These days Nissan is known mostly for quirky and pretty good crossover cars that deliver all that sensible economy, space and value stuff in well designed and well built packages. Before that they were known for cheap and cheerful little hatches and well priced saloons. Going even further back they were called Datsun and it was then that the company revealed an odd little quirk. Clearly when all the sensible accountant and management types go home, the company's designers come out to play. Those of a certain vintage will recall that these sessions once resulted in the Datsun 280z which brought supercar looks and styling to those with a far more modest budget. More recently, these dark tendencies resulted in the Nissan GT-R variant of the Nissan Skyline. This model achieved pretty much the same trick but it was always slightly hampered by the fact that it was essentially a souped up version of a mass produced car. The new GT-R doesn't have that problem. Nissan have told us as much by dropping any reference to the Skyline and just badging the model as simply the GT-R. That is because it shares almost no components with any other model and is essentially a supercar marque all on its own.
Bang for your buck
Oh, it is a big bang alright. Think the original one that started everything. And just to make it even more perfect, it is very little buck for this level of supercar performance. Make no mistake, at £60,000 or so new this was never a cheap car. Compare it with its rivals however and there is simply no comparison. This was a car that in 2007 could trounce a £100,000 Porsche 911 turbo around its home Nurburgring. This fact says a lot about Nissan's approach to the GT-R. In order to make sure that the GT-R could compete with such German rivals, Nissan built a test track that was a replica of German roads, right down to the type of tarmac and the road signs pointing to Cologne. Clearly it was a success. You would be hard put to find a car at any price that can out-perform the GT-R and in this price bracket it would be a waste of time trying. The exterior is purposeful rather than pretty with body panels made from a selection of aluminium, carbon fibre and steel. There are serious looking spoilers and diffusers which are there to increase down force rather than for aesthetic reasons. In the cabin the story is much the same. There is carbon fibre on the centre console and magnesium for the gear change shift paddles. Luxury is added by well-trimmed leather seats and chrome instrument bezels plus reversing camera and Bose sound system. It is hardly the most luxurious car but to match this performance in a Porsche or Audi R8 you would have to spend £100k plus and you still would not get the simply unbelievable 2.7 seconds 0-60mph time.
What you'll pay
A 2009 (58 plate) used Nissan GT-R with 24,500 miles covered will cost around £32,000 today. A 2012 model on a 12 plate with only 2,312 miles covered is £67,000.
What to check
Nissan GT-R cars for sale need careful handling and servicing every 6,000 miles, so it is absolutely vital that you see a full service history from a franchised dealer. Some of these cars were independent imports so also check that you get a proper UK spec model.
Make no mistake, running costs are going to be high. The electric steering lock has been prone to fail and will cost £1,600 to replace. A modest front-end prang can set off the pedestrian protection system which displaces the bonnet and will cost £11,000 for a new one.
How it drives
If you can pony up the asking price and afford those spicy running costs you will be rewarded with a driving experience that is simply epic. This car has been purpose built to beat the competition and will blow the socks off of anything on the track or that you are likely to encounter on the open road. Unlike the other cars which try to match this sort of performance, it is actually quite approachable and easy to drive on a day to day basis and the ride is a lot more comfortable than you might suspect. Put simply, if you have the cash to spare and you are looking for the best road performance pretty much anywhere, a used Nissan GT-R is the only game in town.