The 2015 GT-R Nismo made its debut at the Geneva motor show and has on board damned near every performance part Nissan could throw its way. It starts with the company's 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V6 massaged to make 600 hp and 481 lb-ft of torque, up 55 hp and 18 lb-ft over your basic GT-R. The Nismo has high-flow turbos similar to the company's GT3 race cars, the ignition-timing wick has been turned up, roughly 45 pounds have been shed and the four-wheel independent suspension is stiffer. Add it all up, and the result is a claimed 7 minute, 8.679-second Nurburgring lap, among the fastest times for a volume-production car, if that floats your boat.
You'll know the Nismo when you see it because of its front bumper and carbon spoiler (adding 220 pounds more downforce at 185 mph, Nissan says). Subtle Nismo red striping around the side sills and bumpers is a nice touch. Five colors are offered: red, black, silver, white and matte gray. Those last two look particularly hot. Inside, you'll find Recaro buckets, red-accented instruments and the company's multifunction display.
The car starts at about $151,000 and goes on sale at the end of July.
Nismo takes the GT-R's brutality to another level.PHOTO BY NISSAN
What's it like to drive?
We spent a couple days post-Le Mans driving through the French countryside, culminating in some Spa hot laps in the GT-R Nismo. After some happy snaps under Le Mans' famous Dunlop Bridge Monday morning following the race, we hit the road. It doesn't take long to realize the performance here is incredible. Take what you like about the GT-R -- brutal acceleration, amazing grip, spot-on steering response -- and turn it all up a notch or six.
Off-the-line launch is impressive, of course, but not as impressive as midrange torque. Punch the accelerator in nearly any gear at any speed and hang on, baby!
It's not all about brute acceleration; the car is terrific in corners, with tons of grip and precise steering. Over the French two-lanes, it simply goes where you point it, making it tough to get in trouble. The Recaros -- manually adjusted -- held us in place perfectly. That evening, we arrived at Spa, where we kept the traction control and such turned on. And the car was just a hoot to drive, roaring and popping (we mean that literally) from corner to corner. The six-speed dual-clutch was quick and crisp.
So it's fast and handles well. We expected that. What surprised us was how easy and well-controlled it all is. It goes through corners faster than you think it could or should, the steering always felt well-weighted and direct, and the braking power is humongous. Any car able to keep the ham-fisted among us out of trouble on a circuit like Spa has got to be a good one.
Is there anything we don't like? OK, twist our arm: Highway cruising between 2,200 rpm and about 2,800 rpm produces an engine drone that, while not unpleasant, is certainly noticeable. Above 3K, the engine's a screamer.
The 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo blasts from 0-60 in an estimated 3.0 seconds flat.PHOTO BY NISSAN
2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo price and specifications
Do I Want It?
If you don't like attention, probably not: Rolling through small French towns brought out the crowds; kids gave us the thumbs-up and grown-ups snapped their necks around. This would probably happen where you live, too.
For the rest of you, yes, of course you want one. As we've pointed out before, the global GT-R fan base is huge, with disciples agonizing over every spoiler, body panel and wheel nut. Rightly so -- the GT-R warrants the attention. The Nismo version's performance levels take it all to another level.
It's worth the buck fifty. We can't say that about too many cars.
On Sale: Late July/early August
Base Price: $151,000 (est)
Drivetrain: 3.8-liter, 600-hp, 481-lb-ft, twin-turbocharged V6; AWD, six-speed dual-clutch sequential manual
Curb Weight: 3,800 lb
0-60 mph: 3.0 sec (est)
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Hwy/Combined): 15/23/18 mpg (est)
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