2011 Nissan GT-R Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior I

  • On The Road I

  • How It Compares I Value For Money:

  • Tmr Verdict I Overall

  • See Full Specs
  • Country of Origin
    JAPAN
  • Price
    $168,800 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    6 Cylinders
  • Output
    390 kW / 612 Nm
  • Transmission
    Sports Automatic Dual Clutch
  • ANCAP Rating
    N/A
  • Airbags
    Driver & Passenger (Dual), Head for 2nd Row Seats, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • L/100 km
    11.9
  • C02
    281 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
    N/A
  • Towing (braked)
    N/A
  • Towing (unbraked)
    N/A
Tim O'Brien | Apr 1, 2011 | 9 Comments

2011 NISSAN GT-R REVIEW

Vehicle Style: High-performance coupe
Price: $168,800

Fuel Economy (claimed): 12.0 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): Not recorded

Awesome; it's an over-used word but the only one that really captures Nissan's crushing new GT-R.

Twenty years to the day since the release of the legendary 'Godzilla', the V8-eating R32 series, Nissan Australia has dropped the third evolution of the R35 onto the Australian market.

Its numbers are eye-watering: 390kW and 612Nm (up 33kW and 24Nm over the previous model) and 0-100km/h in 3.0 seconds neat.

Faster, leaner and slipperier than its predecessors, it will suck the doors off an M3 and go toe-to-toe with a GT3 RS Porsche. It is one hell of a car.

On Nissan Australia's invitation, we put its newest supercar through its paces on both road and track. Let me tell you brother, the new GT-R is a sledgehammer.

INTERIOR I

  • Quality: At the wheel it feels superbly crafted. Leather-stitched dash and door trims, body-hugging Recaro leather seats, stylish carbon-fibre and matte-black highlights and control-panel surfaces, the interior of the GT-R is first class.

    All switchgear falls neatly to hand (including the retro toggle-style performance-mode switches and magnesium alloy gear-paddles), and there is a quality feel of robustness and solidity throughout.
  • Comfort: With electrically-adjustable front seats, deep leather front and rear, and adjustable suspension settings - from 'comfort' to 'R-mode' (race) - the GT-R is a comfortable sporting ride.

    Rear seats are for kids or cabin-baggage; short trips only for adults there, although access is ok.
  • Equipment: While it is a mechanical tour-de-force, the GT-R is also very well featured. It comes with a seven-inch multi-function display with sat-nav, CD (MP3/WMA compatible), premium Bose audio system, iPod/USB connection, hard-disc with 9.3GB of audio storage, and driver-configurable 10-screen data read-out display.
  • Storage: That big squared-off rear offers a very useful 315 litres of deep and wide bootspace - easily enough to accommodate golf clubs and holiday baggage.

ON THE ROAD I

  • Driveability: On road, the GT-R can be surprisingly docile. Setting the three-mode suspension to 'comfort' increases initial compliance markedly, softening the damper-tune and providing a quite reasonable ride.

    It's still firm-ish, but acceptable for daily commuting and surprisingly good over broken secondary roads.

    The dual-clutch six-speed transmission also offers three selectable modes (Normal, R-Mode and Snow). It's a fabulous transmission, and has none of the low-speed shudder or hesitation of some twin-clutch systems.

    In all, the GT-R is very easy to live with, even in heavy traffic (as we encountered), and has few of the compromises that normally follow the joys of a genuine supercar.

    And fast? It is simply breathtaking. Stamp it for overtaking, and the surge of power from those 390kW and 612Nm simply slams you into the seat.

    Its AWD grip around a mountain road, brilliant chassis balance (with rear-mounted independent transaxle) and low centre of gravity, rewrites your physics school-books. For this driving, it is in another league.
  • Refinement: There may be a beast within but there is none of the vibration and harshness you might otherwise expect of such a focused track car.

    There is some tyre roar from the Dunlop SP Sport 600 nitrogen-filled run-flat tyres on coarse bitumen (natch), but it's quiet on the highway and wind-noise is very low (thanks certainly to a drag co-efficient of just 0.26 Cd - remarkable for a car with such downforce as the GT-R).
  • Suspension: Up front are double wishbones; multi-link at the rear. With carbon-fibre strut braces, enormous chassis rigidity and the flexibility of its three mode-settings, the GT-R's split personality works equally well on both road and track.
  • Braking: Braking performance is eye-popping; jumping on the huge 390mm (front discs) and 380mm (rear) will have you thinking you have lassoed a stump.

    Overcook it into a corner and the superb dynamic stability, skid and yaw control, allows you to wash off masses of speed mid-corner without incident.
  • On track: In R-mode, the 2011 GT-R's launch control will melt your face. Getting a 0-100km/h in around 3.0 seconds is simply a matter of thumbing the toggle, holding the brake and burying the shoe. It will automatically hold revs to 4000rpm for four seconds, within which you release the brake pedal.

    The launch is astonishing. There is a fraction of slip (around half a turn) to prevent bogging down, then it's like being fired from a gun.

    With all three toggles in R-mode (dynamic control, transmission and suspension), the GT-R is transformed.

    Suspension becomes track-hard, the threshold at which the DSC intervenes is raised and the six-speed transmission is transformed with lightning fast (0.2 seconds) shifts.

    On the track, it offers race-car performance out of the box. In a professional's hands it can lap Phillip Island within seven or eight seconds of the V8 Supercar lap record; even in our ham-fists, its levels of grip, searing speed and crushing acceleration can make an ordinary driver a very quick one.

    Few cars are so forgiving and allow such speed to be carried into and out of a corner.

