For a decade, car aficionados in America have experienced the Nissan GT-R only in virtual form: as one of the speediest racers in Sony PlayStation’s Gran Turismo video game. Now, the latest GT-R—known in Japan as “Godzilla”—is finally wading ashore in the States, looking to toast monster-priced supercars from Detroit, Italy and Germany.
A manga muscle car with 480 horsepower, this sports coupe is more brutal than it is beautiful. And the uninitiated might wonder at a $70,000 Nissan. But that seventy grand delivers what is simply one of the fastest and most formidable cars ever to see a showroom. Try these numbers: zero to sixty in 3.3 seconds, quicker than supercars at triple or quadruple the Nissan’s price. On the no-excuses Nürburgring track in Germany, the GT-R set a seven-minute, twenty-nine-second lap. That’s the fastest of any production car in history, topping even the now-defunct $450,000 Porsche Carrera GT. And the Nissan’s paddle-shifted transmission is similar to that of the $1.5 million Bugatti Veyron.
Yet ultimately, numbers don’t do justice to the Nissan’s usable power and forgiving handling. With its intuitive all-wheel-drive, its computerized suspension and its unshakable grip, the Nissan inspires a confidence that lets the amateur turn it loose, knowing the car will find the middle of the fairway.
Nissan shared data with PlayStation graphics developers, allowing them not only to simulate the vehicle for Gran Turismo but also to design eleven display screens for the car itself. The GT-R is a video game come to life, at a price that reads like fantasy.
Engine: 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6
Torque: 430 pound-feet
Weight: 3,836 pounds
Zero to 60 mph: 3.3 seconds
Top Speed: 193 mph