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2012 Nissan GT-R Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Nissan GT-R was new.


Performance: 9.1

Masterful engineering makes the 2012 Nissan GT-R capable of blasting to mind-numbing speeds while handling twists and turns with ease. Most critics agree that it’s easy to drive the GT-R quickly, however its nimble cornering ability and blistering acceleration does mean that it’s not as comfort-oriented as sports cars like the Mercedes-Benz SL.

  • "The 2012 GT-R is better behaved than its predecessor in city traffic, but this Nissan is still not as docile as some other all-out performance machines." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "All four wheels work in concert to maintain a tenacious grip on the asphalt, and the car accelerates past the national speed limit with startling immediacy. Braking is likewise as urgent and powerful." -- Edmunds 
  • "A paragon of usable power, the GT-R's hand-built, 530-horsepower V6 delivers smooth, quick and predictable responses that make this ultra-quick Nissan easy to live with in town but an absolute rocket when called upon to give max performance." -- Kelley Blue Book 

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Nissan GT-R is more powerful than the 2011 model, and test drivers are blown away by its acceleration. The GT-R is equipped with a 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine that makes 530 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 448 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 to 6,000 rpm. A dual-clutch six-speed transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters is standard. Some reviewers comment that they wish the GT-R was available with a manual gearbox, noting that the automated manual transmission shifts awkwardly in city driving.

The EPA reports that the all-wheel drive 2012 GT-R gets 16/23 mpg city/highway fuel economy.

  • "The addition of 45 horsepower from the 2011 model doesn't seem to make much difference in terms of acceleration. This is still one of the fastest cars you can buy." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "We wish a traditional manual transmission had been made optional -- not just to satisfy the purists but also to avoid the awkward low-speed performance of the dual-clutch transmission." -- Edmunds 
  • "The GT-R launches so powerfully that your mind cannot fathom the speed - or likely even register it - before you hit 60." -- Cars.com 

Handling and Braking

Most test drivers are impressed by the all-wheel drive Nissan GT-R's purposeful handling dynamics. However, some comment that its stiff ride means that the GT-R isn’t the most comfortable over pock-marked pavement. And while it’s certainly athletic, one test driver notes that the GT-R is heavier and feels less nimble than competitors like the Porsche 911.

  • "GT-R corners with virtually zero body lean especially at speeds suitable for public roads." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "However, the GT-R's curb weight of 3,800 pounds keeps it from feeling as nimble as a Porsche 911." -- Edmunds 
  • "Requiring only the slightest inputs, the 2012 Nissan GT-R's steering is precise and direct, and the big Brembo brakes perform faithfully even after repeated hard stops." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "During the first few days of my test drive, I thought the ride quality would sour me on the rest of the experience. I generally prefer a good mix of performance and comfort, as you'll never wring out the abilities of a car like the GT-R on anything but a track. By day six, though, I had nearly talked myself into buying a GT-R despite the abusive ride." -- Cars.com

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