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Godzilla 2012: The new GT-R

Nissan unveils the 2012 GT-R at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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When Nissan unleashed the new iteration of the GT-R four years ago, it seemed engineered to the gills, with no possible room for improvement. But Nissan proves that assumption very wrong with the 2012 model, which features much more power and some refined styling.</p><p> <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/la-auto-show/">Back to 2010 Los Angeles auto show.</a>
Antuan Goodwin/CNET
Nissan GT-R
Antuan Goodwin/CNET

When Nissan unleashed its latest version of the GT-R in 2007, it seemed there was no room for improvement. Engineered to extreme levels, this GT-R used a high-power twin turbo V-6, essentially a racing engine, a dual-clutch six-speed automated manual transmission, and a very advanced all-wheel-drive system.

But Nissan demonstrates with the 2012 model that technology can always be improved, increasing engine output by 45 horsepower. And what looks like a minor bodywork update also increases downforce by 10 percent. For a cosmetic update, Nissan added LED running lights.

We also found a slight mystery on the all-wheel-drive control switch. In the most recent version of the GT-R we've driven, a 2010 model, the all-wheel-drive switch offered racing, normal, and snow modes. In the cabin of the 2012 model, we noticed the Snow label has been replaced by Save.

Could Nissan have added a driver-programmable all-wheel-drive mode? It seems like you would need more than a simple save button for that, but we shall see as more information on the 2012 model comes out.