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2021 Nissan GT-R Review

The 2021 Nissan GT-R ranks in the bottom third of the luxury sports car class. The GT-R offers searing engine performance, planted handling, and an intuitive touch screen, but it’s let down by its unremarkable interior quality, snug back seat, and lack of advanced features.

Pros & Cons

  • Rocketlike acceleration
  • Surefooted handling
  • Few active safety features
  • Dated interior
  • Cramped rear seats

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Nissan GT-R's #14 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Sports Cars category. Currently the Nissan GT-R has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 73 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 9.0
Interior: 5.7
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Nissan GT-R a Good Car?

Yes, the 2021 Nissan GT-R is a good luxury sports car. The GT-R boasts a monstrous twin-turbo V6 engine and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. This pairing allows the GT-R to accelerate to triple-digit speeds in mere seconds and carve up winding roads with a collectedness that belies its nearly two-ton weight. Its touch-screen infotainment system is easy to use, and, unlike many competitors, the GT-R has a four-seat interior, though the rear seats are better for storing luggage than adult passengers. The GT-R also rates above average for predicted reliability, and its adaptive suspension provides a firm but livable ride quality.

There are a few major compromises though. The GT-R has a thirst for fuel – it gets just 16/22 mpg city/highway – and it’s exceptionally light on amenities and safety features for a car that costs $113,000 and up.

Why You Can Trust Us: 73 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 73 Nissan GT-R reviews, as well as data points like reliability ratings and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

This 2021 GT-R review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2009.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Nissan GT-R?

While the 2021 Nissan GT-R is worth considering if you’re shopping for a luxury sports car, its aging design and dearth of advanced features keep it from being a top pick. Before you buy, test-drive alternatives in this class like the Chevrolet Corvette, BMW 8 Series, and Porsche 911. Each offers sizzling engine performance, poised handling, and more advanced tech and safety features at a starting price that undercuts the GT-R's.

Compare the GT-R, Corvette, and 8 Series »

2020 vs. 2021 Nissan GT-R: What's the Difference?

The biggest difference between the 2020 and 2021 GT-R is actually a subtraction. Nissan discontinued its 50th Anniversary Edition and Track Edition models for 2021, leaving just the Premium and Nismo trim levels. Otherwise, the GT-R is the same.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 GT-R »

Here are the key changes for the Nissan GT-R over the last few years:

  • 2017: updated interior and exterior styling; base engine output increased by 20 horsepower
  • 2018: Apple CarPlay added to standard features list; sub-$100,000 Pure trim debuted
  • 2019: no major changes
  • 2020: 50th Anniversary Edition introduced; Pure trim discontinued
  • 2021: Track Edition and 50th Anniversary Edition discontinued

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 GT-R, 2019 GT-R, and 2020 GT-R reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Nissan GT-R Cost?

The 2021 Nissan GT-R has a $113,540 starting price, which is at the higher end of the luxury sports car segment. The price skyrockets to $210,740 for the racier GT-R Nismo trim. More affordable two-door sports cars in this class include the Audi TT, Toyota Supra, Porsche Cayman, and Chevrolet Corvette.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan GT-R Versus the Competition

Nissan GT-R vs. Porsche 911

The Porsche 911 outshines the GT-R in most areas. The 911 feels more agile and rewarding to drive on winding roads, and its suspension yields a smoother ride in day-to-day driving. The Porsche has a wider variety of engine options to choose from, including many with even more power than the GT-R. Its four-seat interior looks and feels of a higher quality, and it’s offered in multiple body styles and with more active safety features. The 911 even beats the GT-R on starting price, albeit not by much. Overall, the 911 is a better pick.

Compare the GT-R and 911 »

Nissan GT-R vs. Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette is a better buy than the GT-R for most shoppers. Not only does the Corvette cost about half as much as the entry-level GT-R, but it can sprint neck and neck with the Nissan in a straight line, and its sharper handling gives it an edge around turns. The Corvette sports fresher styling and higher-quality materials, and – despite its midengine layout – it has more cargo space. There are more tech and safety features as well. That said, if you need four seats or all-wheel drive, you should stick with the Nissan. The Corvette only seats two, and it is rear-wheel-drive only.

