Motoring review: Some drivers would chew their left arm off for the Nissan GT-R. Not me


Price: GBP 73,610
Engine capacity:
3.8-litre V6 twin turbo
Power output (BHP @ rpm): 547 @ 6,400
Top speed (mph): 196
0-62 mph (seconds): 2.7
Fuel economy (mpg): 24
CO2 emissions (g/km): 275

Something slightly odd happened recently as I was behind the wheel of the new Nissan GT-R on my way out of Bishop's Stortford. I noticed the same car, in the same colour – bright red – coming the other way. Nissan only sells 700 or so of this model a year so it's quite a rare sight.

Anyway, the other driver grinned, then waved and flashed his headlights in what I can only describe as automotive joy for seeing a fellow motorist on the road in "his" car.

This isn't the sort of thing that happens to me testing small Citroëns or tiny Fords. They don't have this sort of fan club.

He looked so happy that I can only assume that was because his car had undergone some kind of radical and expensive chassis surgery.

I do apologise if I sound like a spoilt brat here, but there's only one way to describe testing the latest GT-R; almost unbearable. I know drivers who would chew their left arms off to have a go behind the wheel of this machine, but it just isn't for me, and here's why.

Firstly, the ride comfort of Nissan's super car is non-existent. There is no comfort. It crashes over the smallest imperfections in the road and its surplus of power and sensitive throttle mean you have to keep both hands on the wheel, not as a simple sensible caution, but for fear that it will decide the next pothole is too much to handle and launch itself off the road. At least the resulting fireball and your imminent demise is likely to be swift, as the Nissan GT-R has two turbo chargers bolted onto a 3.8-litre V6 engine.

Dedicated car fans might smell an oil leak here because the GT-R was first launched back in 2009, but since then that V6 has been tweaked almost yearly (this is the latest model), the price has gone up by a third and the power has been boosted from a "mere" 478bhp to a massive 547bhp.

So the price rise is worth it, but only if you're interested in the 0.8 seconds you save getting to 62mph. For an extra £810 you could have a Porsche 911, which I admit is slower but as my petrolhead brother-in-law says, "it's a Porsche not a Nissan".

That said, the GT-R, as I'm sure my fellow GT-R driver would point out, is a super-car slayer and will keep pace with the GBP800K plus Bugatti Veyron, let along the humdrum gaggle of Porsches and BMWs it will leave in its wake all over suburbia.

Secondly, the cabin feels like it was designed by one of the programmers for a mid-1990s computer game such as Daytona USA or Need For Speed, which in 2013 just isn't on. In fact, the whole thing with its bright red paint job, aggressive haunches and huge spoiler, feels like an arcade racer.

It does have a big boot, though, along with all the gadgets you'd expect plus more, as well as room for two child seats in the rear.

Not that my new friend had any children in the back and I didn't see any Porsches and Ferraris to race with on the A10. And that's the thing – this machine isn't for the road.

It's a piece of engineering brilliance but it was designed for the track and only die-hard speed freaks, middle-aged chaps from Hertfordshire and braver car reviewers than I could possibly think otherwise.

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