They say that life becomes even more special each time you have a dream come true. For some, it’s finding their soulmate, or having their first child. When you ask car enthusiasts what their ultimate dream is, it usually involves four wheels, some sort of forced-induction, and mounds of power. Even before the “Fast & Furious” franchise blew up demand for the car, I grew up obsessing over the Nissan Skyline. This love eventually trickled into the latest iteration, the R35 GT-R, even though I had never driven one before. When I was offered up an afternoon with a 2015 Nissan GT-R, I was likely the giddiest I had ever been in my life.
The GT-R has been around in its current generation for quite a few years now, but it’s still considered a technological marvel. After all, the Skyline is one of the primary choices of the tuner market around the world, and has gone a long way to inspiring the next generation to maintain the brotherhood that is the car community. The 2015 GT-R uses the same basic formula for success. Rather than using a big V8 or even a V12, Nissan uses a 3.8L twin-turbocharged V6, which is easily one of the most revolutionary powertrains in the world today.
Appropriately nicknamed “Godzilla”, the GT-R is a brute force in the most literal meaning of the term. Despite having only six cylinders, the engine dishes out an astonishing 545 horsepower at 6400rpm and 463 lb-ft of torque coming in at just 3200rpm. No manual transmission is offered because Nissan insists this car is about technology, going fast easily, and being advanced; the only gearbox is a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic that has paddle shifters and adjustable shift points. Using the best in electronics to add launch control, the GT-R is good for 0-100 sprints in the vicinity of 3 seconds flat, and can shoot through the quarter-mile from a standstill in 11.2 seconds at over 200 km/h.
This is a car made for the track, and requires a very specific type of buyer. It’s not easy to be willing to spend over $100,000 on a product that shares its key fob with the $18,000 Sentra, but for those who understand its complicated yet incredible nature, the GT-R delivers a demeanour like no other car out there. Planting down the throttle presents a surge of acceleration as the car hustles to desired speeds. There’s a great amount of noise from the twin-turbo V6 and there’s virtually no noticeable turbocharger lag whatsoever. It feels just as quick as the Tesla Model S P85D, a car where the instantaneous torque delivery rearranges your organs on acceleration.
It’s not just about going quickly in a straight line with the GT-R, either. The sporty Recaro seats hug the driver and passenger firmly in position as the car is pushed hard through the corners. The steering is incredibly precise, just like everything else in the car. Nissan claims that they have perfected grip in the 2015 model, but we were not able to detect this at all through our brief test that did not consist of much track driving at all. The fat NR1 tires help considerably with roadholding, and I can confidently say there aren’t many cars that would beat out this beast on a skidpad or a road course.
With ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive as standard equipment, the car is actually quite street ready for those who aren’t ready to put their $100,000 investment on the track. This is a no-nonsense sports coupe that delivers supercar numbers while trying to stay under the radar with its Nissan badging. Unfortunately though, this isn’t an inconspicuous car – everybody and their brother know what a GT-R is. It was impossible for me to go anywhere without it attracting attention of all sorts.
The 2015 facelift for the GT-R includes a few things that help the most-expensive Nissan remain livable on a daily basis. This includes the addition of an active noise-cancelling system from Bose, which is supposed to help quiet down the interior considerably. I hadn’t driven the previous model, so I wasn’t able to determine just how improved it is. Additionally, Nissan has put in revised suspension geometry that’s more of a two-in-one enhancement. The new suspension setup is supposed to help fix the choppy ride quality as well as make for better grip all around. I’ve seen virtually every video and read each review published on the Internet about the previous-generation car, and it did take a ton of criticism for not being as polished as it could have. Thankfully, Nissan has sharpened the livability of the car and maximized the potential of the great platform.
Godzilla’s interior is the perfect combination between traditional Nissan and Audi R8-fighting maniac. The huge red center-mounted engine start/stop button means business, and the “R” toggle switches on the dash adjust mapping for the stability control system, the suspension, and the chassis. There’s a big touchscreen used for both infotainment as well as custom views to see gauges such as boost, oil temperature, coolant temperature, engine oil pressure, all configurable. The instrument cluster is familiar, and the monochromatic display within it is right out of the previous-generation Nissan lineup. I would expect the next GT-R to have a more modern unit, perhaps the colour setup from the new Murano and Maxima.
Ever since the current GT-R’s conception in 2009, Nissan has somehow found a way to make significant updates each year, despite maintaining the same design, dimensions, and a largely similar interior. As I said, many trim pieces and switchgear on the inside of Godzilla are shared with other Nissan applications, and this was definitely done in order to keep costs down. At $108,500 for the 2015 GT-R Premium I test drove, the value is very real, and no, I’m not being sarcastic.
This is a car that is purely about the numbers and is capable of delivering acceleration, handling, and braking that nearly defies the laws of physics. The GT-R/Skyline has a cult following both for the factory model as well as those who heavily modify their cars. In the local car scene, I’ve personally seen these boosted up to 1000 horsepower and the beauty of this is, the chassis has no issues whatsoever handling these capabilities. What this supervillain may lack in Italian passion, it makes up for in clear-cut performance ability.
2015 Nissan GT-R Gallery
2015 Lexus RC-F