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R35 Nissan GT-R in-depth

During our time with the GT-R in San Francisco, we took photos detailing every nut and bolt — okay, maybe not quite every nut and bolt.

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During our time with the GT-R in San Francisco, we took photos detailing every nut and bolt — okay, maybe not quite every nut and bolt.

A history that stretches off into the skyline
Nissan has a long history with the GT-R, first offering it as a sport modification to its Skyline sedan. The current Skyline, is sold in the U.S. and Europe 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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Concept headlights
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 358 kilowatts out of its 3.8-litre V6 through the use of dual turbochargers. Torque is at 317 Newton-metres, and 0 to 60 mph (96km/h) testing has shown numbers ranging from 3.2 to 3.8 seconds.

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Angular style
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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Big wheels keep on riding
The 20-inch wheels on the GT-R get wrapped in tyres created specifically for the car. These tyres 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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Keepin' cool
Pictured are the GT-R badges on the side top vents at the back of the front fender. This engine produces a lot of heat and needs help bleeding it off.

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All-wheel drive
The GT-R uses an advanced all-wheel-drive system that continuously shifts torque from 100 per cent to the rear wheels to a 50-50 split between front and rear, depending on driving conditions.

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Rigid suspension
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 tail-lights uses LEDs, as we would expect from this technical marvel.

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Boot space
The boot is actually usable, with space enough for a few bags, maybe the luggage for two people on a weekend trip.

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Inset door handles
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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Interior space
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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Wheel controls
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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Instrument cluster
The instrument cluster is dominated by the tachometer, appropriately, with the speedometer off to the side. Because the speedometer goes up to 220 mph (320km/h), the needle will generally be pointing straight down when you are on public roads.

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Keeping its race car theme there's a red start button. 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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Paddle shifters
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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Performance settings
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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Performance computer controls
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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Performance computer gauges
Views 1 through 4 are customisable. You can choose which virtual gauges and graphs to display. This particular screen was our favourite, showing brake and gas pedal percentage, turbo boost, steering, and torque split.

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Performance computer graphs
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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Navigation system
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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Traffic ahead
In the U.S. XM NavTraffic is also integrated with the car's navigation system. It intelligently routes around bad traffic, so you don't have to sit in gridlock in the GT-R. Hopefully Australia-bound GT-Rs will get something similar via the Suna traffic channel.

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Music sources
There is a single CD and a compact flash slot at the bottom of the centre console. You can use the CD player to rip CDs to the car's hard drive.

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A music box
Nissan calls its hard-drive music feature Music Box. It holds 9.3GB of MP3 files, a fairly substantial collection.

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The Bose audio system standard in U.S.-spec GT-Rs 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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