The Super in Superiority

The last time a Nissan, at least one that came from an official U.S. showroom, was judged against such niche exotics as, say, a Ferrari or a Lamborghini was...never. Until now.

The GT-R puts Nissan on a map that thus far only designated Maranello, Sant' Agata, Munich, and Stuttgart as points of interest. Well, it's time to stick a tack on Tochigi. In the kingdom of supercars, the GT-R positively belongs. Be it comparing 0-to-60 sprints, quarter-mile times, 60-to-0 braking, or lateral acceleration, the GT-R is one of the world's best. Don't believe us? Its cornea-melting 0-to-60 run of 3.3 seconds is quicker than that of the BMW M6, the Porsche 911 GT2, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560, and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. It even manages to run door to door with the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano and the Corvette ZR1. Quarter mile?

At 11.5 seconds at 121.0 mph, it is quicker than both the M6 and the SLR, and only a blink or two behind the rest. Further, the GT-R halts from 60 in just 102 feet-better than that of all but the GT2 and ZR1-and sticks to the skidpad with 1.00 g of lateral vigor, again in the realm of the others. Perhaps better yet, the GT-R puts up those thrilling stats while still delivering 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and ULEV-II emissions. Only the GT2 sips less fuel and none exhales through greener tailpipes.

So how does it do all that? The list is long (see "Fast Facts"), but the GT-R's core elements make it happen. For starters, it employs a handbuilt V-6 that uses plasma-coated cylinder bores to ensure optimal efficiency and twin IHI turbochargers to produce 480 horses. (That said, our GT-R dynamometer test from June 2008 revealed horsepower is really around 507.)

The V-6's partner in lap time, a hand-assembled dual-clutch automatic transmission, delivers a nearly uninterrupted flow of torque. To optimize weight over the rear wheels and offer minimal load shift during acceleration, braking, and cornering, the GT-R is the world's first all-wheel-drive production car to feature a rear-mounted transaxle. Feel like a round of caliper-smoking hot-laps? Its Brembo brakes are worthy of any track, even the infamous Nrburgring, where they helped the GT-R lap quicker than the GT2. And to provide a rigid, aerodynamic, precise, and relatively lightweight body-at 3891 pounds, the GT-R weighs less than an M6-its brutally elegant shape ingeniously meshes steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber.