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2017 Nissan GT-R Premium review: The deal of the century, again

There’s a ton of good about this car — sickening acceleration, vicious looks, cool tech — but let’s start with the bad.

The GT-R has this green light in the tach. I think it’s supposed to tell you when to shift economically because it starts flashing at about 2,500 rpm and then comes on solid at 3,000 or so, whenever the car is in manual mode. It flashes all the time, even when you’re in sixth gear, which I don’t understand, and it always made me take my eyes off the road, even after I’d been in the car for two days. I couldn’t find a way to get rid of it, but I didn’t look too deeply in the menus.

It’s a bear in traffic. When driving the GT-R as it should be driven, no problem. Stomp the gas, it takes off like a rocket and you just have to get ready for second gear, which comes in about two seconds. But in traffic, holy smokes, in traffic it’s a lurchy, clunky rocket just itching to take off. I sat on the freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic for an hour yesterday and boy does it get annoying. This thing just wants to run free. It’s the dual-clutch’s fault as usual, but this is one car that I wouldn’t give up the DCT because when it’s stretching its legs, it’s awesome.

So acceleration, like I said, always say, is brutal. The last time I had this car with a friend in the passenger seat he said it made him nauseated. It takes off so fast, and with so little slip, it doesn’t feel like the tires are doing the work, just an invisible force pulling the front end. People try to keep up in traffic, not a chance. It does feel like a Nissan, though. It has just a little bit of 370Z sound from the exhaust, and maybe a little bit of the feel during acceleration too. Shifts from the sixer are strong and immediate at full speed, and of course a little clunky when going slower.

On the expressway, this car begs to hit triple digits and it’s easy to do. In sixth gear, it sits at about 80 mph at 3,200 rpm or so, meaning there is plenty of power without shifting gears. It’s a little intimidating, thinking that all you have to do is stomp the throttle and you’ll be near 200 mph in no time.

And then there’s launch control. Nissan has pretty much perfected it. It used to feel like the GT-R was hit by a train. Now it feels more civilized, if you can call it that, when all four tires spin and you have to hold on for dear life. I did it three times in row with no issues. The brakes are great at high speeds, a little grabby in bumper-to-bumper, but again, with this car, you take the good with the bad.

It feels pretty heavy through the steering wheel, but planted. It has a straight-up, old-school hydraulic rack-and-pinion setup — that and the tires do a great job of transmitting the road to your hands. That means you can take turns faster and more aggressive because you’ll feel it slipping before it breaks free. That also leads to it following the dips in the road and sometimes jerking to the side of the lane when the pavement gets wavy. But with both hands firmly on the wheel, it feels fantastic.

The GT-R went from the deal of the century in 2009 to just an average deal in 2014, but now I think it might be back to being the deal of the century. Prices of its competitors went up. There’s the Viper, which is now just a tick under 100K, the 911 Carrera 4S, which is almost exactly the same as the Nissan and then there are the AMG GTS and Jag F-Type Rs of the world. I suppose at 100K there are a lot of great cars, which isn’t surprising — the Corvette Z06 is up there too. Maybe it wouldn’t be my first choice because it’s not rear-wheel drive, but it’s so frickin’ vicious, and it’s like nothing else on the road. If you’re playing in this rarified air, it has to be driven.

– Jake Lingeman, road test editor


2017 Nissan GT-R Track Edition to make New York auto show debut

It took me a few turns behind the wheel, over the course of a couple years, to warm up to the GT-R; it takes a very Japanese approach to the supercar, somewhat clinical, slightly sterile — I had trouble with its pure businesslike attitude that made even the M3 and 911 Turbo feel playful. I don’t know if it’s me softening to the persona or refinements to the 2017 GT-R making it more approachable, but a long weekend with this car has me ready to sign the papers.

Jake covered the nuances of its personality well — vicious is a good word for the potential here, but unlike Jake, I found the GT-R perfectly content making hardware store runs and puttering on errands. When you’re in a situation where all three “R” switches can be engaged and some fun can be had, insanity is a stab of the pedal away. But it’s in no way required — quick street driving and fun public backroads are great places to play with the GT-R at 5/10ths, and the car is no better or worse than anything else of its performance caliber in nasty rush-hour traffic. That’s what satellite radio is for.

The GT-R is a delight, and unlike Jake, I’ll say it’s an unqualified performance bargain — I’m looking forward to my next drive in one.

– Andrew Stoy, digital editor


2018 Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster First drive

There’s nothing else quite like the GT-R out there today. The 2017 model rounds off some of the car’s rougher edges and adds comfier seats, but it’s not trying to be anything other than a highly focused, highly honed two-ton brute that wants to go really freaking fast all the time.

That could place it at odds with the increasingly capable, porky-but-potent crop of modern super-sports cars that can whip a track and then go soft at the push of a button for the drive home. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Historically, high-caliber performance cars have been terrible to drive around town, but the tradeoff is that they’re attention-grabbers. Show up somewhere in a metallic purple Lamborghini Diablo and people are going to be too distracted by the car to notice your hopeless attempts to parallel-park it.

Make no mistake: The GT-R is much easier to drive than any finicky Italian wedge ever was. Yet that’s at least partly because it’s a Nissan — which is all it will ever be to the majority of people. This is the kind of car that only gets noticed by other enthusiasts. Compare that to the Audi R8, which is probably more attractive but less visually interesting: It’s an eyeball magnet to a degree I couldn’t have imagined. The GT-R is not.

And while it’s not miserable to run errands in, and it might even make a decent winter driver with the right set of tires and the right attitude, the GT-R is not truly happy unless it’s going blisteringly fast. An experiment for you: Hop on the expressway and set the cruise control to 70 mph (reminder: that’s the speed limit, folks) and park it there. The car rebels, especially on grooved concrete; you’ll have to wrestle a bit with the heavy steering to keep it pointed in the right direction. Punch the throttle, though, and the car tracks as solid as a rock even as it’s accelerating toward the sound barrier. It’s weird.

All of these quirks (or whatever you want to call them), plus the GT-R’s undeniably impressive specs and visceral immediacy make it a cool, outsider choice, even after all these years on the market.

– Graham Kozak, associate editor




By Autoweek Staff

On Sale: Now

Base Price: $111,585

As Tested Price: $116,880

Drivetrain: 3.5-liter DOHC twin-turbocharged V6, AWD six-speed dual-clutch automatic

Output: 565 hp @ 6,800 rpm; 467 lb-ft @ 3,300-6,800 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,929 lb

Fuel Economy: 16/22/18 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: Breakneck acceleration, loads of telemetry tech

Cons: Usual DCT lurchiness at low speeds, only sounds good at full tilt

Article source: http://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2017-nissan-gt-r-premium-review-deal-century

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