ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: Brutal. That’s what this 2015 Nissan GT-R Premium says to me. It’s got brutal speed, brutal brakes, brutal handling, and brutal suspension. And I still love it. Could I own one? Maybe, if I had money for a Ford Fusion, too.
Obviously, acceleration is physics-bending. I was able to introduce the car to someone who’s never been in it before, which was a treat. I showed him launch control; he was stupefied. I showed him the central screen with all of the gauges, and he was a fan. He must have posted pictures on Instagram of the GT-R 20 times before the day was over.
So, the GT-R can pull 1g accelerating. I know I’ve probably said that before, but it bears repeating. There are literally only a handful of cars that can do that. It pulls on your neck; you have to tighten your stomach and steel your nerves before hammering on the gas, and keep a tight hold of the steering wheel.
The sound, too -- it’s like a Nissan 370Z, but turbocharged to the hilt. It’s not like a V8 or even like a different turbo V6. It has its own sound. And it’s not jet-plane loud, either. You have a slight chance of sneaking by unnoticed in the GT-R.
That’s surprising, too. This is one of the baddest cars on the street and no one even knows. You will get a few knowing looks from younger drivers, as if to say, “holy smokes, it’s a GT-R.”
As much press as the brutal acceleration gets, you might think the GT-R can’t handle a curve. You’d be wrong, way wrong. The giant tires pick up every groove in the road, especially uneven pavement. That’s why two hands should always be on the wheel. It has a regular rack and pinion setup, which leads to the direct control.
The brakes are solid, even though they squeaked from some previous track time. It does feel like a lot of mass to slow down, though. The pedal doesn’t move much, but you’ll be pushing.
Driving the GT-R every day for anyone other than a hardcore enthusiast would be tough. I would say a chore, but something so great can never be a chore. It would be tiring, though. Like I said, you have to have both hands on the wheel, or it might get away from you, and even in “comfort mode,” the shocks are pretty stiff. It’ll bounce you around a bit, and you feel everything in the steering wheel. Hard bumps will make you wince, though the GT-R seems to plow right through them. Still, I’d worry about the 20s.
At $100K, this comes in right next to the Jaguar F-Type R coupe, above the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and above the Porsche 911 Carrera S. I’m not sure if I’d choose the F-Type or the GT-R, they’re both, well, all of them are jaw-dropping amazing and all are half the price of an exotic supercar from Italy.
It’s a good time to be a car guy.
The interior of the 2015 Nissan GT-R Premium received some improvements, including a carbon-style instrument cluster and a Bose noise cancellation system.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: If I had a fleet of cars to play with -- hot rods, vintage cruisers, track cars, a ’48 Willys of course -- a GT-R would be in it. As a stand-alone? Not so much. I’m sure that’s fine with Nissan; I doubt this is meant as a daily driver. Like Lingeman said, brutal, and too brutal for that.
I went on the GT-R Nismo drive in Europe where Nissan big shot Darren Cox walked me through a few 2015 across-the-line changes, including revised suspension settings meant to improve the ride and grip. I still think the car follows every dip and groove in the road, but I also feel behavior is improved on the highway -- feels more comfortable now.
Not soft though, God no. I submit it really drives like no other car out there. The driving position is higher than other sports cars. The thing is still brutally fast, though how could it not be with 545 hp. The exhaust note at idle is like an old man clearing his throat, but the engine sounds good above 3,000 rpm. The dual-clutch gearbox is smooth tootling around town and snaps off shifts vigorously with the paddles.
The seats are a bit narrow for me, but the cockpit is comfortable enough, and the materials look improved over the last GT-R I remember driving.
If you’re tired of your Porsche 911 Turbo and want to drive something a bit out of left field for a while, here’s your car. Better yet, have both.
The 2015 Nissan GT-R Premium isn't for everyone.
ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: It’s been the same basic story with Nissan’s supercars in the past three years or so. Each year has featured some suspension refinements and maybe some minor detail changes to the exterior or interior here and there. So what did you think Nissan did with the 2015 GT-R? Well, yeah, they came out with the Nismo model that looks wicked and surely takes the GT-R’s capabilities up a notch, but alas we weren’t lucky enough to get one of those bad boys in the office to test out, which bums me out to no end. Instead, we have a GT-R Premium, which of course gets some suspension revisions, and the headlights are now LED. In an attempt to spruce up the interior, there’s a carbon-style instrument cluster and a Bose noise cancellation system to quiet the cabin some.
Did I notice the interior changes? Not really. Could I tell that the suspension featured a better ride and improved road holding abilities that Nissan claims come with the suspension changes? Not on the streets around the metro Detroit area. Did I care? Nope. It’s still a GT-R and the experience this car provides is like no other. Jake and Wes describe it as brutal, which sort of works with its high performance capabilities. Activate launch control and it still gets going out of the box alarmingly quickly. There’s more grip available to you that you’ll have a near-impossible time fully making use of on the street.
I’m sure you’ve heard the complaints about the GT-R feeling like it’s a video game, which I can understand. I mean, the guys from Polyphony Digital did do the graphics for the central screen for the performance readouts. So thoughts of “Gran Turismo” aren’t crazy, but I think it comes down to how the car behaves. All the sensors and accompanying electronics are some of the things that make the GT-R such a stellar performance machine. To some, that takes away from thedriving and doesn’t make the person behind the wheel feel that involved in the whole experience. I can see that point, too, but I still see driving a GT-R as a special, if different, kind of motoring experience.
The Nissan GT-R is back for 2015, as if there was ever any doubt. Again this year, the company claims a recalibrated suspension that will give a more “sophisticated” ride and better ...
I’ve had GT-Rs on racetracks before. The way it behaves on corner entry will feel odd in the beginning with the initial understeer before the computers take over and route power to the appropriate wheels and move you towards the apex in short order. But it’s not long before you’re having a ball chucking it into a corner and enjoying the feeling of the GT-R getting sucked into the apex, seemingly like magnets coming together.
The twin-turbocharged V6 remains a strong runner, with it really coming alive in the middle of the rev-range up to redline. No, it doesn’t sound like much with an exhaust note that’s a bit flat even under wide-open-throttle, but its difficult to argue with the 545 hp that Nissan is getting out of it. The dual-clutch transmission is also a strong point of the GT-R now, with smooth shifts in full-automatic mode and responsive shift response in manual mode when you’re using the steering column-mounted paddles, which is where I personally like them placed. It wasn’t always good in the transmission department, though. The first couple of years the R35 GT-R were around, the dual-clutch was terrible with smooth shifts coming only when you lifted off the gas. Now you just keep your foot in it and everything is great.
Steering feels weighty and there’s good feedback through the wheel, while the carbon ceramic brakes are strong, but of course a little squeaky on the street.
The differential chatter is still here, which is another turn-off to some people. Maybe all that noise makes the GT-R feel not so refined, and I’m guessing most people think a car that costs north of $100K shouldn’t sound like that. If you’re one of those people, then maybe an Audi R8 V8 would be more your style. Personally, I don’t mind the all those noises the GT-R makes, but admittedly I’m a Japanese-car fan and have a die-cast model of the R34 Skyline GT-R sitting on my desk, so I’m obviously a bit bias.
Around town, this GT-R doesn’t get too many looks, but when someone does pick out the car and knows what they are looking at, they go insane and will pace you for a few miles while snapping photos with their smart phones (which is a very bad idea, by the way).
I could live with this car on a daily basis. The ride is still stiff on the high-performance Dunlop tires and performance-minded suspension, even when you have the dampers in comfort mode, but there’s a decent-sized trunk and a backseat that can carry a couple of adults if needed in relative comfort.
It’s fair to call the GT-R a little rough around the edges, but at its core, it’s still a supercar packing a high dose of technology. Call it a soulless vehicle that’s over-computerized if you want, but there’s no denying it packs world-class performance-car capabilities and will still give cars costing much more a run for their money. It’s a car that you either get or you don’t, which is kind of cool, in my opinion. I get it and will definitely have one of these in my fleet when I hit the Mega Millions one day…
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