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2013 Nissan GT-R

Bengt Halvorson, Deputy Editor, Modified: December 31, 2012 at 11:09 am •  Published: January 5, 2013
The 2013 Nissan GT-R may get lost in translation if you're just peering inside, or watching it cruise slowly by; but climb into the driver's seat, albeit briefly, and it's a magical piece of metal. Even at five times the price, nothing rivals its straight-line performance. It's a car that makes plenty of sense at face value, with well over 500 horsepower, all-wheel drive, brilliand handling, and 0-60 times of less than three seconds.

Some supercars are beautiful wedges of air-cheating, rolling art. The 2013 Nissan GT-R isn't that. It might be just as aerodynamically stable at supercar speeds, but its jagged cues and flared fenders evoke tuner cars and audacious body kits. Once you calm to the look, it's something more; a tomahawk cut at the roofline brings an interesting, not gorgeous, shape, and carbon fiber trim gives the plain interior just a dab of intrigue--given more panache with the red-and-black Recaros in Black Series models.

The big news for 2013 is that Nissan has improved intake efficiency and worked some other breathing magic to not only improve exhaust emissions but summon up an extra 15 horsepower and 15 pound-feet from the thundering twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine--now making 545 hp and 463 lb-ft. Altogether the powertrain promises (and delivers) blistering performance, with awe-inspiring traction from a sophisticated all-wheel drive system and huge wheels and tires producing seemingly endless amounts of grip to make the most of it. All while handling is beautifully balanced, and a softer ride is available at the touch of a switch.

Practically speaking--and there is surprisingly some of it--the GT-R has great room for people in front, and a bit of room for small people in back, as well as a useful trunk. But don't expect too much in the way of touring-car comfort; there's plenty of noise from the road and the driveline.

With a price starting at nearly $100k, the 2013 GT-R definitely drives a hard bargain if many of its top supercar rivals cost several times as much. There are definitely cut-rate bits and pieces, but none of them are remotely involved with its NASA-grade performance. Features are as respectable as they can be without begging any mention of plush or luxurious (that it is not), but all the basics are included, as well as a great 3D nav system, Bose audio, and Bluetooth. A rearview camera, now standard, addresses the GT-R's blind spots.


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