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.
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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.
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These slash headlights were first seen on the GT-R concept shown off at the 2005 Tokyo auto show. The production version looks much like the concept.
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Nissan squeezes 480 horsepower out of its 3.8-liter V-6 through the use of dual turbochargers. Torque is at 430 pound-feet, and 0 to 60 mph testing has shown numbers ranging from 3.2 to 3.8 seconds.
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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.
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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.
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Pictured are the GT-R badges on the side top vents at the back of the rear fenders. This engine produces a lot of heat and needs help bleeding it off.
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Contributing to the aerodynamics, the door handles are inset. You push the bumpy part, which levers out the handle that you have to pull to unlatch the door.
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The GT-R uses an advanced all-wheel-drive system that continuously shifts torque from 100 percent to the rear wheels to a 50-50 split between front and rear, depending on driving conditions.
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The ride in the GT-R is a bit rough due to the very rigid suspension. You feel most of the bumps in the road, but the car's handling isn't affected by them.
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The taillights uses LEDs, as we would expect from this technical marvel.
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The trunk is actually usable. There is space enough for a few bags, maybe the luggage for two people on a weekend trip.
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The cabin of the GT-R is all business. The seats are very comfortable and wrap around the driver and passenger, preventing lateral movement.
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The steering is very responsive in the GT-R. Even though the car is bred for the track, it includes buttons on the steering wheel for audio and cruise control.
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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.
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Keeping its race car theme, the start button is red. The shifter controls the six-speed double-clutch transmission. A push to the right toggles it between Automatic and Manual modes.
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You can also enter manual mode by tapping the paddle shifters. These shifters are mounted to the column, as they should be. In manual mode, the paddles are the only way to shift gears.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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This view shows one of the graphs, where you can see the car's performance over time. This particular graph shows g-forces. There are others for acceleration, steering, and braking.
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On the same LCD as the performance computer, you can use Nissan's excellent navigation, stereo, and phone system. The navigation system stores its maps on a hard drive, making route calculation quick.
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The navigation system includes a good points-of-interest database and will show icons on the map for different categories of places.
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XM NavTraffic is also integrated with the system. It intelligently routes around bad traffic, so you don't have to sit in gridlock in the GT-R.
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There is a single CD and a compact flash slot at the bottom of the stack. You can use the CD player to rip CDs to the car's hard drive.
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Nissan calls its music hard-drive feature Music Box. It holds 9.3GB of MP3 files, a fairly substantial collection.
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The Bose audio system in the GT-R uses 11 speakers, including these two woofers between the rear seats. We like how it reproduces bass, and the separation is generally good.
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The GT-R even includes a hands-free phone system, useful as you won't want to take your hands off the wheel.
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