A look at the ever-evolving Japanese supercar
Since it arrived on the American scene for the 2009 model year, the Nissan GT-R has seen continual improvements. For 2017, the Japanese supercar gets even more updates. While most updates focus on aesthetics and comfort, Godzilla also gets another power boost for its latest refresh. Here is a look at the Nissan GT-R’s performance evolution through the years.
When the R35-generation Nissan GT-R arrived in 2009, its twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter VR V-6 was rated 480 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch transmission combined with the automaker’s ATTESSA E-TS all-wheel-drive system and advanced electronics routed power to all four wheels. The first R35 Nissan GT-R we tested hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 120.0 mph (193 km/h). More than a one-trick-pony, the GT-R lapped the figure-eight in 24.3 seconds and pulled 0.97 g average around the skidpad. Those numbers were mighty impressive for its day, but the GT-R wouldn’t stop there.
The GT-R received its first power boost in 2010 and now made 485 hp. In 2011, Nissan also added a new transmission control unit and updated the suspension tuning, which made a noticeable difference in handling. The figure-eight lap dropped to 23.7 seconds, while the skidpad number climbed to 1.03 g. In 2012, the GT-R got a massive power boost, which increased horsepower by 45 and torque by 14 for totals of 530 hp and 448 lb-ft, respectively. Acceleration and handling both improved, as did handling.
Not about to leave well enough alone, Nissan increased horsepower another 15 to 545 hp and torque by 15 to 463 lb-ft for the 2013 model year. The GT-R also gained revised suspension tuning. Our long-term 2013 Nissan GT-R Black Edition now accelerated to 60 in 2.8 seconds. The figure-eight time dropped to 23.0 seconds flat.
A new Track Edition was introduced in 2014 and ditched the rear seats in search of weight reduction. The new model featured a stiffer suspension and new Dunlop SP Sport Maxx summer tires. In 2015, Nissan introduced the hardcore GT-R NISMO model with even more power and wilder aerodynamics. While lesser GT-R models still make 545 hp and 463 lb-ft, the GT-R NISMO makes an astounding 600 hp and 481 lb-ft. That’s an increase of 55 hp and 18 lb-ft. In testing, the 2015 Nissan GT-R NISMO posted a best acceleration run of 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds and a quarter mile in 11 seconds flat at 126.6 mph (204 km/h). The figure-eight time dropped to just 22.9 seconds.
The last example we tested was a 2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary model (545 hp and 463 lb-ft) that felt much softer than early models. That model came in last place in a comparison against the Mercedes-AMG GT S and Porsche 911 Turbo S.
Performance updates to the 2017 Nissan GT-R include a boost in power to 565 hp and 467 lb-ft (increases of 20 hp and 4 lb-ft). Additionally, power under the curve is also said to be stronger. Nissan also revised the transmission for smoother shifting in normal driving, while still being aggressive during performance situations. Other updates include a stiffer frame and revised suspension.
While we won’t know how the newest model performs until we get an example to the track, we suspect it will continue the GT-R’s history of performance increases. Only time will tell if Nissan will also update the hardcore GT-R NISMO model.
|Model||HP||Torque||0-60||1/4 mile||Trap Speed||60-0||Skidpad||Figure-eight time|
|2009 Nissan GT-R||480||434||3.2||11.6||120.0||105||0.97||24.3 sec @ 0.81 g|
|2010 Nissan GT-R||485||434||3.5||11.9||120.1||103||0.98||24.4 sec @ 0.81 g|
|2011 Nissan GT-R||485||434||3.5||11.8||119.8||99||1.03||23.7 sec @ 0.85 g|
|2012 Nissan GT-R Premium||530||448||2.9||11.2||122.7||101||1.05||23.3 sec @ 0.89 g|
|2013 Nissan GT-R Black Edition||545||463||2.8||11.1||124.8||105||1.03||23.0 sec @ 0.91 g|
|2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition||545||463||2.7||11||125.1||94||1.04||23.0 sec @ 0.93 g|
|2015 Nissan GT-R NISMO||600||481||2.9||11||126.6||97||1.06||22.9 sec @ 0.91 g|
|2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary||545||463||2.9||11.2||122.0||103||1.0||23.5 sec @ 0.90 g|
So how has the Nissan GT-R stacked up against other supercars? Going by just the stats from our first five World’s Greatest Drag Races (spun off from 2011-2015 Best Driver’s Car competition), the Nissan GT-R has had a strong showing. Godzilla has claimed four spots on our list of the top 10 quickest cars from the past five drag races. In fact, that’s one for each of the four years the GT-R has participated in the competition. See where the GT-R stands in terms of acceleration in the chart below.
|Finishing Order||Competition Year||Vehicle||Elapsed Time||Trap Speed|
|1st||2012||Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4||10.8 seconds||132.3 mph|
|2nd||2012||McLaren MP4-12C||10.8 seconds||130.7 mph|
|3rd||2014||Porsche 911 Turbo S||10.9 seconds||126.0 mph|
|4th||2013||Nissan GT-R Track Edition||11.0 seconds||125.1 mph|
|5th||2013||Mercedes-Benz SLS Black Series||11.1 seconds||129.8 mph|
|6th||2014||Nissan GT-R Nismo||11.1 seconds||125.3 mph|
|7th||2012||Nissan GT-R Black Editon||11.1 seconds||124.8 mph|
|8th||2011||Nissan GT-R||11.2 seconds||121.8 mph|
|9th||2013||Audi R8 V10 Plus||11.3 seconds||125.8 mph|
|10th||2011||Ferrari 458 Italia||11.3 seconds||125.6 mph|
Of course, we can’t mention the Nissan GT-R without talking about its not-for-U.S.-consumption forebears. To many car fans, the Nissan Skyline GT-R has been the sweetest kind of forbidden fruit, with its turbocharged straight-six power and performance-oriented all-wheel-drive grip. Though we in the U.S. never got the chance to experience the Skyline GT-R, Nissan recognizes its contribution to the GT-R we know today, and is displaying every generation of GT-R at its New York auto show booth. Check out the photos below.
For more details on the changes to the 2017 Nissan GT-R, check out our First Look here.