Few cars embody the concept of maximizing bang for your buck more than the Nissan GT-R. Since it arrived on our shores in 2009, the GT-R has promised supercar performance at sports car prices. The 2016 GT-R develops an additional 5 horsepower in non-Nismo versions thanks to electronic refinements. In Premium trim, 20-spoke wheels replace the previous 10-spoke design. A 45th Anniversary Gold Edition is added to the lineup to celebrate 45 years of worldwide GT-R production. The Track Edition version has been dropped.
With 550 horsepower available, the 2016 Nissan GT-R has no trouble accelerating up to warp speed.
With continual improvements over the years and increases in standard feature content, a new GT-R is now in six-figure territory, but Nissan’s top sports car remains an impressive beast. The heart of the GT-R is its potent, twin-turbocharged V6, which now produces 550 hp in standard tune. A multitude of computer-controlled systems govern a stellar rear-biased all-wheel-drive system that adjusts the torque split based on multiple factors. Combine all this with an adjustable suspension, and you have a car capable of making a novice driver feel like a track star. For those looking to lay waste to all challengers, a 600-hp Nismo version is available with different suspension tuning, carbon-fiber aero work and Recaro front bucket seats.
The GT-R’s biggest drawback lies not so much in what it can or can’t do, but in its lower levels of refinement compared to newer high-end sports cars and sport coupes on the market. Alongside these rivals, the GT-R’s so-so ride quality doesn’t do it any favors, and neither does its intrusive wind noise. Many sports cars in this price range strike a more favorable balance between comfort and performance while the GT-R is laser-focused on attacking challenging roads with tight turns. Nor is the GT-R as affordable as it once was, and the Nismo trim, which costs almost 50 percent more than the regular GT-R, is particularly hard to justify.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2016 Nissan GT-R is a high-performance 2+2 coupe with seating for four. It is offered in three trim levels, including Premium, Black Edition and a 600-hp Nismo version.
The entry-level Premium model’s list of standard equipment includes 20-inch forged alloy wheels, summer-rated tires, an adaptive suspension, Brembo brakes, LED adaptive headlights, LED running lights, a rearview camera and keyless ignition and entry. Inside you’ll find dual-zone automatic climate control, leather and simulated-suede upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat and four-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats and an active noise-cancellation system. Information and entertainment comes in the form of a 7-inch touchscreen display with navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an 11-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and a USB interface.
The limited-production 2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition gets special paint and identification badges.
There are three optional packages for the GT-R Premium. The Premium Interior package adds upgraded leather upholstery, while the Cold Weather package gets you all-season run-flat tires and a special coolant mixture for faster engine warm-up. A 45th Anniversary Gold Edition option is new for 2016 and includes “Silica Brass” paint, a gold VIN plate inside the engine compartment and a special plaque located on the center stack. Nissan says fewer than 30 vehicles will make it stateside. The GT-R Premium’s option packages aren’t available on the Black Edition or Nismo trims.
The 2016 Nissan GT-R Black Edition features lightweight black alloy wheels, a carbon-fiber rear spoiler, leather Recaro front sport seats and unique black and red interior trim.
Topping the GT-R line is the Nismo model, which comes with a more powerful engine, body reinforcements, firmer suspension tuning, aerodynamic upgrades and distinctive interior trim. A titanium exhaust system is an option exclusive to the Nismo.
The 2016 Nissan GT-R is powered by a turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine that generates 550 hp and 463 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automated manual transmission routes this power to the ground through an advanced all-wheel-drive system. The GT-R Nismo gets an upgraded version of this V6 that puts out 600 hp and 481 lb-ft.
Utilizing a built-in launch-control program, performance is nothing less than jaw-dropping. In testing of a 2015 GT-R with 545 hp, we observed a 0-60-mph sprint taking just 3.2 seconds. This powertrain also achieves respectable fuel economy, with an EPA estimated 19 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway). We validated these estimates with our own real-world 23 mpg measured over Edmunds’ 120-mile evaluation loop.
Standard safety features on the Nissan GT-R include antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In testing of a 2015 GT-R, we recorded a best 60-0-mph stopping distance of 99 feet, which is on par with the world’s best.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2016 Nissan GT-R combines the driver-oriented cockpit you’d expect from a sport coupe with user-friendly controls. The combination of well-bolstered front seats and column-mounted shift paddles makes it easy for the driver to focus his attention on the business at hand. Everything is within reach and where it should be.
The GT-R’s cabin is trimmed with generally high-quality materials.
In addition to the typical navigation and audio displays, the 7-inch touchscreen can bring up info like the currently selected gear and also play back a range of performance data including lap times and G-forces generated during aggressive cornering.
Unlike some cars with similar performance, getting in and out of the GT-R is a snap. The seating position is relatively high and the doors are long. The standard front seats also offer surprisingly good comfort for such a performance-focused machine, making the GT-R a reasonable road trip companion. The Black Edition and Nismo models all get more heavily bolstered front seats better suited to aggressive driving.
Rear seats are only suitable for small children but, in this category, that is more than can be said for many of its competitors. At 8.8 cubic feet, trunk space is decent by supercar standards but accessibility is diminished by the narrow opening and tall liftover height.
Pleasingly, the 2016 Nissan GT-R still has the impressive performance that has made this car the object of gear head fantasies since its U.S. debut for the 2009 model year. The turbo V6 produces acceleration that’s not unlike the jump to warp speed, while the transmission rips off rapid and perfectly rev-matched gear changes. The sophisticated all-wheel-drive system is still a wonder, too, as it directs power where it’s most needed for maximum traction, and for the greatest effect on handling.
Even after all these years, the GT-R can accelerate, brake and corner with the best of them.
This is also an exotic that remains remarkably easy to drive fast. Chuck the GT-R into a corner, any corner, and it sticks through the bend and rockets out the other side. But it never surprises. It’s frightening in the same way that commercial air travel is: It’s the conscious thought of the speed you’re traveling (and the consequences thereof) that raises hairs, not the direct knowledge that you’re in control of something special. Some drivers might find this advantageous, but others will bemoan the lack of passion.
Thanks to a slew of suspension modifications made last year, the GT-R is more comfortable to drive than ever before. But there’s still room for improvement. The ride can be rough at times, and road noise is considerable, as are clunks and whines from the driveline.