The 2009 Nissan GT-R is a technical tour de force, with evidence of brilliance throughout. We would have a hard time with the GT-R as an everyday driver, but it offers fun and exhilaration at heart-stopping levels.
Nissan has a long history with the GT-R, first offering it as a sport modification to its Skyline sedan. The current Skyline, known in the U.S. as the Infiniti G37, is a completely different car from the new GT-R.
The GT-R was designed from the ground up for speed, with an aerodynamic body and a drag coefficient of 0.27. The front of the car shows only one seam, for the hood, with smooth metal running from fascia to fenders.
The GT-R has a nice coupe roofline, but various creases and angles give the car a brutish appearance. Close up, there is a crease where the B-pillar meets the roof, giving the car a more angular, less liquid, look.
The 20-inch wheels on the GT-R get wrapped in tires created specifically for the car. These tires were designed to stay on the wheels during the massive g-forces the GT-R can produce. The brakes are big Brembro calipers.
The instrument cluster is dominated by the tachometer, appropriately, with the speedometer off to the side. Because the speedometer goes up to 220 mph, the needle will generally be pointing straight down when you are on public roads.
A bank of switches lets you adjust torque, suspension, and traction control for different conditions. When held in the up position, a red light turns on, showing that the car is set for R mode, which is appropriate for the track.
These four buttons and dial control the in-dash performance computer, a unique feature in the GT-R. You push the Function button to display the performance computer on the LCD, then turn the dial to choose different views.
Views 1 through 4 are customizable. You can choose which virtual gauges and graphs to display. This particular screen was our favorite, showing brake and gas pedal percentage, turbo boost, steering, and torque split.