Quick Drive: 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO

HOW do we put this without offending people. Hmm. Bugger it, we have to say it. The 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO is possibly the greatest production GT-R of all time. That’s a huge call we know, but we reckon it’s on the money.

Taken to a secret location to test the latest version of the true Godzilla, the NISMO GT-R, we were granted close to 20 heart thumping laps to put the beast through its paces, and not once were we not grinning from ear-to-ear.

That was a surprise for us. You see, we expected the Japanese super car to offer a rough ride, like most super cars, but it didn’t. What it gave us thanks to its luxurious interior, was cushioned comfort, that even at its angriest, made you feel at one with the car.

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We’ve driven the 50th Anniversay GT-R, and it’s a genuine performance road car. We expected the NISMO version to be simply that car, dialed up to 11, but it’s more than that. It’s a unique, wickedly quick creature with a personality all of its own.

At speed, in a controlled environment, the suspension is outstanding, cornering is insanely good, throttle response, magnificent. It was even difficult to find any lag in the turbos, one of the new additions for 2020.

Featuring the same turbochargers as Nissan’s GT3 race car, the 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO is powered by a 441kW twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6, delivering a whopping 652Nm of torque through an exceptional all-wheel drive system.

Mated to a 6-speed dual clutch sequential gearbox, the NISMO GT-R features magnesium paddle shifters and a carbon composite driveshaft. Manual and auto modes, downshift rev matching, a 1.5-way mechanical limited slip diff, and traction control are all standard.

But it’s what else that’s changed for 2020 that makes the new look NISMO GT-R such a special machine. New back-plates on the turbos, designed to improve flow efficiency, ensure power is delivered sharply and precisely.

There’s an updated transmission, with improvements made to R mode, and a new adaptive shift control algorithm. The suspension has been tuned to within an inch of its life, for improved lateral G stability and smoother ride.

New 9-spoke RAYS 20-inch forged alloy wheels are wrapped in newly designed Dunlop tyres, that feature a new rubber compound, boosting grip by 7 per cent and increasing the contact patch by 11 per cent.

It’s a combination that makes the NISMO GT-R exceptional to drive, and provides for an incredible on-road feel. The Bilstein DampTronic shocks have had a makeover too, for softer rebound and improved road holding.

Carbon fibre features on the front fenders, bonnet and roof, helping reduce weight by 10.5kg and venting hot air away from the engine bay. Increased down force onto the front tyres improves aerodynamics without increasing drag.

And then there are the brakes, that simply don’t fade. The largest carbon ceramic rotors ever fitted to a Japanese performance car (410mm front and 390mm rear). Six piston front and four piston rear calipers ensure this thing stops on a dime.

Specially formulated brake pads generate higher friction levels too, and the pads are firmer than previous models. It was nice to know that if you went in hard under brakes, even at speed, it was going to stop, and stop exceptionally well.

It can be a little skittish when you’re loading it up hard in a low speed corner, but it’s minimal and it’s kind of nice to know you can still step it out a little. Let’s face it, after a nanosecond of panic, it makes you smile.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO comes with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but to be honest, we didn’t look at it. We were too busy trying to push the twin turbo to its limits and let Godzilla flex it’s muscles.

For the record, it apparently has 3D mapping, a rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming. There’s no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay either.

We also didn’t listen to the 11-speaker Bose sound system that includes two sub woofers. Nor did we pay much attention to the fact it has back seats too, or that they’re essentially child suitable only.

What we did enjoy though are the NISMO Recaro black leather accented front seats with red synthetic suede inserts which cushion your ride, hugging you in even the most extreme corners.

If there is a major downside, it’s the price, and it will floor some potential buyers. You see, you’ll need to part with around $378,000 plus on-roads to own one. Just quietly, if we had that kind of coin, this would be in our garage, without hesitation.

Available in four colours; Vibrant Red, Jet Black, Super Silver and Ivory Pearl, there are literally no add-ons for the 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO, all the goodness is standard. It comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 5-years roadside assistance.

Our test vehicle was provided as part of a drive day at an undisclosed location, east of nowhere in NSW. To find out more about the 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO, contact your local Nissan dealer.

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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