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Nissan GT-R: Tech marvel or overweight wonder-pig?

 
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SSmith SSmith
New User | Posts: 33 | Joined: 05/06
Posted: 05/02/08
12:05 PM

I just drove Nissan's 480-hp GT-R on the street for the first time, and I came away a little confused. On the one hand, it's an amazingly capable, ludicrously fast, ridiculously intelligent hero car that does everything you ask it to, regardless of how much you do or don't suck behind the wheel. Want to blaze down a country road at 80-100 mph, sideways all the way, covered by a hundred electric safety nets? Done. Want to run an 11-second quarter mile but can't do a proper drag launch to save your life? Done. Want to lap a racetrack at Porsche 911 Turbo speeds without any of that messy dillying around with the laws of physics? Cake.

The GT-R is impressive. It's mind-boggling. It's Japanese, which means it will probably run forever and take every ounce of abuse that you can dish out, all without complaining. And, topping it all off, the whole thing is overseen by enough computing power to run a small government, essentially ensuring that you can shut your brain off from the moment you climb behind the wheel. All hail modern technology and the miracle of computing.

At the same time, however, there's a catch: Nissan's new baby is enormously complex, remarkably heavy, and surprisingly cold-hearted. The GT-R weighs in at almost 3900 pounds--to put this in perspective, that's roughly 500 pounds heavier than the famed "4DSC" Nissan Maxima from the early 1990s, which was a large, heavy four-door sedan. And unless you're hammering on it, the GT-R feels . . . well, it feels ordinary. Kind of dull. Boring. Like a Nissan Altima with a sadistic ride. Its limits--and its creators' dedication to compromise-free practicality--are so high, that unless you're doubling the speed limit, you're not really struck with any of the car's character. You're not really having a good time. And even if you do probe the GT-R's limits, everything kind of gets done for you.


So: The question is, do you like the GT-R? Are we moving in the right direction with heavy, overly complicated wonder machines that aren't entertaining at everyday speeds? Yes, they'll tear up a racetrack (along with your license) six ways from Sunday, but is that really why we buy street cars?  

f430shift f430shift
New User | Posts: 22 | Joined: 04/08
Posted: 05/02/08
09:48 PM

Yes. I like the car. All of the advantages you described trump the weight constraints, and complexity seems to be the norm these days. However, I do wish for a more driver-involved model; maybe they restricted it to racing-for-non-racers style to prevent accidents; or increase ease of driving, i don't know.  

MazdaManiac86 MazdaManiac86
New User | Posts: 45 | Joined: 10/07
Posted: 05/03/08
05:19 AM

This car is going to set a new benchmark in the world of ultra high tech performance automobiles.  The GTR will destroy a 911 turbo on a racetrack, and it costs only about half as much!  I don't care if it wears a Nissan badge- the fact that it can run with sports cars costing twice as much makes this an exotic car in my book.  It reminds me of the old Acura NSX in its supercar performance at a reasonable price (though the NSX, while an incredible value at the time, cost thousands more than the new GTR, and that was almost 20 years ago).

Do I like this car?  Hell yeah!  In terms of value for money, nothing comes close.

I do, however, have a few qualms.  The first of which is looks.  This car is, well, distinctive looking at best.  It has real road prescence, but it's no beauty.  I also frown upon the number of gadgets and electronic gizmos that Nissan has stuffed into this vehicle.  It sounds like it has almost as many toys as a Mercedes S Class (albeit performance oriented rather than luxury).  My last major gripe is the weight.  The weight!  3900 pounds?!  You've got to be kidding me!  How on earth does this car weigh that much?  I know it has all wheel drive and a fairly beefy V6 engine, but come on!  How could Nissan allow their halo sports car to be such a fatty?  Imagine how much more awesome the GTR would be if it weighed 500 pounds less!  

blackmagic666 blackmagic666
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 05/08
Posted: 05/03/08
01:06 PM

That is why Nissan is coming out with their LIGHTER weight GTR Spec V very soon to address the weight issue as well as a MORE radical design. Nissan has not given any specific numbers yet for their GTR Spec-V version. But whatever it is will surely and definitely embarass (kick-butt) a LOT of other SUPER prized sports cars out there.  

