Nissan GT-R Black Edition

When your front wheels feel as though they’ve left the ground on a stretch of gently undulating dual-carriageway tarmac, it’s probably reasonable to suspect you’re motoring at more than the posted speed limit.

Not that PH would condone such behaviour, perish the thought, but shortly after take-off it did cross my mind that a 220mph speedometer with the 70mph mark tucked almost out of sight in the bottom left hand corner is hardly an aid to keeping points off your licence. In the GT-R the needle sweeps around its dial with so much vigour it’s next to useless trying to keep up with it at all. Press the pedal to the metal and you’re jet-propelled so fast into the scenery unravelling through the windscreen, that it’s a bit like falling headlong off your seat and into one of those 3-D canyon movies at the IMAX cinema.

Under maximum acceleration the car is so utterly, devastatingly and shockingly fast that on anything other than an empty runway (which I did have a little go on later), some innate biological mechanism for self-preservation leaves you powerless to tear your eyes from the road ahead. As the speedo needle barely registers in your lower peripheral vision until it’s almost vertical, by that time it will have passed so far into the realms of naughtiness that you might as well throw the book at yourself.

This being the case, I can’t say how fast the GT-R was travelling when the nose seemed to skip momentarily sky-wards on the stretch of black-top in question, although I do know the needle hadn’t yet heaved into view at the top of the dial. But I also know how fast the PH fleet Evo FQ-360 will comfortably cover the same bit of ground, and it’s a speed at which you might still consider using an idle hand to reprogram the sat-nav; in the GT-R the road is gobbled up so eagerly you can’t afford to blink, let alone take a hand off the wheel.

The point I’m trying to get to is not that the GT-R is rocket-ship fast, because we all knew that already. The point is that the GT-R is so utterly, mind-blowingly competent at the business of going fast, that you don’t have to be remotely talented to drive it out of your skin. If you can point it, squirt the throttle, and hang on without passing-out during the subsequent G-force exposure, you’ve pretty much mastered the basic skill set required to rule the four-wheeled world. You’d probably let Christiano Ronaldo give you a lift to the airport in this car, and he could probably post a 7min 26sec lap of the Nurburgring in his football boots.

Thoughts like this made me realise I was strangely disengaged from the GT-R during my first few hours with it. Part of the problem was an overdose of anticipation for a car I’d been desperate to drive since, oh, 2001, when Nissan first unveiled a styling buck concept replacement for the R34 at the motor show in Tokyo. I loved the proposed GT-R’s muscular shape right there and then, with the promise of untold technological advances, devastating power and that little bit of ‘manga’ counter-culture magic thrown in. Then I was in Tokyo again when Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn unveiled what turned out to be the almost production-ready GT-R Proto in 2005, and the longing to possess the car burned even hotter. But it wasn’t until Friday last week, years after hearing those first GT-R siren calls, that fellow PHer Paul Garlick finally tossed me the keys - I think will always remember my first GT-R; a Black Edition in gorgeous

Titanium Grey with black and red leather trim, registered R1 GT-R, and the consummation of an eight-year love affair.

Strangely, in spite of a passion that had been unrequited for so many years, waiting another 24hrs had seemed strangely irrelevant - so we agreed that Garlick would take the GT-R press car home first. I knew he had relished the experience, as he sent me a text late that night saying his 30 minute commute had turned into a four hour adventure, but I wasn’t quite ready for the psychological effect the car seemed to have on him.

We swapped wheels before a meeting the next morning and, as he handed over the key, his demeanour changed subtly like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. I’m sure I caught him casting evil glances and muttering darkly about ‘his precious’ as we ran through PH’s latest ABC figures with our hosts, and when I pulled out of the car park his image loomed disconsolately in the GT-R’s mirrors as he gazed jealously at our departing tail-lamps. A tad churlish, I thought, considering his clammy hand was now clutching the key to the FQ-360, surely one of the greatest drivers’ cars of the modern age. But that’s what the GT-R can do to a fellow.

