Nissan GT-R MY13: Review

The Nissan GT-R has always been a car as much about stats as plain old driving. From the first one four years, ago, you couldn't talk about it without mentioning its 480hp and amazingly good value £60,000 list price that made any competitor look a bit pricey. Since then, Nissan has been steadily upping the power, and price, to arrive at the latest version with 550hp and a window sticker of £76,610.

Same (standard) power, tweaked response
Same (standard) power, tweaked response
Those are both big jumps in four years, though the power remains the same as the previous 2012 version. Where Nissan has jiggled the stats for the 2013 GT-R is by dropping 0-62mph by 0.1 seconds to a Lamborghini Aventador-beating 2.7 seconds and improving its lap time of the Nurburgring by 1.9 seconds to 7min 19.1sec. Just to show how seriously Nissan takes Nurburgring lap times, it points out in its press release this time suffered from losing an estimated half a second due to traffic.

Here and there
If power remains the same for the updated GT-R, it's not because Nissan has left the engine alone. The 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 has had its mid- and high-rev throttle responses finessed with new high output injectors to give more instant reactions to pedal inputs. There's also a new relief valve for the turbochargers that limits the loss of pressure when the driver lifts off the throttle to give better turbo response when you get back on the gas.

Latest GT-R fiddling is at a detail level
Latest GT-R fiddling is at a detail level
Another redesign of the oil pan is designed to keep oil pressure in the engine and reduce rotational friction, especially under hard loads when driving quickly.

This is all impressive stuff, particularly when you are dealing with the law of diminishing returns when chipping away at the GT-R's already incredible performance. What are more obvious are the changes to the chassis.

Give and take
Nissan has further stiffened the body with a new dash and instrument panel bars, while the suspension has revised dampers, springs and front anti-roll bar. There are also new front suspension cam bolts to improve camber accuracy and cornering stability. The last improvement is new driveshafts to cope with the increased cornering ability of the GT-R and give it greater reliability for track driving.

Comfort mode almost lives up to name
Comfort mode almost lives up to name
As well as the performance benefits of the suspension changes, Nissan says they help with comfort, which has been something of an Achilles Heel for this car. In the default Normal setting for the suspension, the GT-R remains much too stiff and aggressive for prolonged road driving. However, switch to Comfort and there is some semblance of give as you encounter ruts and lumps in the road's surface.

At higher speeds, the GT-R's Comfort setting is fine for the motorway, though you still have to put up with a lot of rumble from the tyres. Compared to similarly priced Porsches and BMW M cars, the GT-R feels like a crude device and its case is not helped by the clunks and shunt of the six-speed dual-clutch transmission while driving in town driving.

This is to miss the point of the GT-R, though. Where it comes good is in corners, and the faster the better. For road driving, the Comfort suspension setting is ideal for British back roads and lets the GT-R turn in to, grip and get out of corners with astonishing speed and precision for a car weighing 1,740kg. There's no deflection from bumps in the road and the latest GT-R's suspension keeps the wheels in permanent contact with the tarmac where the previous model was more easily deflected by mid-corner bumps.

Where to go at the limit? Here the options open
Where to go at the limit? Here the options open
In the raw
A little understeer lets you know when you're beginning to push the GT-R, but then the electronics kick in to send power where it can best be used and you realise you realise you could have gone that bit harder. It's on track where this will be most obvious, but on the road the latest GT-R remains hugely rapid with impeccable steering feel.

The pace is hardly surprising given the 550hp 3.8-litre V6. Its power is now more seamless, with less of a top end lunge for the redline thank to the better mid-range delivery. The six-speed double-clutch gearbox offers near instant shifts from the column-mounted paddles and in auto mode is smooth, but low speeds in towns are not its forte.

Quick as the GT-R is, however, the engine doesn't offer the same aural charm as some of its rivals' and the cabin is now looking quite dated and plasticky. These faults aside, the 2013 GT-R offers more of the same and Nissan has the stats to back it up.

3,799cc V8, twin-turbo, V6
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 550@6,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 465@3,200rpm
0-62mph: 2.7sec
Top speed: 196mph
Weight: 1,740kg
MPG: 24.0mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 275g/km
Price: £76,610 (plus options)


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Comments (69) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Ex Boy Racer 29 Apr 2013

    I test drove one. Admittedly it was around Bristol (why do car dealers do tests of cars like these in built up areas?) but it just didn't feel that much faster than my R8. At less than 3 seconds to 60 it should be chalk and cheese, but it really didn't subjectively seem to have that much more performance.

    And that clunking from the transmission - it reminded me of the noises I used to hear when I helped on the milk round as a kid!

  • bofranklin 29 Apr 2013

    Are Nissan limiting the top speed to 120 these days? wink

  • MacW 29 Apr 2013

    bofranklin said:

    Are Nissan limiting the top speed to 120 these days? wink
    silly Busted!

  • kambites 29 Apr 2013

    And paying Suzuki to build their dashboards, apparently. biggrin

  • SystemParanoia 29 Apr 2013

    Lol v8 twin turbo v6

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