Phil Floraday Phil Floraday
Administrator | Posts: 121 | Joined: 03/08
Posted: 05/05/08
10:50 AM

I was lucky enough to spend a complete day with the GT-R while it was in our fleet. I liked the car more each time I drove it. I wouldn't want a GT-R as my sole car, but if I had enough money for a collection of sports cars, I would have a place for the Nissan.  

askogstrom askogstrom
New User | Posts: 9 | Joined: 04/08
Posted: 05/07/08
12:55 PM

If there's one word I would definitely NOT use to describe the GT-R, it's "boring" (sorry, Sam). Sure, it's too heavy, and it'd be more involving if it had a manual transmission, but I never found myself bored or mistook the car for an Altima during my (admittedly short) time behind the wheel. Perhaps it's not an everyday driver, but that's OK. We already have hundreds of cars on the market that will do the job for everyday driving. Heaven forfend we stop having a multitude of automotive choices. If there's a place in the market for such polar opposites as the Toyota Prius and the Cadillac Escalade, surely there's also a place for the GT-R.  

david.yochum david.yochum
New User | Posts: 36 | Joined: 04/08
Posted: 05/07/08
01:52 PM

Icon QuoteSSmith:
I just drove Nissan's 480-hp GT-R on the street for the first time, and I came away a little confused. On the one hand, it's an amazingly capable, ludicrously fast, ridiculously intelligent hero car that does everything you ask it to, regardless of how much you do or don't suck behind the wheel. Want to blaze down a country road at 80-100 mph, sideways all the way, covered by a hundred electric safety nets? Done. Want to run an 11-second quarter mile but can't do a proper drag launch to save your life? Done. Want to lap a racetrack at Porsche 911 Turbo speeds without any of that messy dillying around with the laws of physics? Cake.

The GT-R is impressive. It's mind-boggling. It's Japanese, which means it will probably run forever and take every ounce of abuse that you can dish out, all without complaining. And, topping it all off, the whole thing is overseen by enough computing power to run a small government, essentially ensuring that you can shut your brain off from the moment you climb behind the wheel. All hail modern technology and the miracle of computing.

At the same time, however, there's a catch: Nissan's new baby is enormously complex, remarkably heavy, and surprisingly cold-hearted. The GT-R weighs in at almost 3900 pounds--to put this in perspective, that's roughly 500 pounds heavier than the famed "4DSC" Nissan Maxima from the early 1990s, which was a large, heavy four-door sedan. And unless you're hammering on it, the GT-R feels . . . well, it feels ordinary. Kind of dull. Boring. Like a Nissan Altima with a sadistic ride. Its limits--and its creators' dedication to compromise-free practicality--are so high, that unless you're doubling the speed limit, you're not really struck with any of the car's character. You're not really having a good time. And even if you do probe the GT-R's limits, everything kind of gets done for you.


So: The question is, do you like the GT-R? Are we moving in the right direction with heavy, overly complicated wonder machines that aren't entertaining at everyday speeds? Yes, they'll tear up a racetrack (along with your license) six ways from Sunday, but is that really why we buy street cars?


I agree that the GT-R is  cold hearted, but it should never be mentioned in the same sentence as a Nissan Altima. Yes, if you drive the car at posted speed limits, you likely won't feel that it's anything special. But what car's do reveal that they are special unless you push them? And not every GT-R owner will have a racing license, so I'm sure many in Southern California won't mind electronics assisting their road techniques. Heck, electric gizmos may even save more GT-R's for the used car lot, Autotrader, and Ebay.

Plain and simple — driving the GT-R to lunch, people stopped and stared at it. Just driving by my apartment complex, the maintenance guy (who drives a rusted-through Dodge Ram) ran out to the middle of the road to ask me if it was the new Nissan Z and if it had a V8. Vehicles that make non-car guys ask questions really are special, no matter if it has too many electronics, questionable styling, or a vanilla interior.  

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