2009 Nissan GT-R Review
2009 Nissan GT-R
By Henny Hemmes
The Auto Channel
Estoril, Portugal- Nissan’s GT-R super sport car stunned the world upon it’s arrival. Former generations have never been imported in North America and in Europe, only in the U.K. But now, the world seems to be ready to embrace the new GT-R.
Last fall, when Nissan unveiled the fifth generation Skyline GT-R at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show, and a month later in Los Angeles, the omens were good. The presentation, by Renault Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn himself, drew a slew of journalists and corporate representatives of most of all manufacturers present. And better still, the stunning sports car immediately generated praise and greed.
With the new generation, Nissan does not use the Skyline badge anymore. Now it is only the letter combination that stirs the automotive crowds. The hype may have been also caused by the immense popularity of Sony’s PlaySation Gran Turismo.
Nissan made sure that the PlayStation developers would have all information necessary to make the cars in the GT games realistic. In return, the game producers helped Nissan to design the GT-R’s display screens in the dashboard.
In the meantime, the GT-R is already so hot, that the production for several European countries, like my own country, The Netherlands, has been sold out for 2008.and 2009.
I was in Portugal for the Nissan 360 event, where the company’s future plans were presented and where we could also have a super short stint with the GT-R of only 5 laps on the Estoril race track.
Who would not burst with anxiety, when you could drive as one of the very first with the GT-R and its 480 hp strong 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6? I was, especially since Nissan announced earlier that the GT-R set a time of 7 minutes 29 seconds at the famous Nürburgring race track, the absolute lap record for a production car. And consequently, faster than the bench mark in the segment, the Porsche 911 Turbo.
The completely new PM (Premium Mid-ship) platform enabled Nissan the use of a world’s first independent rear transaxle all-wheel drive system. It places the transmission, transfer case and final drive at the rear of the vehicle, optimizing the weight distribution. Nissan calls it’s four-wheel drive system ATTESA E-TS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Electronic Torque Split). It is a system that divides engine torque (maximum 430 lb.-ft) from 50/50 per cent front/rear to 2/98 per cent front/rear.
In the pouring rain on the slippery asphalt of the Estoril track, the GT-R immediately proved the advantages of its advanced technology. Under those awfully bad circumstances the grip is fantastic and acceleration is phenomenal. You hardly notice that you are shifting the 6-speed gearbox with the peddles on the steering wheel: Nissan says it only takes the transmission 0.2 seconds to do so.
When the car starts sliding, you easily correct it. Excuse me, it is hardly noticeable, but it corrects itself and give you a little room to also do something, thus making you think that you are a super driver…
ESP has three modes, so that you can adjust to your likings, or capabilities. The weather was too bad to measure acceleration from 0-60 mph, but Nissan promises the GT-R will only need 3.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 192.6 mph. Anyway, I am looking forward to the introduction event of the GT-R, that will probably be organised in September.
In several European countries the GT-R is already sold out for 2008 and 2009. Nissan would love to produce more, but the maximum production of 1.000 (hand build) engines per month is restricting the increase.
In North America, the GT-R will be sold in the US and Canada. The US will get some 1500 unites per year over a five year lifecycle. We may expect that the first couple of years the sales will be much higher than the remaining three.
Nissan already sold 60 percent of the first years allocation and that will have increased when the 2009 GT-R goes on sale in July.
I expect the new super sports car will be quickly sold out in the US as well, because it simply is a hell of a car.
And with a base price of $ 69.850 (excluding destination and handling, which have not yet been finalized) it is a hell of a deal as well.