Compare the GT-R and Corvette »

Compare the GT-R, 911, and Corvette »

GT-R Performance: Fast and Furious

GT-R Engine

The 2021 Nissan GT-R is offered with two engine options. The GT-R Premium has a 565-horsepower twin-turbo V6, while the GT-R Nismo has an upgraded version of this engine with 600 horsepower. Both are paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

The difference in power is negligible. Both GT-R models accelerate with slingshot efficiency – zero to 60 mph takes just three seconds – and this power is readily available at all times, due in part to the dual-clutch transmission and its rapid-fire shifts. You can change gears manually using the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Throttle response is a bit slower when the transmission is left to its own devices, but it’s perfectly fine for daily driving. The engine sounds great as well. It snarls at lower rpm and sings a raspy tune at higher rpm through its titanium exhaust pipes.

Nissan GT-R Powertrain Options:
  • Base engine: 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 565 horsepower and 467 pound-feet of torque; starts at $113,540 (Premium)
  • Available engine: 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque; starts at $210,740 (Nismo)
  • Drivetrain: all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed dual-clutch automatic
GT-R Gas Mileage

The Nissan GT-R gets an EPA-rated 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. This is below average for the luxury sports car class, yet it’s still on par with high-horsepower competitors like the Chevrolet Corvette and Mercedes-AMG GT.

GT-R Ride and Handling

The Nissan GT-R’s driving dynamics reflect its billing as an everyday supercar. The steering is quick and responsive, the all-wheel-drive system grips tenaciously to the pavement around tight turns, and the big brakes provide confident stopping power. The adaptive suspension does a fair job of balancing agility and ride comfort as well. Make no mistake, the GT-R does tend to jitter and jolt on rough pavement, but with the suspension in its softest setting, larger bumps and dips are at least soaked up in reasonable comfort.

How Fast Is the Nissan GT-R?

The 2021 Nissan GT-R can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just three seconds, and it has a top speed of 205 mph. Those figures are roughly on par with the Acura NSX and Audi R8, as well as the less expensive Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

Does the Nissan GT-R Have All-Wheel Drive?

Yes, the Nissan GT-R comes standard with the brand’s ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system. This system sends engine power to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions, but it can divert up to 50% of that power to the front wheels when traction loss is detected.

Read more about performance »

GT-R Interior: Upscale, but Showing its Age

GT-R Cargo Space

The Nissan GT-R has 8.8 cubic feet of trunk space, which is decent for a luxury sports car. That’s enough room for a pair of golf club bags, a couple of carry-on suitcases, or a load of groceries. The small trunk opening makes it tough to fit larger items though.

How Many People Does the GT-R Seat?

The Nissan GT-R is a two-door coupe with four seats. The front seats provide great hip-hugging support while still remaining comfortable for longer road trips. There’s sufficient front headroom and legroom for taller occupants, and outward visibility is good to the front and sides of the car. The rear seats are far too small for adults to fit comfortably, and even younger kids may find rear legroom to be in short supply. That said, few other cars in this class even have rear seats. The high trunk lid and thick roof pillars translate to poor rear visibility.

Leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated and power-adjustable front seats are standard. Racing-inspired Recaro front seats are available.

GT-R and Child Car Seats

The Nissan GT-R has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear seats.

GT-R Interior Quality

The Nissan GT-R has a clean-cut and minimalist interior. Most surfaces are dark in appearance and wrapped in soft-touch plastic and synthetic leather upholstery. The look and feel is upscale but not quite luxurious, especially next to competitors like the BMW 8 Series and Porsche 911.

GT-R Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Nissan GT-R comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen. This display responds quickly to inputs, and its menu structure is simple. It’s complemented by a few buttons and knobs on the dashboard for the main audio and climate controls, so you don’t have to rely on the touch screen for every function. Better still, it supports Apple CarPlay, which allows users to integrate their iPhone interface. A variety of helpful track-oriented readouts can be displayed as well, like oil and coolant temperature, torque distribution, G-force, and turbocharger boost pressure.

The downside is that the graphics look somewhat dated, and the system doesn’t support Android Auto smartphone integration.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, and an 11-speaker Bose stereo
  • Additional standard features: keyless entry, push-button start, and dual-zone automatic climate control

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay?

