This one squeaked into 2007, being released in Japan just in time to be giftwrapped for Christmas. It arrived in the USA in mid-summer the following year, with the rest of the world forced to wait on tenterhooks until 2009 for a test drive.
The Nissan GT-R has real presence, with a chunky front end, bulging bonnet and square lines inspired by the ever-popular Gundam giant robots, giving the car a uniquely Japanese character. The GT-R’s slow rollout was caused by the limited number that can be produced, as both engine and dual-clutch gearbox are painstakingly built by hand. The 3.8 litre engine has twin turbochargers that squeeze out a not unimpressive 480 bhp, with acceleration and top speed to match.
This impressive Japanese supercar has a clever all-wheel drive system, sophisticated semi-automatic transmission and Nissan’s VDC (Vehicle Dynamics Control) system that includes launch control, also assisting handling and ensuring rock-steady stability at speed.
Perhaps a system like this — which makes key decisions — can take away the sheer pleasure of driving this car hard and fast, but it does make the GT-R a docile beast around town — and a car that a skilled driver can easily control at racing-car speeds on a hot track outing. In keeping with its dual role, the interior of the car is supremely comfortable, although the rear seats are rather more suited to shopping or the kids than to adults.
The special edition trail soon began in Japan during 2009 with a GT-R SpecV model. This had body tweaks like a new carbon-fibre rear spoiler, revised brake ducts, altered grille and a fancy black paint job. The interior was lifted by oodles of carbon-fibre trimmings, whilst mechanical enhancements include a titanium-coated exhaust, carbon-ceramic brakes and reworked suspension. Unfortunately, it’s not for the export market — at least not yet.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
3,799 cc V6 Twin Turbo
Top speed of 195 mph (314 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.2 secs (with launch control) or 3.9 secs (without)
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The motorsport arm of Nissan, Nismo, produced a much-modified version of the GT-R to race in the Japanese Super GT series. The GT500 racecar has a bigger engine with a six-speed sequential gearbox and a rear-wheel-drive layout inherited from its predecessor, the 350Z.