The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 20 of 66 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,709 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I did for you Ace10, I did it for you.... :wave:

http://www.latimes.com/classified/automotive/highway1/la-hy-neil16apr16,0,1179971.story

Rumble Seat: 2009 Nissan GT-R
A marvel of power and speed, the all-wheel-drive GT-R coupe is so safe and serene that it's curiously lacking in thrills.
By Dan Neil
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 16, 2008

I know what you want from me. You think I'm just your little word slut, that I'm here just to arouse you with steamy descriptions of the new and instantly legendary Nissan GT-R. You want me to parade around in frilly verbiage, like: "The acceleration of the twin-turbo, all-wheel-drive, 480-hp GT-R is much like a 50-yard field goal in the NFL, wherein your butt is the football." Sigh. I feel so used.

But I'm not going to do that, see? I'm not going to say that Nissan's appallingly fast, superbly balanced GT-R sports car is a Ferrari killer, though it easily manhandles Maranello's F430 in 0-60 mph performance, quarter-mile time and lateral grip, and for a fraction of the price (an MSRP of around $70,000, though dealers can charge what they want, and will). I refuse to be drawn into comparisons between the Porsche GT2 -- a $200,000 street racer with suspension settings by Torquemada -- and this serene, effortlessly livable, all-weather coupe that, inconveniently for the top-line Porsche, matches it step for step. It matters a little, but not a lot, that the GT-R is within a second or two (7.38 seconds) of the production-car lap record at Germany's fabled Nürburgring. After all, most Americans think the Nürburgring is a lobster dish.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOR THE RECORD:
Car review: A story on the Nissan GT-R in the April 16 edition of Highway 1incorrectly stated the vehicle's lap time at Germany's Nürburgring track as 7.38 seconds. The correct time is 7 minutes, 38 seconds. The review also referred to Yamamoto, a Japanese battleship. The correct spelling is Yamato. Some editions incorrectly referred to Reys Enginnering. The company's name is Rays Engineering.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Why? Because, for all its pants-ripping performance, the GT-R is surprisingly -- amazingly -- not all that exciting to drive. Oh yeah, there's epic velocity here, and yet, because there is so much assurance, so many layers of electronic self-preservation, there isn't much frisson or fear. Without fear, there is no fun, which anyone who's had sex in a public place can tell you.

Nissan doesn't even blush. Here's a direct quote from the product briefing: "GT-R offers supercar performance to a broad range of customers for the first time without intimidation."

Despite the GT-R's official nickname, "Godzilla," it's more like 2 tons of fluffy kitten.

Right about now legions of fanboys are throwing down their Sony PlayStation controllers to fire off strongly worded, if badly spelled, e-mails of outrage and dissent. The GT-R's cult status comes courtesy of the video game Gran Turismo, which introduced American audiences to Japan's only true super car. (Previously known as the Skyline GT-R, several generations of the car have appeared over the past 20 years.) In that it started life as an ordinary coupe and was then invested with such insane amounts of raciness (some Skylines had as much as 600 factory horsepower under the hood), the Skyline GT-R had that certain something, that deep perversion of purpose, that Asian import tuners dearly love. It was so wrong it was right.

The new model -- which in the past few years has been repeatedly sighted in prototype testing around the Nürburgring like some 193-mph Brigadoon -- now has its own distinct sheet metal, so the Skyline part of the name has been dropped. It is the first GT-R model to come to the United States. What's fascinating about the GT-R project is just how much Japanese national pride it has come to represent. Nissan's chief creative officer and GT-R guru Shiro Nakamura insisted that the design reflect Japanese culture and avoid aping the razor-cut European exoticism of Ferrari and Lamborghini. And so the GT-R's bluff, blocky masses and angular lines, inspired by the robots -- oh, excuse me -- mecha mobile suits in the "Gundam" anime series. Words cannot describe how awesome this is, if you are 11.

About as pretty as a meat mallet, the GT-R sure does look menacing in person. Its most distinctive features are the dramatic "aero-blade" air extractors aft of the front wheel wells and the fierce glowering headlamps drawn back in a scowl like a Kabuki mask (or Cindy McCain). The underbody is fared in to reduce lift -- the car has significant aero downforce at speed. And coefficient of drag is only .27.

Another surprise: This is a big car, 183.3 inches long (almost 10 inches longer than a Corvette). And it's heavy: 3,836 pounds.

