Test Drive: 2013 Nissan GT R car test drives reviews nissan
2013 Nissan GT-R. Click image to enlarge
Test Drive: 2012 BMW M5
Test Drive: 2012 Cadillac CTS-V
Test Drive: 2013 Ford Shelby GT500
Test Drive: 2009 Nissan GT-R

Manufacturer’s website
Nissan Canada

Originally published on September 6, 2012

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2013 Nissan GT-R

The sixth-generation Nissan GT-R, affectionately (or otherwise) known as Godzilla, has been with us for five years now. Rare as chicken lips and very elusive, this enigmatic bruiser has made precious few appearances in the Nissan press fleet. So when I was offered the keys to this “Hakone White” 2013 Nissan GT-R Premium for a few days, I jumped at the opportunity.

Silly me booked some track time at Mosport, but I should have guessed the car would come with a waiver forbidding any track activities. Those 20-inch Dunlops are expensive.

So the one thing Godzilla was designed for, I didn’t get to do.

Test Drive: 2013 Nissan GT R car test drives reviews nissan
2013 Nissan GT-R. Click image to enlarge

But I can say this. Despite Nissan’s continuing efforts to make the GT-R more civilized, its black reptilian soul and unblinking focus continue to make it one of the most fearsome and uncompromised street legal conveyances money can buy.

And with a base price of $103,980, this 545-hp all-wheel-drive missile is an absolute performance bargain when looking at the likes of the 530-hp Porsche 911 Turbo S ($183,400) and 525-hp Audi R8 5.2 ($173,000).

Unlike those two Germans, which blend civility, luxury, and design chic with outstanding performance, the GT-R is a hardcore brute—its concessions to civility are merely patronizing. Yes, the cabin is trimmed in soft leather and the faux-suede-faced sport seats are terrific, but there’s nothing here to suggest that when Nissan fashioned this supercar they were thinking of enduring style or sweating the NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) details.

As a friend put it, “It’s not so much pretty as really, really scary.”

The hand-crafted 3.8L direct-injection twin-turbo V6 sings a sonorous song when on the boil, but the clever rear transaxle that houses a six-speed twin-clutch gearbox, mechanical limited-slip differential and all-wheel-drive transfer case clunks and rattles in the most alarming fashion. Seriously, if my car made those kinds of noises, I’d be reading it its last rites.

Test Drive: 2013 Nissan GT R car test drives reviews nissan
2013 Nissan GT-R. Click image to enlarge

But by gawd, attack your first on-ramp in this thing and you get a glimpse of the GT-R’s astounding potential. A few seconds of warp speed acceleration, laser-like path control and limpet-like grip from the sticky Dunlop Sports Max GT (255/40ZRF20 front, 285/35ZRF20 rear) reinforce that fact that Godzilla is a true 10/10ths car.

Another clue is the central LCD screen with its customizable array of virtual gauges showing everything from lateral g-forces to transmission oil temperature to turbo boost pressure to front/rear torque split. Front and centre is a large analogue tachometer. It’s all business in here.




About Peter

Peter Bleakney is a Toronto-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).