Thursday, May 7, 2015

2015 Nissan GT-R

You have to be a little bit defiant to drive a 2015 Nissan GT-R. It’s likely that you’ll be the only GT-R in your neighborhood, and it’s not as if very many drivers will be pulling alongside and giving you the high sign.Sure, plenty of people will acknowledge that the 2015 Nissan GT-R is quicker, faster, and grippier in the corners than anything this side of an F1 car, and they’ll admit that it’s a general all-around miracle of vehicle dynamics besides. And then in the next breath, they will try to tell you that a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 or a McLaren 650S is actually better than a GT-R, even though these cars are not necessarily quicker, faster, grippier, etc., than the Nissan.


From the moment the Nissan GT-R set a record lap time at the Nurburgring’s Nordschleife in 2008, the whining hasn’t stopped. From every quarter have come complaints that the GT-R doesn’t track effortlessly straight and true on a bumpy freeway surface, plus the rear suspension sure does feel harsh. And what’s that clicking and whirring from the six-speed dual-clutch transmission? Sadly, it appears that these critics don’t actually understand what the GT-R is about. Perhaps what they’re looking for is some kind of Honda Accord, only one that looks like a BMW.

From the first, the Nissan GT-R has never made a secret of being anything other than a street-legal track car. The DOHC, 3.8-liter V-6 features twin IHI turbos to help pump out the power, and the engine is matched to a special quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission designed to withstand the torque loads. Nissan’s ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system helps turn the power into forward motion instead of just tire smoke. The brakes are dead serious, with racing-style floating rotors matched up with six-piston calipers in front and four-piston calipers in the rear. The forged-aluminum RAYS 20-inch wheels carry wide tires, 255/40ZRF-20 front and 285/35ZRF-20 rear. And the all-singing, all-dancing electronics let you tune the transmission, suspension, and general vehicle dynamics to your needs.

Nevertheless, Nissan has done its best since the GT-R’s introduction to the U.S. in 2009 to make the car more street-friendly. And although the 2015 Nissan GT-R Premium remains a track car through and through, it is now quiet and comfortable enough to please even the faint of heart. Part of the reason is that the newly introduced GT-R Nismo can remain a hardcore product, so the Premium can get warm and fuzzy.

We must admit it doesn’t take more than a couple hundred yards on the freeway to figure out that this is a far more comfortable car than before. The car glides over seams in the concrete surface almost as if they weren’t there, which is quite something when you remember that these seams used to feel as tall as speed bumps in the 2009 GT-R. Thanks to softer springs and dramatically different calibration for the Bilstein dampers, the 2015 Nissan GT-R’s suspension feels supple, not stiff, and the car rides rough pavement without any annoying patter from the tires.