By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
The $100,000 2016 Nissan GT-R is no bargain, until you compare its performance to Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and Porsches costing two, three or four times as much. Suddenly, the Nissan GT-R seems like a steal. Credit the sophisticated, performance-oriented all-wheel-drive system, the 545-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine, and the rest of the hard-core performance hardware that comes in the GT-R. If that's not enough, the 600-horsepower GT-R Nismo offers a track-ready experience designed to own any competitor, at any price. The downside is that despite numerous upgrades, it's hard to ignore its overall lack of refinement next to newer rivals, such as the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The GT-R Nismo isn't exactly a bargain either, edging close to Porsche 911 Turbo S territory.
If you want a car that goes from zero to 60 mph in under three seconds on its way to a 196-mph top speed, sends 545 horsepower to all four wheels, and seats four, all for about $100,000, then the 2016 Nissan GT-R is your only bet.
The GT-R is undeniably fast, but it's not particularly refined inside, offering limited luxury. It's not exactly an aspirational brand either, although those in the know love the GT-R. Additionally, cars like the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 give it a run for its money, literally, in the "cheap speed" department.
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The only notable change for the 2016 Nissan GT-R is the new 45th Anniversary Gold Edition, which celebrates the GT-R's high-performance heritage. With a special Silica Brass paint scheme and other signature styling elements, only 30 will be available, meaning they just sold out as you finished this sentence. Sorry.
Press the ignition button on the center console of the 2016 Nissan GT-R, and you're suddenly at the helm of one of the quickest and fastest cars you can buy....
... Using the built-in Launch Control mode, you'll blast to 60 mph in less than three seconds. Yet despite the solid thwack the car delivers under hard acceleration, the Nissan GT-R boasts an array of mechanical and electronic chassis systems intended to keep both car and driver safe at high speeds. The performance extends well beyond straight-line performance, as the Nissan GT-R boasts cornering grip that borders on surreal. With an adjustable suspension, well-weighted steering and stop-me-now Brembo brakes, the GT-R thrills when pushed, and its 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission fires off shifts faster than a traditional manual gearbox. The downside is that the GT-R isn't nearly as refined as a Porsche 911 or Audi R8, and lacks day-to-day comfort.
TWIN-TURBO V6 ENGINE
Nissan hand-builds each 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 engine for the GT-R, and its 545 horsepower puts many V8 engines to shame; the GT-R Nismo edition puts out a whopping 600 horsepower. How proud is Nissan of its engine? Each one is signed by the person who built it.
Yes, value, when you look at it right. For example, at $150,000 and with a 0-60-mph time of 2.7 seconds, the GT-R Nismo costs $55,000 per second. To go faster you'll need a $180,000 Porsche 911 Turbo S; it hits 60 mph in 2.6 seconds, costing you $70,000 per second.
Nobody will mistake the Nissan GT-R for a luxury car, but this performance-oriented interior isn't without its charms. The big red start button draws your attention, situated on the center console between the two leather-appointed seats. Three switches on the dash control ride and handling settings, and the 7-inch display can show virtually every data point a car nerd could dream of seeing. Technically there are two rear padded spots with seatbelts, but the reality is that they're for occasional use at best, and should really be relegated to carrying extra cargo, since the trunk is on the small side.
The 2016 Nissan GT-R isn't a pretty car, but it makes up for its lack of pulchritude with an over-the-top aggressiveness. Put another way: It looks like it wants to beat you up and steal your lunch money. Yet it's not for show, as all the odd angles, rounded contours and crisp edges are in the name of aerodynamic efficiency, and the resulting 0.26 coefficient of drag proves that Nissan knows what it's doing. Other elements, like the enormous front-fender vents, help provide front downforce. Staggered-width 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels further aid the GT-R’s stability.
There are technically four 2016 Nissan GT-R models, although at only 30 available units, the Anniversary Edition almost doesn't count. Base Nissan GT-R Premium models come loaded though, with power leather front seats, a rearview monitor, dual-zone climate control, a 7-inch touch-screen nav system, and 11-speaker Bose audio. The Black edition models add Recaro seats and Rays wheels, plus black carbon-fiber exterior trim. The GT-R Nismo takes the place of last year's Track model, and offers a more powerful engine, better suspension, reinforced body and additional brake cooling.
The most alluring Nissan GT-R options come as option packages, and most of those are offered on the "base" Premium model. A Cold Weather Package adds all-season tires and special coolant mixture to help this exotic handle cold climates better, while a Premium Interior Package adds hand-stitched semi-aniline front-seat interior treatments. The rest of the models offer an array of accessories – most notable is the $12,900 titanium exhaust system available for GT-R Nismo models.
There are two versions of the same engine available for the 2016 Nissan GT-R. First up is the standard 545-horsepower 3.8-liter V6. This compact powerhouse uses twin turbocharges and high-tech construction techniques to squeeze as much power as possible from its family-car displacement. If somehow that's still not enough, the GT-R Nismo packs 600 horsepower. Both engines connect to a 6-speed dual-clutch sequential automatic transmission capable of snapping off shifts in milliseconds; it's way faster than you ever could manage with a manual, and the paddle shifters on the steering wheel are the epitome of engaging driving.
3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6
545 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
463 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200-5,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6
600 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
481 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200-5,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
The "base" 2016 Nissan GT-R Premium has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $103,000; the 45th Anniversary Gold Edition is about $1,000 more. A new GT-R Black Edition will cost about $130,000, and the all-conquering GT-R Nismo will set you back a cool $151,500. However, despite the initial involuntary eye-pop of seeing a Nissan with a $150,000 price tag, the reality is that this car is a serious performance bargain compared to exotics like the Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches it routinely embarrasses in performance comparisons. On the flip side, the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 starts even lower, and with 650 horsepower and equivalent acceleration and performance numbers, is not only a better bargain, but it offers better day-to-day refinement as well. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and be confident that your GT-R's resale value will remain strong, matching Audi's R8.