving experience||The fuel-filler inlet angle|
|The colour||There isn’t one permanently in my garage|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.