The Everyday Supercar
It’s not often that we at Go Flat Out get to concentrate on reviewing supercars, so call me lucky when I found out that I could take the iconic Godzilla for a spin. However, its story about having a world-class Nurburgring lap time and an earth-shattering 0-100 kph time of under 3 seconds has been written multiple time over across the interwebs and numerous media platforms. Instead, I’m here to tell you more about how usable the Nissan GT-R is on a daily basis, and let me tell you, it’s a far friendlier car than its looks and performance suggest.
The Nissan GT-R is now in its 12th year, and while there are hints of its age, it still looks quite nice. Its Gundam-inspired design remains truly unmistakable and easily recognizable by any car enthusiast. The front is characterized by a wide grille with the brand’s signature V-motion design that was introduced in the 2017 model year. Interestingly, the wide grille is more functional than you think, as it gives the GT-R increased cooling to let the engine breathe better, thus providing better performance. The side looks clean with only a character line accentuating the car’s wide shoulders, and at the back, the signature rounded tail lights finished in thin LEDs are design icons at this point. Wherever you go, the GT-R draws attention. It’s one of those cars that shaped the lives of many car enthusiasts, leading us to dream and point at the speed freak we rarely get to see in our country’s roads.
Past the GT-R’s somewhat wide entry sill is a cabin that provides a lot of space for the front occupants. Despite being a hunkered down supercar, the driving position itself is not intimidating at all. Sitting down does not require dropping onto the seats, plus the windows are quite large for a supercar, which means it’s never as intimidating to drive as a Lamborghini Huracan. Setting into a comfortable driving position is quite easy thanks to the electronically adjustable seats that are easily moved via a single knob. It may initially look weird, but it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever used. The tilt and telescoping steering wheel are operated by two separate levers, but the reason for this is the gauge cluster that also tilts along with the steering wheel. Everything else in the interior is covered in hand-stitched Nappa leather, which gives the GT-R a very artisanal atmosphere. There are places where the GT-R is starting to feel its age, but it’s still a very nice place to be in, a testament to how well engineered the car is to feel very substantial ’til this day.
Surprisingly, there’s plenty of storage places inside the GT-R, such as the generously sized cupholders and a decently-sized glove box. The trunk itself is generous for a supercar, plus while the rear seats are definitely tiny, at least it’s useful enough if you plan to carry a baby with its ISOFIX child seat mounts or as an extra cargo area. You can’t say that with other supercars out there.
Of course, the interior’s party trick is its set of digital gauges. This is all displayed through an 8-inch Nissan Connect touch screen infotainment system. While the infotainment system itself feature-packed except for the fact it’s missing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it is quite clunky to use, even with the rotary knob on the center console that mimics Mazda Connect’s functionality. Sound is played through an 11-speaker Bose sound system, which sounds alright if not groundbreaking. As expected, the system is best left with the plethora of digital gauges on display. This is designed by the same folks behind Gran Turismo, in case you’re still not aware at this point.
Under Godzilla’s hood is a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 engine’s 570 hp @ 6,800 rpm and 633 Nm of torque @ 3,300 to 5,800 rpm, mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission with launch control, driving all four wheels. Now, if you are expecting this review to be centered towards how Godzilla is a track monster, then you may walk away now. If you are however expecting this review to focus on its daily drivability, then you are more than happy to stay. Its story as a track monster has been a well-documented one, but not often do you encounter a review of the GT-R being treated as a daily driven supercar. This initially brings me to one of a car buyer’s practical concerns: fuel economy. Assuming that’s a concern for you when buying a supercar, I achieved 5.3 km/l, and yes, it requires high octane fuel, which can quickly drain your wallet as fast as the GT-R accelerates.
You already know how Godzilla can sprint from 0-100 kph in less than three seconds, or how tenaciously it grips corners with its ATTESA E-TS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain) AWD system, but little do you probably know how easy it is to drive the GT-R on a daily basis. My initial reservations were towards the 6-speed dual clutch transmission and whether it will be clunky on a daily basis, but surprisingly, it never feels as jarring as I expected. As a matter of fact, it shifts just as smooth, if not smoother than Volkswagen’s DSG dual clutch transmission. This is partly because of the wet clutch system, in contrast to the dry clutch system used by Ford in their controversial PowerShift transmission. It also does not overheat in traffic as a result.
And then there’s the chassis, steering, and suspension tuning. Even when going through some rough pavement, the GT-R was a lot more pliant than I expected. The Bilstein adaptive dampers continually monitor road conditions and your driving habits a thousand times per second, and when placed in comfort mode, there’s enough suspension travel that it won’t rattle the occupants too much. Of course, its low profile tires will transmit sharp bumps into the cabin, yet in the end, it never feels like you’re being beaten up when driving through rough pavement. Whatever’s on the road is also transmitted almost unfiltered through the hydraulic power steering, which is such a refreshing thing to use in a day of electronic power steerings. There’s just so much feel and response that if the GT-R’s wheels ever squish a cockroach, you’d even feel it through the wheel.
Out on the open highway, there’s no denying the feeling of agility and stability of the GT-R, but what is surprising is the amount of mechanical and outside noise that goes into the cabin. Whereas this would be a point of criticism for me in other cars, this is something that I actually praise the GT-R for. In a world where car manufacturers are in a pursuit to create a car that’s as quiet as a library, the GT-R deliberately lets in a degree of road and wind noise in order for you to feel the speed. And then there are the mechanical noises, such as the gearbox whine, blowoff valve, intake noise, and the turbos spooling. These are desirable and raw mechanical noises that driving enthusiasts crave for. Definitely an intimate way to get connected and be one with the vehicle.
This also means that while it drives and rides nicely on a daily basis, these mechanical noises can be annoyances for some people, especially when stuck in gridlock traffic on EDSA, but once you’re out on the open road, it’s simply pure driving bliss. There’s simply nothing else like how a Nissan GT-R shreds the asphalt. It’s tenaciously grippy, ferociously fast, and supremely agile. The only thing limiting the GT-R to unleash its capabilities is you.
Twelve years into its life cycle, the Nissan GT-R continues to be one of an automotive enthusiast’s wet dream. It’s tried and tested formula of using technology to give the GT-R unmatched performance has seen continuous improvements over the years to break lap records, but surprisingly, these improvements have also led this car to become the most usable GT-R ever on a daily basis. There’s no denying the tenacious performance of the Nissan GT-R, but the fact of the matter is, Godzilla is so much easier to tame than I ever thought.
And finally, the GT-R’s excellent pricing is the icing on top of such a high octane cake. With a suggested retail price of P7,350,000, thanks to JPEPA (Japan Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement), there’s no other car there in our market that matches the performance per peso proposition of the GT-R, and this is without considering the existing promos in place for the Nissan GT-R at the time of this article’s writing.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★☆☆
Value For Money: ★★★★★
Overall: 4.6 out of 5