It was getting straight out of the FQ-360 that helped to colour my own first thoughts on the GT-R. I was surprised that in contrast to the Mitsubishi’s highly communicative steering the Nissan’s helm felt the tiniest bit leaden, the brake pedal a little bit inert, the ride stiff and unyielding. The GT-R’s 1740kg bulk seemed to weigh heavily too, and with its broad dashboard, wide rectangular windscreen and expansive interior, it felt more akin to sitting in a late model Ford Mustang than a Porsche 911-baiting supercar.

But what a lovely place to be, for all that. The interior design, with its padded dash-top, circular vents, and metallic and leather trim highlights appeals to all the senses, while there's plenty of leg, head and shoulder room for folk of all sizes. The driving seat was a little less comfortable than I had hoped, being too narrow in the shoulder wings for my burly frame. To make up for that the steering wheel is a tactile delight, with its paddle-shifters perfectly placed for finger-tip operation behind it.

On the road, it’s hard to see why you’d ever need to use the paddle-shifters, as the automatic mode on the double-clutch transaxle gearbox is beyond meaningful criticism. But tap the tunnel-mounted gearknob to engage manual shift mode, and why you’d want to becomes obvious. The paddles deliver split-second, seamless cog-swapping in a manner that encourages the driver to flick up and down through the ‘box, heedless of the risk of unsettling the car with ham-fisted clutchwork, and eliminating any threat of disturbance to the line you are steering.

With blink-of-an-eye changes at your fingertips, you’re free to marvel at the GT-R chassis. It steam-rollers through corners in a flat, unfeasibly controlled fashion, with an impunity to speed that leaves the driver giggling at his own lack of self-control, rather than any real sense of exploring the car’s potential. GT-R speed feels sanitised – or digitised – to the extent that going fast through corners is like watching a cartoon of a rocket-propelled vacuum cleaner sucking up the ribbon of road in front of you. And while it’s never ‘man and machine in perfect harmony’ - the power and performance feels too outrageous for that - the GT-R experience is ultimately more addictive than could ever be healthy, especially as the twin-turbo motor fills the cabin with a deliciously animalistic, angry snarling soundtrack. At speed too, the steering turns-in with a precision that belies the car’s size and weight, and the brake pedal provides more confidence the harder you use it. Stopping power is phenomenal as you would expect.

There’s a popular cliché that often rears its ugly head in supercar reviews, suggesting that as you get to know a car, its dimensions seem to contract around you; the driver gradually becoming one with his machine.

The GT-R isn’t a bit like that, remaining resolutely and almost implausibly larger than life in spite of increasing familiarity with its capabilities. Yet far from being un-involving, I think this car has a special character all of its own, exuding the sort of imperious indifference to its owner that you might expect if you kept a highly trained lion as a status pet.

Couple that with exterior styling that looks like sex on wheels, and it's hard to see how £60k could be better spent on a new performance car.

GT-R 3.8 V6 twin-turbo Black Edition

On the road price, including VAT at 15%, delivery charges, number plates and road fund licence:£59,400.00

Nissan’s official spec sheet is reproduced below:


- 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6
- Dual overhead camshafts with variable intake-valve timing
- Die-cast aluminium cylinder block with high-endurance/lowfriction plasma-sprayed bores
- Aluminium pistons
- Nissan Direct Ignition system with iridium-tipped spark plugs
- Electronic drive-by-wire throttle
- Pressurised lubrication system with thermostatically controlled cooling and magnesium oil sump pan
- Fully symmetrical dual intake and low-backpressureexhaust systems
- Secondary air intake system to rapidly heat catalyststo peak cleaning efficiency

- ATTESA ET-S Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) with patented independent rear-mounted transaxle integrating transmission, differential and 4WD transfer case
- Torque distribution - Traction/yaw-based; up to 100% rear; up to 50% front
- Rigid, lightweight carbon-composite driveshaftbetween engine and transaxle
- Electronic Traction Control
- High-performance 1.5-way mechanically lockingrear differential
- Advanced Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
with three driver-selectable settings

- All-new GR6 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with three driver-selectable modes
- Fully automatic shifting or sequential manual control via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters
- Downshift Rev Matching (DRM)
- Predictive pre-shift control (in R-mode) preselects the next gear change based on throttle position, vehicle speed, braking input and other information

