2016 Nissan GT-R

Starting MSRP: $101,770 - $149,990

Estimated MPG: 16 city / 22 hwy

2016 Nissan GT-R Review

While the Nissan GT-R is no longer a newcomer to the segment, it remains one of the most exciting sports cars in its price range. Impressive all-wheel drive grip and a powerful twin-turbo V6 give the 2016 GT-R a thrilling driving experience that’s unique within the class.

By Jim Sharifi
Last Updated 05/03/2016

The 2016 Nissan GT-R is available in Premium, Black Edition and Nismo trims. A twin-turbocharged V6 engine is standard, which is paired with a six-speed automated manual transmission and all-wheel drive. Updates for 2016 include a new 20-spoke wheel design and a 45th anniversary Gold Edition package that includes unique paint and a commemorative plaque on the center console. Only 30 Gold Edition models will be produced.

Exterior

Exterior
10

There’s little chance of mistaking the 2016 Nissan GT-R for anything else on the road. Yet at the same time, it’s a little more understated than sports cars like the Chevrolet Corvette and Audi R8. The GT-R features a muscular profile and a menacing front fascia with a large grille. There’s also the distinctive rear end that features a quartet of round taillights and quad exhaust tips.

The GT-R’s body is constructed with a mix of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber in order to improve structural rigidity and minimize weight. 

Summer tires and 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are standard, while the Black Edition and GT-R Nismo get unique, lightweight 20-inch wheels.

Interior

Interior
8

Like many high-end sports cars, the 2016 GT-R offers a driver-focused cabin with a center stack that’s canted slightly toward the driver. There are some hard plastics in certain areas, and competitors like the R8 and Jaguar F-Type feature interior materials that are a step up in terms of quality. That’s not necessarily a huge knock against the GT-R, since it offers an exceptionally functional control layout and a fair number of padded surfaces with attractive contrast stitching. The cabin also features heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and an active noise cancellation system that works with the Bose audio system. The Black Edition brings in Recaro seats with leather upholstery and a unique red and black color scheme.

Four-seat sports cars typically offer very little back-seat passenger space, and the GT-R is no different. There might be enough room for small children in a pinch, but a lack of legroom means that the rear seat is best used for storage. Trunk space, at 8.8 cubic feet, isn’t particularly outstanding, but the area is usefully shaped and has no issue accommodating a couple pieces of luggage.

The GT-R’s front seats are exceptional, power-adjustable sport seats that are wrapped in leather and faux-suede upholstery. Dialing in a comfortable driving position is easy, and the seats are firm, with just the right amount of bolstering to hold you in place through turns. A number of less expensive sports cars get this wrong with aggressive side bolstering that becomes uncomfortable on longer drives.

Performance

Performance
10

The 2016 GT-R comes with a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 545 horsepower and 463 pound-feet of torque. GT-R Nismo models offer more power, with the twin-turbo V6 generating 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque in this top trim. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. The EPA reports that the 2016 GT-R gets 16/22 mpg city/highway.

The GT-R makes its intentions known as soon as you press the start button on the center console.

It can seem a little unrefined in low-speed maneuvers, as the automated manual transmission can hesitate a little bit in situations like stop-and-go traffic. However, once under way the GT-R responds willing in just about any condition.

The ride can be a little stiff and noisy at times, but the GT-R cruises comfortably, with smart throttle tuning that makes it easy to drive in suburban traffic. It’s also a car that inspires a tremendous amount of confidence if you want to realize its full capabilities. The twin-turbo V6 provides thrust that’s not matched by many production cars, and the dual-clutch transmission shifts quickly and willingly under hard acceleration.

Toggles on the center stack also allow you to customize the driving experience to a degree, with switches for the adjustable suspension system, transmission behavior and stability control.

The steering is exceptionally quick and provides excellent feedback. At the same time, the GT-R’s all-wheel drive system provides an infinite amount of grip, and works with the suspension system keeps the car controlled and flat through the even the tightest turns. While some rear-wheel drive sports cars can get an inexperienced driver into trouble, the GT-R will not overwhelm a novice.

Technology

Technology
8

While it may not have all of the latest bells and whistles, the 2016 GT-R comes with a comprehensive list of standard tech features. Keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, navigation and an 11-speaker Bose audio system are among the GT-R’s standard tech features.

Navigation, phone and audio settings are accessed through a 7-inch color touch screen, which functions similarly to the infotainment systems found elsewhere in the Nissan product line. 

Pairing a smartphone through Bluetooth is a trouble-free process, and the navigation system features a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to enter destinations or search for a point of interest. The biggest downside to the system is that it lacks the level of smartphone app integration that’s become increasingly common on newer vehicles.

The touch screen also functions as a multi-function display, with dedicated screens that provide vehicle information such as the level of turbo boost, steering position and transmission oil temperature, as well as water and oil pressure.

Safety

Safety
7

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash tested the 2016 Nissan GT-R. However, the like of crash test data isn’t unusual for the class.

The GT-R comes with anti-lock brakes, a suite of air bags, electronic stability control and a rearview camera. Driver assistance features such as forward collision warning and lane departure warning are not offered.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
8

The 2016 GT-R Premium starts at $101,770, while GT-R Black Edition and GT-R Nismo models have a base MSRP of $111,510 and $149,990, respectively. Available options are few, including special paint colors, a Premium Interior package, a Cold Weather package and a titanium exhaust system. The only option on our test GT-R Premium was floor mats ($295), bringing the grand total to $103,660 after a $1,595 destination charge.

That price lines up closely with the starting price of a Jaguar F-Type R, and undercuts the base MSRP of competitors like the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and the outgoing 2015 Audi R8.

However, there are some less expensive cars in the segment, including the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and Dodge Viper.

Overall

Overall
9

First introduced for the 2009 model year, the Nissan GT-R is still a compelling choice within the segment. Its interior doesn’t set the bar in terms of refinement, and new competitors like the Corvette Z06 and Viper offer more power at a lower starting price. Still, the GT-R’s ample power, all-wheel drive grip and great driving dynamics make it a compelling choice among high-end sports cars. It also stands out as a track-ready car that will not intimidate the uninitiated. Without question, the GT-R is a halo car that continues to deserve its spot at the top of the Nissan model line.