The Nissan GT-R rightfully earned its nickname "Godzilla" as a fire-breathing supercar, capable of taking down some of the world's most expensive and extreme sports cars at a fraction of the price. For 2012, Nissan's engineers took what they had learned from the three previous model years it had been sold on North American soil and improved upon every aspect, making the latest GT-R downright terrifying in just how extreme its capabilities have become.
Horsepower and torque are up while drag coefficient is down. Handling has gotten sharper, acceleration has become quicker. The GT-R's top speed has become faster. Now with 530 horsepower, the all-wheel drive GT-R seemingly smashed the laws of physics and accelerated a 3900-lb car to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds--quicker than any other production car under $100,000 ever made. With computers constantly monitoring wheel torque at all four wheels, transmission shifts through its six-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the vitals of the car through an interface designed by the makers of the Gran Turismo video games, it really is the most realistic video game ever.
With updated styling, more features and amenities, and 2+2 seating, the GT-R isn't a one-trick pony, either. Sure, it may be able to more than hold its own on a race track against the world's best, but what makes the GT-R a truly unique package is that it's a solidly livable daily driver, too.
Body style: Two-door coupe
Engines: Twin-turbocharged 3.8L, V-6
Transmission: six-speed dual-clutch transmission
Models: Nissan GT-R Premium, Nissan GT-R Black Edition
For 2012, the GT-R receives an extensive exterior refresh that lowers its resistance to the wind and integrates LED running lights into the front bumper. Under the hood, the engine benefits from better breathing with an increased output of 530 horsepower and 448 lb-ft of torque versus last year's 485 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, the interior has been upgraded with new materials, and the Black Edition, a model further upscale from the standard GT-R Premium with special RAYS wheels and a two-tone red and black leather interior, joins the lineup for 2012. Deep Blue Pearl and Jet Black join the GT-R's color palette.
Substantial and aggressive, the GT-R is hard to miss on the road. With revised styling that includes double aerodynamic fins and integrated running lights, the details may seem minute, but they add up to reduce aerodynamic drag and give the car a distinct look of function over form. Out back, the GT-R keeps its trademark quad taillight design, but it now sports a revised wing on the trunk and "aero-blades" on the rear fenders to fend off wind resistance. While the revisions look subtle, they help make the GT-R a wholly more efficient beast in the task of smiting the laws physics.
The Nissan GT-R's interior comes off as purposeful with all of its gauges and instruments laid out right in front of the driver. In the instruments, there's a center-mounted monitor designed by Gran Turismo video game powerhouse Polyphony that can display the navigation system, stereo controls, or performance readouts such as cornering Gs or lap times. New to the interior for 2012 are upgraded materials and carbon fiber inserts. On Black Edition models, the interior is covered in red and black leather.
Performance & Handling
A car of the GT-R's size and weight should not perform as well as it does. But with a hand-built twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6, the GT-R can rocket up to supralegal speeds in less than five seconds all the way to a 196 mph top speed. Through the corners, the Nissan uses its ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system to get anywhere in a hurry. In fact, it corners so aggressively that Nissan had to put a knurling inside each of the wheels to keep the tires from sliding off in hard turns. To get the car back to a standstill, the GT-R uses massive Brembo monoblock six-piston calipers to do the duties.
The 2012 GT-R features enhanced "wide-beam" headlights as well as Nissan's advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, and standard roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front seat occupant head protection. Traction and stability control are standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
GT-R Premium and Black Edition: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Supercar handling
- Rocket acceleration
- Luxurious interior
You Won't Like
- Firm ride
- Expensive to maintain
- Clunky shifts at low speeds
One of the best just got even better
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