They call this car Godzilla, and it’s easy to see why….it is a beast.
This week, I am lucky enough to be behind the wheel of the 2021 Nissan GT-R, one of the most powerful cars sold in America. Introduced in 2009, the GT-R has maintained its roots with very little change.
The heart of Godzilla is found under the hood where you’ll find a 3.8-liter twin turbo V6 that is pumping out 565-horses and 467 pound-feet of torque. It will take you from 0-to-60 in a heart pounding 2.9 seconds by way of a shiftable six-speed dual-clutch automatic and assisted by a terrific all-wheel drive system that plants the speedster to the ground for maximum takeoff.
It should be noted that every one of these engines is hand-made by one of only 5 technicians at Nissan.
Exterior looks of the GT-R are unmistakable. People who know cars recognize it immediately. It is long and low and extremely aerodynamic with air intakes everywhere you look.
20” wheels, quad titanium exhaust, and large front and rear spoilers set it off. Plus, new for 2021 is the Bayside Blue exterior, previously reserved for the 50th anniversary edition.
Nissan has kept the interior of the GT-R nice, but minimalist, sort of retro actually. Leather seats are heavily bolstered but comfortable. Gauges are easy to read and see, and everything operates from a slightly antiquated 8” touchscreen mid-dash that can also be changed from a dial on the center console, which is surrounded by carbon fiber. There are real-time Sirius XM apps for traffic, weather, sports scores, and more. The center console houses USB ports.
From the touchscreen, hit Function and you’ll find multiple, easily accessed screens – including five programmable and one factory preset screens so the driver can get immediate feedback to key performance parameters that interest him or her the most.
Under the air conditioning section are three switches that allow for on-the-fly adjustment of specific performance parameters for the transmission, suspension, and Vehicle Dynamic Control system.
This is also where you engage Launch Mode, an incredible experience. Hold the far left and far right buttons up for a few seconds, bury the brake and accelerator pedal at the same time, disengage the brake and hold on for dear life.
Given the over $120,000 price tag, as you can imagine, the GT-R comes nicely equipped with a huge list of safety equipment, but it does not have blind-spot monitoring, something that should be standard on any two-door car. The GT-R has navigation, a Bose stereo, heated seats, parking sensors, a very good rearview camera, and Apple CarPlay, but no Android auto.
GT-R does technically have a rear seat, but only for small children, no adult will be comfortable there.
Ride and Drive
This is where I generally summarize a review vehicle, but the Nissan GT-R is a hard car to describe. It is old school in some ways, yet mechanically, it is an engineering marvel.
The 565-horses feels more like 700, the handling is simply incredible, but the grip…the way it hunkers down on takeoff is mind-boggling. If I have a mechanical complaint, there is just a little more turbo lag than I like, but once it spools up, you are off to the races.
Fuel economy is 16 in town and 22 on the highway and I wish you good luck with that.
What You’ll Pay
MSRP is $121,040, which admittedly seems like a lot, but putting it in perspective with other super cars out there, it is not out of line. If you want even more speed, step up to the over $210,000 NISMO GT-R.
Is the GT-R a good daily driver? It wouldn’t be for most. It is tight inside and doesn’t offer a lot of the creature comforts you want in this price range. It is easier to get in and out than many low-to-the-ground cars and way easier than a Corvette.
However, if you want a weekend sports car that is track ready, the GT-R should be on your shopping list.
2021 Nissan GT-R
- What I liked most: Performance, exterior looks, incredible handling.
- What I would change: Make blind spot monitoring a standard feature.
- MSRP: Base price $113,540 as equipped $121,040 with transportation.
- Fuel Economy: 16 city/22 highway/18 overall.
- Official Color: Bayside Blue
- Odometer reading when tested: 2400 miles.
- Weight: 3,935 pounds.
- Spare Tire: None. Run flat tires are standard.
- Length-Width-Height: 185.4” long/74.6” wide/ 53.9” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 19.5 gallons with filler on passenger side.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2021 GT-R in a few words: The GT-R earns the nickname Godzilla. It is an incredible machine on and off the track.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.
- Final Assembly Location: Los Angeles, CA.
- Manufacturers website: www.NissanUSA.com
- Up next: The 710-horse 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat.
Nissan GT-R Premium