And why not? This is a lot of automobile. Beginning with the engine: a hand-built and blueprinted 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 putting out 480 hp at 6,400 rpm and 430 pound-feet of torque between 3,200 and 5,200 rpm. At a minimum. Motor Trend's resident skeptic Frank Markus, puzzled that the GT-R was outperforming lighter and more powerful cars like the Porsche 911 Turbo, recently put a GT-R on a borrowed dynamometer. He concluded the engine is producing at least 507 hp and likely a lot more. I don't have access to a dyno, but given the gear ratios and quarter-mile trap speed (the poor man's dyno) of 120.0 mph, I estimate the engine is putting out more like 530 hp.

The big crank is connected to a six-speed, dual-clutch gearbox in a rear transaxle/all-wheel-drive transfer case. Typically, 100% of engine torque is directed at the rear wheels. If the AWD system's cybernetics detect wheel slip, big yaw moments or other kinds of slipping and sliding, it will step in, rerouting up to 50% of engine torque to the front wheels while coordinating with the angels of the stability control system. You can turn off stability control, but it's plain the car's dynamics have been developed with the system ciphering away in the background. Which is to say, the car's faster around a racetrack with stability control on.

The powertrain ends with four gorgeous 20-inch Rays Engineering wheels, with bead knurling on the wheel lip (to prevent the tires from twisting on the rim), wrapped in spec-built, nitrogen-filled Bridgestones.

It all gets pretty nerdy from here, so let me button it up a bit. Computer-controlled adaptive suspension. Race-threshold settings for transmission, traction and stability control. And a launch-control system that allows the mother of all torque-brake takeoffs: There's a brief moan as the highly excited gear packs sluice torque fore and aft, but there's no drama, no wheel spin, no choking incense of clutch. The GT-R simply begins moving like some pneumatically powered experiment in a physics lab. Your guts and wits catch up a beat or two later. On the day I drove the car at Fernley Raceway, near Reno, testers were getting 0-60 mph launches in the 3.1-second range. That's as quick as any car I've ever driven.

By the way, the car is built like the freakin' Yamamoto. I mean, it's solid.

So, what's the problem? It's not really a problem, just a matter of character. This car has been engineered to produce astonishing performance numbers, specifically around the Nürburgring, when driven by the finest drivers in the world. Driven by something less than the finest drivers in the world -- and that would include me -- the margins of safety and control are so broad that it actually makes the car uninvolving. Say what you want about the Porsche GT2: when you drive that car hard, you're in the fight for your existential soul. You are hanging on for a life made ever more dear by the peril.

Around the track in the GT-R, at first I thought, "Oh, wow, I'm driving my butt off. I'm a genius behind the wheel." Soon, though, I realized the car was doing most of the work, saving me from mistakes. The GT-R is the ultimate self-correcting mechanism. No matter how wrong you get your line or how bad you fumble your braking, simply turn the wheel where you want to go and mat the throttle. In an instant, the computers and AWD riddle out a solution and off you go. That doesn't happen in a Ferrari.

And so, the paradox of the Japanese super car that does everything better but is still somehow less fun. As for the engineering, you cannot question that some of the smartest car guys in the world nailed the GT-R together. But when it comes to the thrill of driving, they still have something to learn.

2009 Nissan GT-R
Base price: $69,850

Price, as tested: $71,900

Powertrain: Twin turbocharged 3.8-liter, DOHC 24-valve V6 with variable intake valve timing and direct ignition; six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission; all-wheel drive.

Horsepower: 480 at 6,400 rpm

Torque: 430 pound-feet at 3,200 to 5,200 rpm

Curb weight: 3,836 pounds

Wheelbase: 109.5 inches

Overall length: 183.3 inches

EPA fuel economy: N/A

Final thoughts: Godzilla on Prozac
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
591 Posts
What a great write up!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,451 Posts
Good find!!!! :) any idea on when Top Gear (TV) is going to have a go at the Renissan GT-R?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,379 Posts
Very nice write up.

While I've never driven a GT-R, I felt the exact same way about the 350Z I had. With the relatively small modifications I had (no extra power, just brakes and suspension), the car was absolutely perfect around a road course -- and boring. It was too easy to drive fast. Even with all the eectronics off. Short of trying to make a 90 deg turn at 140 mph, it was damn near impossible to get into trouble in the thing. And I tried. Everything was a non-event.

