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2012 Nissan GT-R : Street Power

Published July 5, 2012

Where high technology meets high performance, you find some serious cars. As an example, just look at the 2012 Nissan GT-R. As the representative of Nissan’s latest technology, the GT-R packs some pretty serious specs, including a fire-breathing twin-turbo V6, a dual-clutch automated manual transmission, an advanced all-wheel-drive system and a sport-focused suspension with adaptive dampers. The GT-R’s performance numbers push it into supercar category, yet the Nissan maintains a significantly lower price point.

The 2012 Nissan GT-R gains more power, supplemented by a few styling and aerodynamic changes to the exterior and a few revisions to the interior.

This year the Nissan GT-R expands its performance envelope even farther. Power output rises to 530 horsepower (45 hp more than last year) and 448 pound-feet of torque (up from 434) thanks to the combination of revised turbo boost and more free-flowing intake and exhaust systems. It uses a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission routes this power to the ground via an advanced AWD system. The already impressive brakes also have been enlarged slightly to better deal with the added performance potential.

Within the cabin, a carbon-fiber center stack is new, as are matte-black switches and a redesigned instrument panel pad. The backrests of the front seats have been reshaped. And this year’s Black Edition comes with unique wheels, seats and interior colors.

We still have a few criticisms, albeit minor ones. We wish a traditional manual transmission had been made optional — not just to satisfy the purists but also to avoid the awkward low-speed performance of the dual-clutch transmission. The GT-R’s bulk (it weighs around 3,800 pounds) also makes it feel heavier in tight corners than the typical supercar, while Nissan’s stiff-legged ride might be of concern to drivers who value comfort more than outright performance.

Even so, the 2012 Nissan GT-R is an amazing car, as easy to drive as a Nissan Altima yet able to easily match the performance of $500,000 supercars. If you take the GT-R’s price as a base line for comparison, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 can keep up with the Nissan, but only if commanded by a truly gifted pilot. The Porsche 911 is competitive in regard to cost, but only the more expensive models (notably the Porsche 911 Turbo) can match it. In the end, the triple threat of performance, technology and price means there’s pretty much nothing like the 2012 GT-R.

Standard features include 20-inch alloy wheels with high-performance tires, automatic xenon headlights, LED running lights, Brembo brakes, an electronically adjustable suspension, leather/faux-suede upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control and an 11-speaker Bose CD/MP3 audio system with two subwoofers, satellite radio, iPod connectivity and Bluetooth phone and streaming audio. Also standard is a multifunction driver-configurable information monitor and a hard-drive-based navigation system with 9.4 gigabytes available for audio storage, real-time traffic and weather.

A six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission routes this power to the ground via an advanced AWD system.

The GT-R is much less polished in the confines of a big city. The shift action of the transmission is clunky and loud while in automatic mode in stop-and-go traffic like we have down here. It will also clatter like a racing transmission at a walking pace. When the road is open, the GT-R regains its composure, and the transmission shifts quickly and positively in automatic mode. On the whole, the transmission responds better when it’s shifted manually. Road noise can be intrusive at times, but we think it’s a small price to pay for the 2012 Nissan GT-R’s otherworldly performance.

Overall, I truly loved the carbon fiber additions that they put on it. The weight differential adds a good amount of speed. For those of you more into street racing, the GT-R should be one of your favorite cars. It does everything well, and unless you’re facing a million dollar car, it’ll keep up with it.


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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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