Nissan GT-R 2020 review

Find out more about the Nissan GT-R in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£65,999
Average price
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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Sublime performance
  • More practical than you might expect
  • Tremendous cornering ability

Cons

  • Interior can’t live up to the price
  • Poor ride quality
  • Lacks premium badge
  • MPG

    20 - 20

  • CO2

    311 - 319 g/km

Model review

Nissan has a long-running history of producing tremendous sports cars, and as well as the famous ‘Z’ line-up of more affordable sports cars, there has also been the hugely popular GT-R.

And while Nissan might major more on its crossovers these days, it certainly hasn’t forgotten about its performance car streak. 

The most recent GT-R came along in 2007, though it had been teased for years with various concept cars before the first UK cars actually arrived in the UK in 2009. Dropping the ‘Skyline’ name that Nissan was known for, this new car was bordering on supercar territory, rather than sports cars like its predecessors. 

It’s a model that has seen a whole host of special editions over the years, as well as the monstrous Nismo model, which acts as the pinnacle of the GT-R range. 

Latest model

Thirteen years on and Nissan is continuing to make its GT-R, and while still on the same generation, there’s been a whole host of revisions, changes and editions in that time. The most major of them came along in 2016, when the Japanese manufacturer ushered in a fresher look, a higher-quality interior and various performance tweaks.

More recently, Nissan introduced a special edition model in 2019 to mark the GT-R’s 50th anniversary – these rare models coming painted in the iconic Bayside Blue, along with a range of blue accents throughout. The eye-catching blue shade was applied to the new 20-inch alloy wheels as well. 

That colour is also now available on the standard GT-R, while other revisions for the 2020 model year included a revised suspension setup, a tweaked exhaust system and grey leather interior option. 

Value for money

There are two ways of looking at the GT-R. If you just see it as a sporty Nissan, it most certainly looks quite pricey, but compare it to other cars with this level of performance, and it looks decent value for money. 

Prices today start from £83,995, which is certainly not cheap and is a far cry from the £53,000 starting price that the GT-R cost when it debuted in 2009. That said, you get plenty of standard kit for the outlay, while if you’d want your similar performance from a sports car, you’d need to look for something like the Porsche 911 Turbo, which would set you back a substantially steeper £135,000. 

If you take a glance at a used GT-R today, prices start from as little as £30,000, which gets you a lot of car for your money. Meanwhile facelifted 2017 examples start from around £60,000. However, the best way to save on a GT-R is by looking for a nearly-new model, which still has the benefit of the manufacturer’s warranty. We found a six-month-old Recaro version for £75,000 – a sizeable £12,000 off the list price. 

Looks and image

Next to traditional sports and supercars – such as those from Porsche and Aston Martin – the GT-R certainly lacks the style. It’s slab-sided and quite old-fashioned-looking, but that’s actually part of the appeal here, with the GT-R appealing to a very different customer compared with a more premium brand. And it’s far from being ugly, with looks closer resembling those to more ‘regular’ Nissans, though bold colours like Katsura Orange and Bayside Blue add to the appeal. 

But the appeal diminishes somewhat on the interior. For a nearly £100,000 car, the cabin is just disappointing and is littered with cheap plastics and switches that look like they’re straight out of the firm’s cheapest cars – in fact even the £20,000 Juke crossover arguably has a nicer interior. The one plus is the seats, which are excellent across the range, but more so on Recaro or Prestige models.

But importantly, what’s it like behind the wheel? Well, it’s the performance that will leave you astonished, as the way the GT-R can get from point A to point B is remarkable. Helped by a series of features to keep you on the tarmac, the grip levels on this Nissan are breath-taking, especially when you consider that it’s quite a heavy brute. It’s quite a different experience to a standard supercar, and it’s not as involving as rivals, but neither of these can diminish its abilities. 

Space and practicality

Practicality likely isn’t at the top of priorities if you’re in the market for a supercar, but it’s pleasing to learn that the GT-R is roomier than most. Its 315-litre boot offers a similar amount of space to a typical supermini – allowing room for a couple of suitcases or a golf bag. 

Though while the GT-R might be a four-seater, space in the rear is quite limited, and is really best for children, as adults will likely feel rather uncomfortable. 

Engines

The same 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 that the GT-R had when it debuted in 2007 remains today, though now it produces 572bhp and 570Nm of torque – 100bhp more than when it first arrived. Power is delivered to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox. 

In terms of performance, it can sprint to 60mph in less than three seconds and reach the dizzying heights of 196mph when maxed out. 

If you opt for the Nismo, power increases to 592bhp and torque to 652Nm, though performance figures remain similar. 

Running costs

If you’re looking at keeping running costs down, the GT-R is not the car for you. Nissan claims it’ll return just 20mpg, while CO2 emissions of 316g/km are rather high. It also sits in the highest insurance group (50), while you’ll be stung with a £2,135 bill in the first year for road tax, though this is absorbed into the list price of the car on new models. 

Things to look out for

While Nissan might have a better reliability reputation than plenty of premium brands, it’s important to remember that the GT-R is a seriously complicated bit of kit and has an engine that could be troublesome. On a car of this magnitude, we’d always recommend having a car warranty on it, whether that be Nissan’s when new, or an aftermarket one as it gets older. It’s also worth having a mechanical inspection carried out before buying. 

Rivals

The GT-R sits in a strange bubble, whereby it offers similar performance to much more expensive supercars. In terms of more conventional supercars, take a look at a Lamborghini Huracan, Ferrari 488 or Porsche 911 Turbo, though all of these are vastly more expensive. Rivals closer in terms of price include the Jaguar F-Type, Lexus LC500 and Mercedes AMG-GT

Depreciation

The GT-R is an expensive car, and while suffering from steep initial depreciation, it does hold its value quite well – helped by a strong following on the used market.  

Which GT-R to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

3.8 Pure 2dr Auto

Most MPG

3.8 Pure 2dr Auto

Fastest model (0-60)

3.8 Pure 2dr Auto

Trims explained

Five trim levels are available on the GT-R, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.

Pure

Standard equipment on the GT-R includes 20-inch Rays alloy wheels, LED headlights, electric folding door mirrors and electric and heated front seats. It also comes with front and rear parking sensors, keyless start and entry, cruise control and climate control. Black leather and Alcantara seats are also fitted.

From £83,995

Recaro

Upgrading to the Recaro brings you red and black sports seats from the famous manufacturer.

From £86,995

Prestige

Prestige versions come with a full leather interior, with a choice of black, red, tan or grey colours available.

From £87,995

Track Edition

As their name suggests, these are designed for the track. Building on the Recaro, these gain lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels, Nismo-tuned Bilstein dampers, race-tuned suspension and a stiffened body.

From £99,995

Nismo

Acting as the flagship, the Nismo costs almost double that of the standard GT-R, but is designed to be the most extreme model going. It gains extra performance, along with an exterior made up from a host of carbon parts – including for the bonnet, bumpers, boot lid and rear spoiler. It also comes with an Alcantara dashboard and carbon-fibre Recaro bucket seats.

From £174,995

Summary

  1. Brutal performance
  2. Astonishing levels of grip
  3. Decent value when you consider its pace
  4. Well-equipped
  5. Cheap-feeling interior
  6. Decent-sized boot
  7. Four seats…
  8. Though the rear is cramped
  9. Starting to feel its age
  10. Lacks badge appeal

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