Must be a Nissan thing. :shrug:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,080 Posts
Pretty clever. Why write another article praising the GT-R when that has been thoroughly done by everyone and his brother? This little press whore opts to slam the car instead which will no doubt get his write up a lot more attention. If the car was the latest greatest BMW instead of a Nissan, he would be bearing his man boobs and dancing on his tippy toes. :rolleyes:


P.S., Dan. You can turn advanced vehicle dynamic control completely off! :thwack:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,451 Posts
C'mon Top Gear (TV). :) That's what I'm interested in seeing and hearing. If not just for all the potentially funny sh*t Jeremy could say about the Renissan GT-R.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
Nice write up. I think this is the first time I've ever read a Dan Neil article. Or maybe the first time I've ever noticed an article written by him.
Very Jeremy Clarcksonesque. I guess he really wants to get the job as host of American Top Gear. ;-)

Regarding the GT-R, I think a lot of the critics who are sighting it's un-involving or too much techno wizardry etc... Should just accept the fact this is what the Japanese do. They make perfectly engineered cars with all the gadgets they can cram in. Auto journalists and the public should just accept that. If you want a more involving car get a 911 GT3 or a Ferrari F355, F360 or F430.
And no, I'm not a GT-R fanboy, I'd much rather have a light car with less HP (i.e. Elise) .vs. a car with gobs of HP and weighs almost 4000 lbs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
426 Posts
This is so typical Dan Neil. He's perhaps one of the most negative people I've ever met. And I think he's flat wrong. Sure I'm biased but the car is definitely involving and not fool proof by any means. At the GT-R press event in Reno 3 different writers slid the car into the dirt. Physics still apply.

I was skeptical about the car being uninvolving too, but once I drove it hard I found it to be great fun. Really fast and great fun. I've driven it on twisty roads in the rain and dry race tracks and it can be very involving. If you don't pay attention you can get in trouble very fast. However it's also very comfortable for cruising when you don't want to go fast. I drove 300 miles in the rain on the interstate with heavy traffic and the car was comfortable, quiet and had a good audio system. It was the best of both worlds. In fact, my battered Elise didn't look the same once I got back from my time with the GT-R. The Elise seemed like that really good looking girl from school and the GT-R like a super model.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,985 Posts
Nice write up. I think this is the first time I've ever read a Dan Neil article.
You need to look for more of his stuff. It's pretty much all this good. He's the only automotive writer ever to win a Pulitzer Prize.


When a writer doesn’t please an advertiser, “justice” can be swift and harsh. Dan Neil, a former writer for the Raleigh News & Observer was shown the trap door aweek after he “described sexual congress with his fiancée in the back of Ford’slargest sport utility on New Year’s Eve” (62). Careful readers of what became known as the “F*** in a Truck” story found out that he liked the Expedition pretty well, too (62). Positive review or not,
readers were offended (though given Neil’s previous writings, they shouldn’t
have been surprised), but more importantly, so were local dealers who were
advertising the hot-selling Expedition. Pull him, they told the N&O’s
advertising guys, or we’ll pull out. Dan got the boot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
807 Posts
Dan parades that pulitzer like Mr. T does his chains.

having worked on the automotive PR side, i think dan's an insecure and showboating tool that writes for the sake of "controversy". perhaps that's what it takes to win awards in that industry.

i was at a conference where he gave a speech which opened with a completely inappropriate sexual joke; the entire hall was dead silent and awkward after the punchline. he was trying to be edgy and Howard Stern, but he ended up "nappy" and imus. it's no wonder NBC dumped him from Flop Gear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,405 Posts
"the GT-R is surprisingly -- amazingly -- not all that exciting to drive. Oh yeah, there's epic velocity here, and yet, because there is so much assurance, so many layers of electronic self-preservation, there isn't much frisson or fear. Without fear, there is no fun..."

So the perfect driving experience for Dan would be...a turbo'd geo metro with bad brakes? I know, he's complaining about all of its cutting edge engineering dampening the thrill of driving. I'm sure the sensation of speed is still there (unless Nissan truly has repealed the laws of physics) and if he wants some more sensations, roll the windows down at 150mph. As far as dampening things, if 3 reviewers tossed the it off the track in Reno, it sounds like the GT-R can still ocassionally dampen the most important thing-their shorts.

One thing's for sure, though: cars with fewer aids are more involving. There's a greater sense of accomplishment after a mountain drive in my old Fiat Spider than anything else I've driven. You get that "I survived once again!" moment at the end of your journey that's quite nice, all at much lower speeds. But that frisson ain't for everybody.

Tom
 
1 - 20 of 66 Posts
Top