- Brembo® 4-wheel disc brakes - 15" (380 mm) front and rear
- Two-piece floating-rotor front and rear discs with diamondpattern internal ventilation
- Super-rigid 6-piston front/4-piston rear monoblock callipers with racecar-inspired 3-point mounting
- 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
- Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD)
- Nissan Brake Assist

- Coefficient of drag - 0.27
- Negative lift (downforce) generated at speed- Full underbody covering
- Body-colour rear spoiler with integrated centre high-mounted stop light
- Knife-edge front wings, designed for optimised air management around the wheels and to help keep the side windows clearer at driving speed
- Optimised airflow through the undercarriage and wheel arches to help cool the engine, drivetrain and brakes

- Automatic headlights
- Wide-beam headlights with High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon low beams
- LED taillights and brake lights
- Dual heated body-colour power outside mirrors- Flush-mounted aluminium door handles
- Quad exhaust exit pipes with chrome-tip finishers
- UV-reducing solar glass

- Digital Bose® audio system with AM/FM/CD, 11 speakers (including dual subwoofers), Radio Data System (RDS),
and MP3/WMA CD playback capability
- Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
- Multi-function meter
- Monitor also provides displays and interface for programmable vehicle settings, vehicle information, audio and navigation systems

- Intelligent Key with engine start button
- Electronic analogue instrument cluster with multi-function trip computer and digital gear indicator
- Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control
- Power front windows with one-touch driver-side autoup/down
- Remote windows down
- Key-operated windows up/down
- Remote keyless entry with boot release
- Cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls
- Tilt and telescoping steering column
- Variable-intermittent flat-blade windscreen wipers
- Dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors
- Front centre console with armrest, storage and dualcupholders
- Rear centre console with dual cupholders
- Map reading lamps

- Front suspension - Double-wishbone with aluminium members
- Rear suspension - multi-link with aluminium members
- Rigid aluminium front and rear suspension
subframes, assembled in high-precision jigs, with 4-point mounting to body
- Bilstein® DampTronic system with three
driver-selectable modes
- Hollow front and rear stabiliser bars with tubular torsion-free design, to help maintain maximum tyre contact at all four wheels during extreme cornering
- Electronically controlled rack-and-pinion steering with vehicle-speed-sensitive power assist
- 2.6 steering-wheel turns lock-to-lock

- Super-lightweight RAYS seven-spoke 20" diameter forgedaluminium wheels with ridged bead area
- Black finish
- Exclusively developed tyres, nitrogen-filled at factory
- Standard tyres - Dunlop SP Sport 600 DSST
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

- All-new Premium Midship platform with hybrid unibody
- Aluminium bonnet, trunk lid and outer door skins
- Die-cast aluminium front shock towers and door structures
- All outer body panels stamped using multiple-strike coining process, for exceptional rigidity and precision
- Carbon-composite frontcrossmember/radiator support
- Advanced 6-stage paint process with full double clearcoat and chip-resistant paint in critical areas

- Leather front seats with perforated Pearlsuede inserts
- 8-way power front seats with entry/exit switch forrear passengers
- Driver and passenger sports seats
- Dual individual rear seats
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob
- Drilled aluminium pedals
- Leather-trimmed dashboard, console and door trim
- Brushed metal interior trim

- Nissan Advanced Airbag System with dual-stage front driver and passenger airbags
- Driver and front-passenger side-impact airbags and roof-mounted curtain airbags
- Front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters
- 3-point ALR/ELR passenger seat belt system (ELR for driver)
- Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones
- Bonnet buckling creases, pipe-style steel side-door guard beams, and energy-absorbing steering column
- ATESSA ET-S Four-Wheel Drive with Electronic Traction Control
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- Nissan Vehicle Immobiliser System
- Thatcham Approved anti-theft system


Engine type VR38DETT
Configuration V6 incorporating DOHC
Cylinder bore x stroke (mm) 95.5 x 88.4
Displacement (cm3) 3799
Compression ratio 9 : 1
Max. power output (PS/rpm) 485/6400
Max. torque 588/3200-5200
Fuel supply
NISSAN EGI (ECCS) Electronic controlled fuel injection system
Recommended fuel Premium, plus unleaded
Fuel tank capacity (l) 71


