Well, I think I've held all of you in suspense for long enough. No, the GT-R is not mine. It is actually my son's way of rewarding himself for earning a recent promotion. However, this is not the first time this vehicle has been in the family, as I bought this exact vehicle new in December 2008 and kept it until November of last year. Unlike some, I actually really enjoyed the GT-R but ultimately decided it was time for a change and sold the car to a long-time friend in Austin. So, you can understand my surprise when my son contacted me last week to tell me that he had decided to purchase my old car and asked if I could drive it out to him in Dallas. Always relishing a good road trip and an opportunity to see my grandkids, I gladly agreed. Anyway, over the last few days, I have had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with my old friend and a few things have stood out.
So, all of you probably already know that the GT-R is a fantastically quick car that is exceptionally capable, especially when being pushed hard. Keeping this in mind, I'll describe something that is rarely covered- how the GT-R handles mundane tasks like traffic and city driving. For starters, stoplights are always an event and not just because people stare at you. You'll swear the car is alive as its drivetrain literally throbs and chatters away, impatiently awaiting its next dose of throttle like a nicotine addict craving his or her next fix. Then comes the issue of driving away from a complete stop smoothly. You see the 2009 GT-R is fitted with Nissan's first ever attempt at making a double clutch transmission and while its effective at shifting gears quickly, its take off abilities are lacking. I've found that there are really only two ways to leave a stop light in an early GT-R, slow or jerky. The slow but smooth method involves applying a very small amount of throttle initially and adding more in a smooth, slow, and consistent manner. Do really anything else and you will experience a jerky take off that will make those around you question your abilities. In addition, there's the minor issue of the car's lack of hill start assist. The car will literally begin to roll back on even the slightest of inclines. However, this can be easily managed by applying a very small amount of throttle while holding the brake and then releasing it when the light changes. However, your issues aren't over once you're under way, as the bumpy ride soon comes into play. Even in its "Comfort" suspension setting, the GT-R still rides quite roughly and will make you wince when passing over manhole covers. In addition, the brakes, while very strong and more than capable for their intended task, have very little bite until the last quarter of the brake pedal's range of travel. Finally, the GT-R, like most sports cars, is quite low and makes entering and departing certain parking lots an adventure in departure angles. Keep in mind, none of these issues are catastrophic by any means, just things that must be kept in mind and dealt with accordingly.
However, the GT-R is not all bad around town. For instance, when left in its automatic mode, the GT-R should net you around 15-18mpg, depending on stop lights and traffic thickness. In addition, while its lack of feedback and proper weighting might not be very popular when pushing the car at high speeds, the GT-R's light, accurate, and precise steering makes parking, slow speed maneuvers, and placing the car quite simple. Also, while it might shift a bit roughly and chatter in the first and second gears, the transmission actually quiets down significantly and shifts with velvety smoothness that rivals an automatic in the subsequent gears.
I hope that this has been informative for at least a few of you. Feel free to ask me anything you want. Also, sorry that the car was dirty in these pictures, but I didn't see the point in washing it when it still had a 4+ hour drive to Dallas ahead of it.
The emblem on the floor mats:
A terrific amount of storage capacity:
In case anyone was wondering what the view out looks like:
Under the hood: