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Nissan GT-R Coupe (2008 - 2012) review

Read the Nissan GT-R coupe (2009 - 2012) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.

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Words by: Auto Trader

Last updated on 14 November 2014 | 0 min read

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


The Nissan GT-R has a combination of impressive performance and cutting-edge technology to make it one of the most intoxicating sports coupes on the road today.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickFantastic handling
  • tickBreathtaking performance
  • tickSurprisingly practical

At a glance:

How good does it look?

Sultry curves and graceful lines aren’t what the Nissan GT-R is about and Nissan says GT-R owners will already have a Ferrari or Porsche. Every bulge is there for good reason; every vent is there to serve a purpose. The GT-R offers a 0.27Cd drag factor, which means it is exceptionally streamlined, but still manages to develop huge downforce from its huge rear wing. The GT-R is the first not to be based on a Nissan Skyline, which means its looks are more uncompromising, but there are nods to its bloodline such as the four round taillights.
Expert rating: 4/5

What's the interior like?

Inside the Nissan GT-R it’s all function over form. The dash isn’t aesthetically pleasing, but the controls are well laid out and positioned where you’d expect. But the dash is little more than a placeholder for the superb touch screen ‘multi-function meter’. Designed by the team which developed the Gran Turismo computer games, it offers mechanical and driving information, a gearshift indicator and driving records. Despite providing everything from oil temperature, turbo boost and front/rear torque split to accelerator opening, brake pressure and g-force, it’s remarkably easy to use.
Expert rating: 4/5

How practical is it?

Offering a boot comparable in size with a small family hatchback, the Nissan GT-R is a surprisingly practical machine. But while it has rear seats, it is officially a 2+2, meaning legroom is extremely tight for adults and is better suited to children. There’s a reasonable amount of storage space around the cabin, and there’s enough room for two adults in the front. The front seats operate electrically, and it’s easy to get a good driving position. This coupled with minimal engine and wind noise mean it’s an easy car to live with.
Expert rating: 4/5

What's it like to drive?

There might be faster cars in a straight line, but none which offer the four-wheel drive GT-R’s immense grip levels or its capability to flatter. But that doesn’t mean all the excitement has been dialled out. Its electronic systems mean it’s as capable at ten-tenths on a track as it is running around town, and that’s no mean feat. There’s no slack in the steering, and the chassis allows the driver to exploit this, making it a devastating point-to-point machine. Despite this grip and handling prowess, it’s reasonably comfortable with a decent ride in its softer programmable settings.
Expert rating: 5/5

How powerful is it?

The heart of the Nissan GT-R is a hand-built 3.8-litre V6 engine with two turbochargers. The official power output is rated at 478bhp and 434lb/ft of torque, which can propel the car to 62mph in 3.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of 194mph. That’s fast, whichever way you look at it. But it’s the mid-range thump that really impresses with a surge of power that makes overtaking incredibly easy. And the force with which the driver is pressed back into the driver’s seat is as marked from a full-throttle launch as it is well into license-losing speeds.
Expert rating: 5/5

How much will it cost me?

Considering the performance on offer the Nissan GT-R is a bargain, with a list price of £60,000. You’d have to spend much more to get a Porsche or Ferrari with this kind of performance and equipment levels, and used values are likely to remain strong thanks to huge demand and limited availability. Its 22.8mpg average and 295g/km of CO2 emissions will hurt owners, but they’re no worse than any other supercar. Nissan’s network of 11 High Performance Centres will collect and return cars for routine servicing – service intervals are 6,000 miles or every six months, whichever is sooner.
Expert rating: 3/5

How reliable is it?

Nissan has a good reputation for building reliable cars, but it will essential for owners to follow service schedules closely. Used buyers should use an expert to check the car.
Expert rating: 4/5

How safe is it?

Driver and passenger side and curtain airbags are fitted as standard. Other safety kit includes ABS, EBD and brake assist and hill start. Like most supercars, the Nissan GT-R hasn’t been put through the EuroNCAP crash test programme.
Expert rating: 3/5

How much equipment do I get?

Just one version of the GT-R is offered and comes with av nine-speaker stereo, cruise control, climate control, a 30gb music server, sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity and Recaro seats.
Expert rating: 5/5

Why buy?

The Nissan GT-R represents the most intoxicating sportscar currently on the market. Unlike some models, the electronics create the car, rather than taking away from it. It’s a technological marvel and defines what 21st century sportscars are all about.
Expert rating: 5/5

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