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Godzilla 2012: The new GT-R

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

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 In the cabin of the 2012 model, we noticed the Snow label has been replaced by Save.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.