2016 Nissan GT-R Driving Impressions

The GT-R has a top speed of 196 mph and can outperform supercars costing twice as much. Or it can cruise around town to do errands.

It has three modes, to suit your moods and/or the road: Normal, Comfort and Race. They are pretty much true to their names. Comfort makes the car totally tractable with a nice ride around town. Race does its rigid quick job on the track, the only place you need it. Normal is a bit sporty, less relaxed than Comfort. These modes change the algorithms for throttle response, suspension firmness, transmission shift points and speed, along with the dynamic control traction and stability system.

Cruising along in docile Comfort and sixth gear, you can hear the whistle of the turbos and soft whine of the four exhausts. The GT-R doesn’t scream like a Ferrari or roar like a V8 Shelby GT500; the Nissan V6 note is distinctive, like a deep whine through a long tube.

The all-wheel-drive system delivers fantastic grip and cornering. It goes from rear-wheel drive to 50/50 front/rear, depending on speed, lateral acceleration, steering angles, tire slip, road surface and yaw rate. The suspension uses Bilstein dampers built for the GT-R to go with its springs and rigid chassis.

The massive Brembo brakes, six-piston in front and four- in rear, are firm, fadeless and fearless. The paddle-shifting transmission changes gears smartly even in Comfort mode, although because the paddles are mounted on the steering column and not the wheel itself, it’s not easy to shift in a corner when the wheel is turned.

Driving the GT-R on the track can be video game-like, with that eye-popping acceleration and grip that won’t quit. Until it does quit, when the rear slides out from you with too much power all at once. But the stability control saves you, and the balance is excellent. The weight distribution is good because the transaxle is mounted at the rear.

It’s an awesome thing to wind the GT-R into a long sweeper at 100 mph or more and be almost relaxed as it just hangs in there, no worries, it can do more. Now imagine the Nismo GT-R with another 55 horsepower.

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