Read more about interior »

GT-R Reliability

Is the Nissan GT-R Reliable?

The 2021 Nissan GT-R has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Nissan GT-R Warranty

Nissan covers the GT-R with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

GT-R Safety

GT-R Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 GT-R. This is fairly common for high-end luxury vehicles.

GT-R Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors

Available advanced safety features:

  • none

Read more about safety »

GT-R Dimensions and Weight

The Nissan GT-R is 15.5 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,867 to 3,935 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Nissan GT-R Built?

Nissan builds the 2021 GT-R in Japan.

When Did the Nissan GT-R First Come Out?

Nissan launched the first GT-R in 1969 as a high-performance version of its Skyline compact car. It featured a high-revving inline-six engine, a five-speed manual transmission, and a rear-wheel-drive layout. The Skyline GT-R racked up dozens of wins in Japanese touring car racing, but it sold in relatively small numbers and was eventually discontinued in 1972 because of the gas crisis. These models were never sold in the U.S. market.

The GT-R nameplate remained dormant until 1989, when it was again given to a variant of the Skyline. This new R32 Skyline GT-R featured a twin-turbocharged inline-six engine and all-wheel drive, and its dominance in racing earned the GT-R its famous "Godzilla" nickname. The subsequent R33 and R34 generations followed a similar formula.

The current-day GT-R is no longer related to the Skyline. It features a twin-turbo V6 engine and a rear-mounted transaxle, as well as all-wheel drive. Nissan debuted this R35 generation for the 2009 model year. It’s also the first GT-R generation to be sold in the United States.

Which Nissan GT-R Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Nissan GT-R comes in two trims: Premium and Nismo. Both trims offer similar tech and convenience features, as well as the same transmission and all-wheel-drive system. The main difference is that the GT-R Nismo is tuned to produce an extra 35 horsepower, though this extra performance comes with a steep jump in price. Most shoppers would be wise to save money and stick with the already powerful GT-R Premium.

Nissan GT-R Premium

The GT-R Premium trim starts at $113,540, and it comes equipped with a 565-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine, a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. Standard features include an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, HD Radio, satellite radio, 11 speakers, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.

Other standard features include proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, a Bilstein adaptive suspension, a limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

The only option is the $4,280 Premium Interior package, which adds leather upholstery to more interior surfaces.

Nissan GT-R Nismo

The GT-R Nismo has a $210,740 starting price. This trim features a 600-horsepower V6 engine in addition to stiffer springs, carbon ceramic brakes, and an Alcantara leather-wrapped steering wheel. The standard bumpers, side sills, trunk lid, and roof have also been replaced with lighter carbon-fiber components.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

See 2021 Nissan GT-R specs and trims »

The Final Call

The current-generation Nissan GT-R debuted more than a decade ago, and it upended the luxury sports car status quo with its lightning-fast acceleration, tenacious all-wheel-drive grip, and relatively affordable pricing. It was a force to be reckoned with, and – fast-forward to today – it still offers excellent performance, but years of price increases and minimal updates have soured the GT-R’s overall appeal. Before you buy, consider higher-rated and less expensive alternatives like the Toyota Supra, Porsche Cayman, and Chevrolet Corvette.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The legendary Nissan GT-R is a supercar with gut-punch acceleration, but its shine has started to fade—it's been around for more than 10 years with relatively few updates—and today more desirable supercars exist at the same price point. … Still, the GT-R is a performance powerhouse with built-in exclusivity, so if you dare to be different Nissan's halo sports car may be the right ride for you." -- Car and Driver
  • "While the GT-R is getting pretty old, it gets a pass due to the fact that when it launched back in 2008, it did so with cutting-edge technology that was years ahead of the competition. As a result, the GT-R can still keep up with most modern supercars thanks to its incredible performance characteristics, especially the grip offered by its AWD system. That said, it's starting to show its age and lacks the refinement of more modern competitors like the Porsche 911, the Audi R8 and the Acura NSX." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "The GT-R has improved over the years, but daily drivability compared to almost any other sports car is merely average." -- Edmunds (2019)
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