Transmission type GR6 Dual Clutch
1st 4.056
2nd 2.301
3rd 1.595
4th 1.248
5th 1.001
6th 0.796
Gear ratio
Reverse 3.383
Final drive ratio 3.700
Driven wheels 4WD

Overall length (mm) 4655
Overall width (mm) 1895
Overall height (mm) 1370
Max. interior dimensions
(length x width x height) 1750 x 1475 x 1095
Wheelbase (mm) 2780
Track Front/Rear (mm) 1590/1600
Min. ground clearance (mm) 110

Kerb weight (kg) 1740
Seating capacity (persons) 4 (2+2)
Gross vehicle weight (kg) 1960

Acceleration 0-60 mph (sec) 3.5
Maximum speed (mph) 193
Min. turning circle (kerb to kerb)
(m) 11.4

Urban (mpg) 15.4
Extra Urban (mpg) 31.0
Fuel consumption (mpg) Combined 22.8
CO2 (g/km) 298
Main Emission Control System Variable valve timing
Electronic controlled power-assist rack and pinion
Suspension Front/Rear
Independent double wishbone suspension /Independent multi-link suspension

Braking System Front/Rear
Ventilated brake disc /Ventilated brake disc

Tyre Size Front/Rear 255/40ZRF20 97 /
285/35ZRF20 100Y


Comments (117) Join the discussion on the forum

  • gtoblue 22 May 2009

    What a wonderfully accurate review. I have picked my identical car up on Monday and am blown away at its capabilities. The size is apparent when you're stationary only, otherwise it is just the smoothest delivery of power I have ever experienced and corners are just eaten up by the 4WD traction. A perfect car that should not have had the criticism that it has had - well done Nissan

  • tomvcarter 22 May 2009

    How does it compare to the e92 M3?
    I know the power and acceleration are superior, but is it as fun to drive?

  • kpkpkp 22 May 2009

    I had a go in one on the UK roads last Saturday after having the pleasure of wanging one round Silverstone last year - they are just simply awesome. The M3 cannot compare on any level, that said the E46 M3 knocks spots off the new one but the GT-R really is in a world of its own. Mine should be here in 26 days time and I cannot wait.

    Well Done Nissan

    PS I sold my 997 C2S to own one and there are many more just like me - that is why Porsche is so upset with Nissan.


  • nav p 22 May 2009

    I cannot wait for mine which is due in September,having been fortunate enough to own some lovely cars and also having worked for several prestige/sports car makers i have not been so excited about a car in absolute ages.
    My only dissapointment is how often it needs servicing.

    Roll on September.

  • R60EST 22 May 2009

    I have never before even considered spending up to £60k on a car , even though , at a push , I could. ( Half decent income and a lot of equity in the house). However when I saw the GT-R on top gear last year I decided in about 5 minutes to take the plunge and buy one. I went to the Nissan website , tracked down my local Nissan performance centre ( Cant name and shame in St Helen's) and looked into the whole business of owning one. Read up on the deposit etc and sent an email immediately to them with my name and contact number and my wish to place a deposit and order one straight away.

    The next day at work I was brimming with excitement at the prospect of owning one, all the time justifying the just short of £56k price tag as a once in a lifetime thing that I should do while I had the chance. As the day went on , no phone call, common sense crept in and doubts formed in my mind whether or not I was being too impulsive.

    The upshot was I didn't receive a phone call in the coming 3 weeks or so and i had totally talked myself out of it, then out of the blue I got a phone call from the dealer

    The dealer apologised for the slight delay ( nearly a month ) in getting back to me and explained he'd been busy. After a short conversation he told me that placing a deposit would secure one for delivery currently expected to be the back end of 2010. ( This was late 2008) . I decided that if I'd gone off the idea in just a few weeks , putting a deposit down and waiting for up to 2 years was probably going to be more mental torture than I could bare.

    I now see imported ones changing hands for £45k ish and I'm beginning to get the desire again, although a UK one would still be my choice , articles like this one could cause serious damage to my bank balance

    Edited by R60EST on Friday 22 May 20:32

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