Roadshow Video Reviews
2012 Nissan GT-RThe GT-R really hits its stride, especially on the track.
-Even the most jaded car reviewer wake up and pop an extra Viagra when one of these hits the garage, the 2012 Nissan GT-R. It needs a special place. Instead of terrorizing folks on city streets, we brought it here to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma Valley. Put it through its paces and check the test. The last time I drove a GT-R, its abilities were almost unbelievable, its ride almost unlivable, and its price almost doable. The new version has had work done on all three. Spotting a 2012 is best done by looking for the LED running lights in the revised front bumper. [unk] find this sissified and look for the extra 5 or 6 grand on the window sticker, but as we'll see, the GT-R has actually become more of a bargain, which is a pretty good trick for a Supercar. Now, the 2012 GT-R hasn't changed in the cabin much at all. Tiny little tweaks here and there. The main player here is of course this 11-screen multi-information display. Polyphony Digital there in the game space and Clarion, they make the actual head unit, have knocked it out of the park here. You have 4 custom views here 1, 2, 3, 4 that you can set up any way you want. The lettered ones are pre-configured by the factory. A is acceleration. B is braking. C just think cornering. It's really about steering. D is drivetrain, gear position in this case. E efficiency, fuel economy and fuel usage, and then F is your stopwatch. G is a place where you can mark coordinates where you've been to map out a route. Now down there, the one on the left, is the ATTESA all-wheel drive control. R mode, of course, is the most aggressive. This new position here is called save. That's a fuel-saving mode or one that really detunes the delivery of power. It can also be used if you're stuck in some mud or snow to kind of gradually rock the car out without spinning 'em. Oh, by the way, secret trick, hold this down for 4 seconds they tell me until it blinks and now the car should drive in rear-wheel mode only. Interesting. Your middle one controls the Bilstein DampTronic fully adjustable suspension automatically reading the road and making changes millisecond by millisecond, up for R mode, really stiff and aggressively holding the car in position. Middle is the down normal mode. This is new, comfort mode. I think they heard my last review and they built this in. They actually heard this gripe from lots of folks. Without a comfort mode before this 2012, this car was unusable in everyday driving and the far right is your stability and traction control. In the middle is normal. If you hold it up, you get R mode. It still does stability control, but it's going to wait until you're in trouble to kick it in and then if you go down the hold, you can turn that off. Okay. Now, if all these stuff doesn't keep you busy enough, there is an entertainment system. AM/FM. Your satellite choice is XM. Bluetooth streaming audio and Bluetooth hands-free is standard. All this comes out of a Bose audio system including a 9-speaker rig that has dual subs right between the rear seats. Okay, the shifter right here for the one choiceonly automated manual transmission to 6-speed DCT. You've got automatic or manual. It's a toggle switch basically. Now, most of your shifting will actually be done up here on the-- Thank you-- properly placed paddles. Look, I'm moving the wheel and I'm not moving the paddles and their are nice wide ears. So no matter where you are, if you know how to handle a wheel right, there is some paddle to get you a downshift on the left or an upshift on the right. The biggest single area of change on the 2012 GT-R is under the hood. The engine is really dramatically more powerful. It's still a 3.8-L V6 with twin turbos, but they've massaged and emphasized lots of things to get it up to 530 horsepower, up from 485. And by the way, that 530 is considered to be kind of a low whisper number for what? The insurance companies, I guess. Torque on this guy is 448 foot pounds, ample for a car of about 3800 pounds curb weight, 0 to 6, under 3 seconds with the launch control which we will sample later. Yet, it's an ultralow emissions vehicle that gets 1623 MPG. Four major changes made this engine so much better than the outgoing one. First of all, they've got better breathing intake apparatus. Bigger bore is going into the cylinders. Secondly, they've changed engine timing. They've increased the boost on the turbos up to about 13psi. And finally, they recorded the exhaust system to get it breathing better. It's more free flow. A GT-R has an exotic layout, engine in the front, but the DCT gearbox, transfer case to manage all-wheel drive distribution, and of course the rear differential all sit in the back. Weight balance is an unusually lopsided 5347, but it still gets around the corner okay. Power doesn't end on this car. It's unbelievable. I mean, no matter how hard you get into it, it's never out of breath. The exhaust mode is one of those really aggressive ones that is nothing but fun all the way around. I've got this guy in the R mode settings. Now, we're [unk] of the rear-end really elegantly with 530 horsepower in the hands of a frank amateur. But we all noticed here at CNET Car Tech was no matter what kind of road we hammer this thing on, it felt like all four paws were out there grabbing, and to be out there grabbing with the kind of power it has got to deliver, it's pretty impressive. Rarely does it get out of shape. I've pretzeled it a couple of times, but that was my own stupidity. Getting to know the car. You do have to get to know 530 horsepower, not just go in 1 day. In the end, what do you say about a car like this that makes any sense? It's superlative in a lot of ways, but I'll tell you one of the things that impressed me the most is the fact that I can do this on the track. I can hammer this car pretty hard and then I can get on that freeway right outside Infineon here and have a nice ride home and a spirited daily driver. That's the real interesting thing that Nissan has pulled off with this 2012. Launch mode works like this, put the drivetrain and stability control into R mode, stand on the brakes, mash the throttle, when you get to 4 grand, let off the brakes and you get this bang engagement and you're off for a sub 3-second run to 60. You can do this 4 times in a row before the car locks you out to cool off the gearbox and save Nissan a 20,000-dollar warranty repair on your GTR. Those Dunlop Sportmax tires that were turning into powder are on 20-inch wheels, 9 and a half wide in the front, 10 and a half in the rear. These tires are the only approved boots for these car and they cost about 530 bucks a piece. Nissan tucks the wheel with in-board all around so unless you look under the rear-end, you don't realize you're basically driving a steamroller. Okay, let's face the car of your dreams, 91,000 is base for a 2021 GT-R premium and that includes almost everything. Three options in the list caught my eye. One tech. Two weird. The tech one is 600 bucks for that backup camera. I think I would do that, but the weird ones include 300 bucks for a chrome jack and 46 dollars for a seatbelt extender in case you're a big fat guy. Go pick. Coming to you from Infineon Raceway in Sonoma Valley, I'm Brian Cooley for CNET Car Tech.