Auto Review: 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary

THE 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary edition is truly a car of the people. It stops traffic. People want you to pull over so they can take a look. It’s genuinely everyone’s favourite car, or at least that seems to be the general consensus.

We’ve experienced enthusiasm and awe for some of the cars we’ve tested in the past, the McLaren 540C, the Tesla Model S P100D, and the NISMO 370Z for example – but never like this, never where people ring their friends to come look (we kid you not).

It’s unreal, and it’s hard to know whether it’s one thing, like the Bayside Blue paint job (an original heritage colour no less), or the thumping 419kW twin turbo V6 power plant under the hood, or a combination of all its good bits, that make it so popular.

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Despite the fact the R35 design is essentially 12 years old, owning a GT-R is a truly unique experience because each one is personally hand assembled by one expert technician known as a Takumi.

Only five master craftsmen in the whole world have this unique classification, and each GT-R engine bears a plaque carrying its specific technician’s name. That technician even shakes down your car for you. In an odd way, you feel like they’re your best friend.

It’s why it’s a car with legend status and 632Nm of torque, a hand-made titanium blue exhaust system that’s a work of art, both aurally and visually, and an all-wheel drive system that makes it stick to the road like glue and corner like it’s on rails.

The steering and handling package is insanely good, and it’s hard to describe the driving experience in the newly refined R mode (one of the three drive modes available) as anything other than breathtaking. It will drink some juice while you play though.

Nissan claims 11.7-litres/100km. If you drive in economy mode, and are conscious of how much premium fuel goes in and out of the 74-litre tank, you can achieve that, or better. We managed a 10.9. Go nuts though, and you’ll be friends with the numbers 13 and 14.

But for your $209,000 investment (plus on-roads of course), you’ll score double-wishbone front suspension with aluminium arms, multi-link rear suspension with aluminium upper arms, and rigid front and rear suspension sub-frames.

These are assembled in high-precision jigs similar to a racecar, with 6-point mounting, and there’s also a Bilstein DampTronic suspension system.  Hollow front and rear stabiliser bars, and speed sensitive power steering complete the package.

The GT-R also comes with a customised 4-wheel disc braking system from Brembo, with front (390mm) and rear (380mm) two-piece floating rotors with diamond-pattern internal ventilation. There’s a 6-speed dual-clutch auto transmission with downshift rev matching.

It’s enough to give a true car enthusiast the need for a quiet moment alone, but that’s not all the performance Nissan benefits from. To save on weight, there’s aluminium and carbon composite bits everywhere.

It rides on factory nitrogen filled Dunlop SP SPORT MAXX GT600 DSST CTT high performance run-flat tyres (255 at the front and 285 at the rear), and sports special edition dark wheels that match the colour tones of the car.

The downside to all that performance, and the automotive love that goes with it though, is it also attracts the attention of the local constabulary, who more than once followed us around the NSW Central Coast, making sure we behaved ourselves.

It’s also clunky in reverse, and feels at times like you’re backing up a tank, and it’s pretty rubbish at really low speeds in a forwards direction too, but really, do you really care what it’s like at 15km/h.

But the engineering is only part of the story when it comes to the 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary edition, because there’s lots of commemorative touches as well, including an exclusive twilight grey leather accented seat trim.

It’s a unique looking interior that could well date very quickly, but it’s also a very nice touch to mark the half century. There’s also a 50th logo on the tacho and centre console plaque, and it’s engraved in the alloy wheels.

You’ll also find it on decals on the hood, roof and boot lid, and just in case you might forget, it’s even embroidered into the front seats. Some might see that as a little over the top, especially the big white decal across the boot lid.

To be fair, it’s all part of the ‘out there’ look and feel that is quintessentially Godzilla – aka the Nissan GT-R, and in this case, the boffins have done a little extra by adding new turbochargers, an improved road and track focus and those ‘nice’ interior touches.

There’s heated front seats, aluminium finish pedals, lots of carbon fibre bits, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, SatNav, voice recognition, a rear view camera and front and rear parking sensors, and an intelligent key with push button start.

The 11-speaker premium Bose sound system with dual sub-woofers is wickedly good, and loud enough to annoy the neighbours, and there’s Bluetooth phone connectivity. It is a Nissan though, so Apple CarPlay and Android Auto haven’t made it to the GT-R.

There’s no DAB+ digital radio either but there is support for normal AM/FM radio, and it has a CD-player, if you remember what those are, and two USB ports.

Safety specs include advanced dynamic vehicle control, traction control, hill start assist, ABS, EBD, lots of airbags, child restraint anchorage (tether and ISOFIX) on the rear seats, an anti-theft immobiliser and tyre pressure monitoring.

In your mind you’ve just gone; wait there are rear seats, and yes there are, but they’re really only designed for little people. There’s a 249-litre boot as well, and you can tilt the seats to grow that to 315-litres.

The 50th Anniversary edition of the 2020 Nissan GT-R is also available in Super Silver, another heritage colour, and is based on the Premium Luxury variant. Only the Bayside Blue variant comes with colour matched 20-inch wheels.

Our test vehicle was provided by Nissan Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary edition, contact your local Nissan dealer. Pictures courtesy of Cameron Cooke Photography.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - incredible performance; legendary persona; ride and handling; has a rarity factor.
Cons - ageing design; draws a lot of eyes; clunky gearbox at low revs; rivals offer more modern options.
Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> incredible performance; legendary persona; ride and handling; has a rarity factor.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> ageing design; draws a lot of eyes; clunky gearbox at low revs; rivals offer more modern options.Auto Review: 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary