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2013 Nissan GT-R Premium

Car Review: 2013 Nissan GT-R Premium

by on May 15, 2012


Full Review by Andy: The Godless Godzilla

There is a quasi-religious system in the automotive world. Though unspoken, it has creeds and commandments, prophecies and priests. Directives include, “Thou shalt never affix neon lights to the underside of any vehicle” and, “Thou shalt never buy or condone a Toyota Prius.” When Jeremy Clarkson unleashes a sardonic rant about the latest Vauxhall, gearheads nod their noggins, realizing that they are privy to a British Isaiah preaching fire-and-brimstone redemption.
The 2013 Nissan GT-R is what godlessness looks like. It disregards the Holy Writ. It costs less than six figures but can hit 60 mph in 2.72 seconds. Its performance is blasphemous, and if Lamborghini had its way, the GT-R would be banished from the Garden. Yet the GT-R continues to peddle hedonistic pleasures to feed its flock.
(See 80+ images and color options for the 2013 Nissan GT-R Premium).
When the GT-R debuted in America in 2007, much of the hype surrounding its introduction focused on its 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. The engine’s in-house moniker is VR38DETT. It is an evolution of the highly acclaimed VQ series from Nissan, which have often come home swinging hardware from Ward’s 10 Best contests. For 2013, engineers add 15 horsepower for a total of 545 horsepower, courtesy of an improved air intake and a more efficient exhaust, along with revamped ignition timing, valve control timing, and other additions. The six-speed twin-clutch automatic has been tweaked for smoother shifts, but the gearbox still swaps cogs with the alacrity of a charging rhinoceros. Even with its prodigious and immediate power output, the GT-R still achieves a tax-free 16/23 mpg.

In truth, 545 horsepower isn’t anything to gleefully burn buildings about. A Shelby GT500 gets that and more. The two-ton-plus rear-wheel drive Shelby, however, has difficulty breaking four seconds to 60 mph. Meanwhile, the 3,829-lb Nissan GT-R smashes the sound barrier and laughs in Newton’s face on its way to 196 mph.

The GT-R just sacrificed a pig on the altar. Cars that cost below six figures should not be able to do that. The GT-R’s talents, whether they be demonic or a gift from on high, are nothing short of sacrilegious. If Ferrari, Pagani, and Koenigsegg are the Titans of the automotive world, then Nissan is the upstart Olympian about to overthrow perceptions and paradigms.

The GT-R is one of the quickest cars in the world, lapping the Nurburgring – and a Porsche or two – in the time it takes to sneeze. It is also as easy to drive as a Nissan Altima. There are four reasons why the Godzilla is so fast and so simple. First of all, it rides on a rear-wheel biased all-wheel drive system that can route up to half the power to the front wheels. Thanks to the four-wheel traction and the fly-paper tires, the GT-R can pull over 1g on the skidpad. Secondly, the GT-R uses an adjustable suspension, adjustable stability control, and an adjustable transmission to switch between hypersonic, otherworldly, and demonic. Thirdly, the GT-R has steering with as much sentiment and feeling as a woman in love. Lastly, the GT-R uses six-piston/four-piston 15.35/15-inch front/rear cross-drilled and ventilated Brembo disc brakes, which is a technical way of saying that the supercar has a hippopotamus at each wheel waiting to clamp down.

Yet unlike a Pagani Zonda or Spyker C8 Aileron, the Nissan GT-R accomplishes its duties with more than one screaming, gobsmacked passenger. It has two other passengers, albeit pint-sized, stashed in the two rear seats. The idea behind the 2+2 layout is that the two back occupants will be so smitten with the austere design scheme and the turbine-like scream of the engine that they will ignore the fact that their knees are at eye level. However, with two rear seats and an accommodating 8.8-cubic foot trunk, the GT-R has far more room for people and packages than the everyday supercar.

Also in a stark contrast to legendary performers like the Porsche 911 GT2 and Lotus Elise GTE, the Nissan GT-R accomplishes it fiendish performance with a modicum of comfort. The Godzilla brims with heavy electronics and convenience features such as a HDD navigation system with voice controls, an 11-speaker Bose audio system, and a rearview mirror. The GT-R also does not skimp on ergonomic necessities such as heated mirrors, cruise control, and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and power-adjustable, heated sport front seats. Leather and suede swathe the cabin’s architecture and seats, accented by carbon and alloy rim. Though not as comfortable as a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, the GT-R, similar to the Audi R8, makes a tolerable daily driver.

So is the Nissan GT-R sacrilege or salvation? Maybe a little of both.

Engine: 3.8-liter turbocharged V6: 545 horsepower @6,400 rpm/463 lb-ft of torque @3,200 rpm
Transmission: six-speed shiftable dual-clutch automated manual
Drivetrain: AWD
Fuel Economy: 16/23 mpg
0-60 mph: 2.7 seconds
Base MSRP: $96,820

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