SAFETY

  • ANCAP rating: (unrated)
  • Safety features: Standard safety features include four-wheel ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, EBD and dynamic stability control with traction control.

    There are also driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags, seatbelt sensors and side-impact airbags and roof-mounted curtain airbags.

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

  • Warranty: Three years/100,000km.
  • Servicing: Nissan's GT-R has special servicing requirements which, due to the high-tech nature of its mechanical and electronic systems and the specialised servicing and oils required, can be costly. Check with your dealer before purchase.

HOW IT COMPARES I VALUE FOR MONEY:

  • BMW M3 E92 Coupe ($168,808) - With 309kW and 400Nm, it's well out-gunned by the GT-R. Also, add dual-clutch, and its $7300 dearer, competition package adds another $9900, 19-inch alloys, another $4000... and so on. But it has the badge.
  • Porsche 911 997 Series II GT3 ($297,665) - With 320kW and 430Nm it's also well outgunned by the GT-R, but, crikey, it's a Porsche, and an analysis of mere numbers does not get close to its heart and soul.

TMR VERDICT I OVERALL

Nissan's GT-R is simply a fabulous car. If you are a keen driver and can afford the price of entry, and the premium servicing necessary, it demands a very close look.

While a weapon on the track, thanks to the flexibility and brilliance of its selectable 'modes', it is also entirely liveable as daily transport. It offers compromise for the road, without compromise for the track.

We would have Nissan's new GT-R in the garage in a heartbeat. I'll take mine in red.

Disclosure: TMR attended the Australian launch of the 2011 Nissan GT-R as a guest of Nissan Australia.

Filed under: Featured, review, Nissan, petrol, coupe, nissan gt-r, 2011 nissan gt-r, rwd, performance, turbo, lifestyle, Advice, special-featured, enthusiast, 6cyl, tim o'brien

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  • Godspeed says,
    4 years ago
    Sounds like a winner then... You guys have driven the original, correct? It looks like the low-speed gearbox refinement and ride quality over bumps have both been improved with this update, as they were both criticisms from many other journos.

    "In a professional's hands it can lap Phillip Island within seven or eight seconds of the V8 Supercar lap record..." - if that's true, then if the R35 were fitted with slick tyres (as a V8 supercar would be running), the difference would shrink further, to maybe 3-4 seconds. That's phenomenal.
    • steane
      Steane [TMR] says,
      4 years ago
      We have Godspeed. Nissan held a similar day at the Phillip Island track with the previous model.
  • toesonthenose says,
    4 years ago
    Great review! Only problem is, reading it makes me want to take out a loan & buy one! I'll take mine in gun metal Grey....
  • Tim O'Brien says,
    4 years ago
    Yup, after an afternoon at the wheel at Phillip Island, I took a couple of laps with FPR driver Luke Youlden at the wheel (wanted to see how a real driver approached the task).

    I thought I had been peddling pretty quickly until round about exactly right then. Two up, and baulked at one point by a slower car, Luke turned in a 1:45. Take a couple of seconds off for the extra ballast, some more for the baulk and you're heading down around 1:41.

    A bit more familiarisation with the car and slicks and Luke would be knocking even more off the lap times.

    Craig Lowndes holds the V8 Supercar record there with a 1:33.5

    The GT-R is monumentally quick.

    Tim
  • MotorMouth says,
    4 years ago
    I'd still have an M3, I think. The M3 Coupe might be expensive but the sedan is much cheaper (no carbon fibre roof) and more practical. Nissan's single-minded pursuit of Porsche has made the GT-R seem too crass, vulgar even.
    No-one seems to buy them, either. I doubt I've had a dozen sightings in Sydney and they have been around for a few years now. I reckon I see more late model Aston Martins on the road and plenty more current model M3s.
    • toesonthenose says,
      4 years ago
      "I doubt I've had a dozen sightings in Sydney and they have been around for a few years now. I reckon I see more late model Aston Martins on the road and plenty more current model M3s."

      All the more reason to purchase a GTR. If it was me spending this much dough on a car, I'd rather have something that isn't so commonly seen on the road.
      Then again, that's the best things about having choices!
    • Tocam says,
      4 years ago
      1 like
      I am seriously getting a bit sick of people's creating assumption based on gut feeling and their eyes.

      Those who buy Aston Martins are clearly people who wants to show off their taste buds on cars. Anything wrong with that? Of course not, I love AMs. But I can also clearly understand that the best place for me to see one is on the streets in the city, and hardly any on the track where it hardly shines at all.

      So what am I saying? You will most likely see certain types of cars at different areas, but that doesn't mean they are better selling than other cars.
    • myke hyslop says,
      2 years ago
      I am fortunate enough to own an E93 M3,Lancer Evo X, Subaru WRX ,Focus XR5 and a 2012 GTR. I don't think any of my cars are perfect,but the GTR is by far the most fun!
      The BMW is pure class and the EVO feels cheap inside but goes like hell! The WRX is better made, but slower than the EVO.The XR5 is also well made and the engine is so smooth! A Nissan GTR R35 is the best value for money performance car I think I wil ever own.I could have bought a used Ferrari 430,Gallardo or a DB9 but I'm glad I didn't
  • Godspeed says,
    4 years ago
    Sales don't always correlate highly with the merits of a car.

    Particularly it seems, in Australia, where there are a lot of pretentious people who can't get past the badge on the bonnet of a car.

    There's a good article in a recent issue of a particular UK magazine which ponders the relevance of car journalists - what purpose do they serve, they ask themselves, if people don't actually listen to what they say? They go on about how you should buy the proper manual version of the 911 GT3, together with the *softer* suspension, yet people go out and buy the PDK version with the hard suspension.
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