Posted Oct 22nd 2012 2:58PM
I always figured that the first six-figure Nissan I drove would have an Infiniti badge on the front, but this $107,600 as-tested 2013 GT-R Black Edition has given lie to that notion.
Since July, I've been fortunate enough to be in some wickedly quick cars, including an SLS AMG Coupe and Roadster, Camaro ZL1, Corvette 427 Convertible, TT RS, Panamera GTS, 911 Carrera S, E63 AMG Wagon and Shelby GT500. I think that under real-world road conditions, though, this Black Edition has got to be the quickest one of them – and not by a little.
- Given that the GT-R has always been galactically rapid, it's a bit hard to suss out the difference between this car and past model years in street use, but kudos to Nissan for aggressively updating the GT-R on a nearly annual basis. This Black Edition (curiously painted Solid Red) extracts 545 horsepower and 463 pound-feet of torque from its 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6. For comparison's sake, the GT-R launched here in 2008 with a piffling 480 horsepower.
- What does the Black Edition add? Well, aside from nearly US$10,000 to the MSRP, you get a handmade dry carbon fibre wing and lightweight six-spoke Rays alloys (nice forged pieces with black finish and polished lip), along with a pair of Recaro seats and red leather trim on the shifter, seats and door panels. That's a whole lot of cash, but at least the new wheels save a hefty 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) per corner.
- While the GT-R is a Nissan, it's clearly a supercar in its genetic makeup, so it should come as no surprise that it's not just happy to fire up and immediately run off to the corner grocery in cold weather like a Sentra. You'll want to warm it up a bit more deliberately than you might with an ordinary car. Doing so helps avoid a recalcitrant gearbox when moving between Reverse and Drive modes and avoids low-speed throttle hiccups.
- A gripe: Why does Nissan insist on keeping the GT-R's obnoxious reverse warning beep? Unlike other models, the GT-R issues a warning chime in reverse, but it's only heard inside the cabin – it's like your own private garbage truck simulator. A cursory search around the web among GT-R forums would seem there's no easy fix to this bizarre inclusion.
- Despite nicer materials in the Black Edition's cabin, like lesser all-wheel-drive heroes from Subaru and Mitsubishi, it's immediately clear that any stray dollars on this vehicle's program went into go-faster bits, not into the interior. The GT-R still feels cheap inside, from some of the switchgear to the gearshift lever itself.
- The GT-R has been derided as an unemotional car by some enthusiasts – we've heard that driving it is "too easy" or that it's so accomplished that it's boring to go fast in this car. Rubbish. While it isn't as tactile as, say, a 911, the GT-R still demands quite a bit from its driver, if only because the outside world insists upon hurtling itself at the GT-R's windshield so quickly. And regardless of suspension mode, the ride is just plain rough, making even a daily commute rather more vivid.