Godzilla is far happier being driven like a sports car - use it like it’s meant to be and the music sounds solid gold, blogs intrepid tester, Dan Scanlan.
Godzilla is a noisy beast. The run-flat tires rumble, the turbos and wastegates whistle and chirp, and the all-wheel-drive gearing on our 15,000-mile-old test car grumbles as the car rolls off. There’s wind noise. Bose Active Noise Cancelation was added, plus more sound deadening. The result is a car that works OK for daily commuting, still noisy but comfortable for two and excels as a road rocket!
The 3.8-liter, 545-horsepower (up from 480 horsepower in 2009) V-6, below, is torque rated at 463 pound-feet. It has plasma-sprayed bores, a symmetrical independent intake and exhaust manifold system with twin IHI turbochargers, an oil-cooling system and wet and dry sump oiling. It’s got a carbon fiber-reinforced engine bay stiffener, and an alloy plate that says Izumi Shioya built the engine. There’s a paddle-shift sequential six-speed dual-clutch automatic with separate wet clutches for odd (1, 3, 5) and even (2, 4, 6) gears - the next one is always ready to very quickly slot in. A carbon fiber drive shaft takes power to a rear transaxle biased toward rear drive.
But set the dashboard switch to R and the dual-clutch automatic fires off precise high-speed shifts and gas-blipping downshifts. Hold the middle switch up and the suspension goes really firm. Hold the switch on the right up, and stability and traction control are eased back, stepping in only when needed. Red lights confirm launch control is set.
The midship platform has independent double-wishbone front, and independent multi-link aluminum rear suspension, both with an integral tube-frame structure. Its all-wheel drive system is rear drive-biased with the ability to vary torque split from 0:100 to 50:50 depending on speed, acceleration, steering, tire slip, road and yaw rate.
On comfort suspension, the ride was firm but livable, with serious buffering on rebound, yet still showing some jitter on rough roads. You still feel and hear the tires. On “R,” it had a bit of a brittle edge on rougher asphalt and the front tires tram-lined on grooved roads. But the car feels in control when pushed.
Begin to use the GT-R and the car corners on rails, understeer on turn-in if pushed. Power out of a turn and the rear-drive bias shows as the tail peeks out, caught by suspension and rubber with a hint of traction control. The new suspension is more forgiving in a mid-corner bump, never getting unsettled. There's minimal body roll, the display reading up to 1 G of cornering on our skidpad, understeer chewing at the front tires at a high limit.
The GT-R's steering is direct with a very precise feel and great feedback. And with Brembo six-piston front/four-piston rear calipers with cross-drilled 15.35-inch front/15-inch rear two-piece rotors, there was minimal pedal travel before the brakes offered superb bite and precision application. There was intense stopping performance –no drama from 100-mph time and time again, and no fade as we pulled a full G. This is a visceral car – you feel every part of it working at low or high speed.
Re-tuned for 2015, the GT-R can be a grumbly pussycat if it’s called on to commute, or a brutal beast that’s always in control when it’s time to play. Godzilla rules, and has a softer side too!
For more information on the GT-R, please visit http://www.nissanusa.com/sportscars/gt-r