Premium sporty/performance car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $40,400 – $80,100*


2009 Nissan GT-R Front


2009 Nissan GT-R Rear


2009 Nissan GT-R Interior


2009 Nissan GT-R Profile

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Controls/details
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Noise
  • Meager rear-seat room
  • Ride quality

Simply put, GT-R is a performance bargain, new or used-though new-car prices shot upward after the car’s introduction .More quirky than most rivals, this all-wheel-drive Nissan coupe offers impressive acceleration, a comfortable and well-appointed interior, and decent luggage space. Especially for those who prefer an automatic transmission-and can accept one that isn’t particularly well behaved-this is an exotic performance car that wasn’t priced like one when new. Used-car prices are likely to be hefty, however, due to high resale value and the minimal number of secondhand GT-Rs on the market.

Overview

Launched as a brand-new 2009 model, Nissan’s GT-R was meant to be this Japanese automaker’s flagship sports car. Long known as the Skyline GT-R in the Japanese market, the American-edition GT-R premium coupe was Nissan’s most powerful vehicle, with a turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine mounted behind the front axle, producing 480 horsepower. That engine teamed with a six-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission, mounted in the rear. Equipped with steering-wheel shift paddles for manual operation, the transmission could behave much like a conventional automatic. Vehicle Dynamic Control was specially tuned for the GT-R, with three mode choices: Normal, Comfort, and “R” (high-performance). The GT-R came in Base and Premium trim levels. All-wheel drive, a sport suspension, and 20-inch wheels with run-flat tires were standard on both models. A navigation system with a Music Box hard drive for storing digital-music files was standard. Premium models added heated front seats and an uplevel audio system. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. A Cold Weather Package included special coolant, run-flat all-season tires, and specific wheels. Sports-car competitors for the GT-R, which was at least theoretically a four-passenger coupe, included the Audi TT, Jaguar XK Series, and Porsche 911.

Yearly Updates

2010 GT-R
Little was changed for 2010, except that the GT-R’s engine gained 5 horsepower, now rated at 485. Wheel finishes were revised.
2011 GT-R
The 2011 Nissan GT-R lineup lost its Base model, leaving only the Premium trim level, and got a slightly revised suspension.
2012 GT-R
The 2012 Nissan GT-R got a 45-horsepower boost along with freshened interior and exterior styling and a new Black Edition.
2013 GT-R
The 2013 Nissan GT-R received more power, revised suspension tuning, and a standard rearview camera. Black Edition models now had a handmade carbon-fiber rear spoiler.
2014 GT-R
Nissan made several tweaks to the GT-R for 2014. These included a new limited-production Track Edition model and a newly optional Premium Interior Package. The engine was reworked for what Nissan said was better response in the mid- and upper-rpm ranges. The body was revised to increase rigidity, and the shock absorbers, front anti-roll bar, and springs were modified to lower the car’s center of gravity.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

The GT-R comes only with a turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine mated to a six-speed automated manual transmission and all-wheel drive. Early versions had 480 horsepower, which was raised to 485 for 2010, to 530 for 2012, and 545 for 2013.

Turbocharged dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/232
Engine HP 480-545
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 430-463
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

16/21

18.3

Road Test

Acceleration scores as phenomenal. Decently strong from a standstill, the GT-R quickly explodes with warp drive once the turbos kick in. Full-throttle downshifts take a moment to execute, but once they do, passing power is likewise stunning. The dual-clutch transmission can be a bit quirky in normal driving, but in general it upshifts quickly with light-throttle use, and can be in sixth gear by 30 mph. Gear changes and downshifts can be slower than expected, particularly under heavy throttle. Lack of a manual shift gate for the console-mounted lever is puzzling, but the steering-wheel paddles make up for this somewhat. In city traffic, the GT-R is reasonably well-behaved, but this Nissan isn’t as docile as some other all-out performance rivals.

Fuel economy runs about as expected for a serious sports car. A test GT-R averaged 18.3 mpg in mixed city and highway driving. The GT-R requires premium-grade gasoline.

The GT-R’s ride can be stiff and bone-jarring, but some of our testers have considered the ride to be class competitive when the adjustable suspension is set in “comfort” mode.

Handling is one area where the GT-R shines, cornering with little, if any, body lean-especially at speeds suitable for public roads. Steering is well weighted, but driving the GT-R demands near-constant attention because the tires tend to follow road grooves. Brakes are strong, but don’t have the instant-on response of other high-performance machines.

Tire and bump noise are apparent at most any speed, but highway cruising produces minimal wind rush. Some testers have considered the engine and exhaust note too well muted, lacking the sporty tone emitted by most competitors.

Numerous buttons and driver-selectable displays will require familiarization, but the basic controls are well marked, easy to reach, and simple enough to use. The nicely detailed interior boasts premium-level materials and exhibits fine assembly quality.

The GT-R’s cockpit-like interior is generally comfortable and not confining. The tilt/telescopic steering wheel uses a cumbersome two-level manual system for adjustment. Larger drivers will likely find the seat’s bolsters mildly constraining. Back-seat legroom is nearly non-existent, even behind an average-size driver. In reality, the rear seat is more suited for carrying a couple of small parcels, rather than people.

The reasonable-size trunk should provide enough room for a weekend’s worth of luggage. The trunk lid uses non-intrusive strut-type hinges, and opens to reveal a large portal, but liftover is very high.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2010 Nissan GT-R Premium

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 10
100%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 2
20%
Steering/Handling - 10
100%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 1
10%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 53

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.4 183.1 74.9 54.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
8.8 19.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.1 33.5 44.6 26.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A Not tested. 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: Automatic transmission shift quality is improved by reprogramming the transmission control module with the 2010 model year software. (2009)
Automatic transmission
Description: Automatic transmission shift quality is improved by reprogramming the transmission control module with the 2010 model year software. (2009)
Keys
Description: Moisture enters the intelligent key causing corrosion, making it inoperable. (2009)
Fuel economy
Description: Campaign to reprogram evaporate emissions controls. (2009)
None
Description: Thule bike racks (installed by dealers) were being replaced due to sharp pinch bolt that could cause severe hand injury. (2009-10)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.