The debate over whether a Nissan GT-R is a true supercar or not is a longstanding argument. The issue starts with the need for an agreed-upon feature list that would render a car a supercar (of which none exists).
Most people agree on speed and brand prestige as criteria. Yet, most supercar experts will include the price tag, rarity, appearance, and driving experience as additional considerations.
Although the Nissan GT-R ticks many of the perceived boxes of a supercar checklist, it remains borderline. Many features classify it as a supercar, but the following criterias make this identification doubtful.
Here are 4 reasons why the Nissan GTR isn’t a supercar.
1. Brand Prestige
The word ‘supercar’ is synonymous with brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and Porsche. It’s the type of car that appears in posters that adorn the walls of young and old who dare to dream fervently of owning one someday.
Even if you have little knowledge of cars, you will recognize supercar brands because they have such an undeniable status and fame.
For example, the Ferrari brand. Just hearing the name would make anyone think of the Italian beauty, its classic red color, exotic look, and iconic black horse as its emblem.
Car brands like these have built up a reputation for being some of the most recognized and prestigious brands of supercars, based on long racing and manufacturing histories and pedigree.
Nissan might be a notable car manufacturer but, unfortunately, does not hold the same admiration, respect, and status as the previously mentioned brands.
It might be prestigious among motorcar enthusiasts, but everyday laypeople will find it more challenging to recognize it as a supercar brand.
Yes, it’s made its mark on racetracks. It has also gained a significant number of loyal followers worldwide. Still, when the first Nissan Skyline GT-R was introduced to the world in 1969, it was classified as a sedan.
It was only in 2007-2008 that Nissan brought out the high-performance GT-R, making Nissan a slightly younger player in the supercar game.
Supercars gain prestige based on the manufacturing brand and its rarity. A limited number of a particular supercar makes it more desirable and adds to the status of that vehicle.
You can think about them like works of art: because prominent artists usually only paint or sculpt one-of-a-kind pieces, they are worth millions. The more copies there are, the less its value.
For example, there are only 10 Bugatti Centodieci in the world and only two 2009 Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita were ever made. This limitation on production numbers and the prestige of the brands make them seriously expensive and add to their identity as authentic supercars.
These are extreme examples, but the point is that a supercar should be rare, which adds to its appeal.
The Nissan GT-R, in contrast, is relatively standard and more affordable than many other supercars.
Except for the 2022 GT-R Nismo, of which only 300 were made. Still, thousands of the other GT-R models, like the R35s and Skyline R32s, were produced globally.
A supercar’s appearance is typically exotic, bordering on ridiculous, like a spaceship from a futuristic film. The design is meant to turn heads and earn the owner the right to have a vanity item that boasts looks and coolness beyond the ordinary imagination.
Although an attractive car with a masculine design, the Nissan GT-R is not a show-off. At least, not in comparison to other supercars. None of the GT-R models encourages onlookers to call it a work of art, nor is it sleek and wild-looking.
The Nissan GT-R is known to be bigger than other supercars. It looks more like a sedan, especially if you compare the GT-R 2017 to a model in its class, like the Porsche Turbo S 2017.
Another example of its oversize is the Nissan GT-R R35: it has back seats, a trunk, and even cup holders. It was meant to be designed for luxury and interior comfort and, clearly, passengers.
Something which other supercars don’t focus on. When you think ‘supercar,’ you usually picture a two-seater – not a vehicle that can transport a family.
Some of the finer interior details of the GT-R give away that Nissan is a brand that manufactures cars in more affordable price ranges (less than $30,000).
It results in some elements transferring over to the higher-end models and making them look dated or inexpensive, for example, the window switches and center console.
For ‘badge-snobs,’ this is not acceptable in a supercar. Especially if you compare it to Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren, where all the interior finishes are high-end since they focus solely on manufacturing luxury supercars.
4. Engine And Performance
Supercars are performance-oriented vehicles – it is designed to be fast.
This is one area where the Nissan GT-R thrives, with their models reaching zero to 60 mph in anything between 2.9 and 3.6 seconds.
The R35 model, for example, gets a top speed of 207 mph. You would think that this wins the argument of the GT-R not being a supercar since the word’s very definition is a high-performance sports car.
However, as fast as the Nissan GT-Rs are, many believe that a supercar should have a V8, V10, or V12 engine. The Nissan GT-R has a V6 engine.
It does have 600 horsepower, which is a lot, but when it comes to supercars, it’s not very impressing.
A supercar is also believed to have a loud and distinctive noise, which thrills motor enthusiasts when they hear one coming from a distance. A Nissan GT-R, in contrast, has built-in noise-canceling technology that makes the ride softer on the ears.
It might be a relief to those who dislike the roar of a supercar. Still, a GT-R driver might forget they’re driving a Godzilla (as it was marketed).
Drivers also enjoy the ruggedness and genuine involvement of driving a supercar. The Nissan GT-R is like steering a high-powered computer in comfort mode since the car’s systems take care of everything.
It is rather polished and can even be managed by novice drivers; it is that easy to ride. For many, it just leaves you devoid of feeling like you’re in complete control over this so-called monster.
Even though the Nissan GT-R is marketed as a supercar with many features that would class it as one, you must acknowledge the aspects that make this distinction questionable.
To be safe, many car enthusiasts refer to the Nissan GT-R as a luxury sportscar or the very least, a budget supercar.
Unlike many other supercars, it lacks an exotic appearance, prestige, and racing sound. Besides speed, it also lacks the uncomfortable yet thrilling experience of driving a true supercar.
As a summary, here’s why the Nissan GTR isn’t a supercar:
- Nissan is a reputable brand but doesn’t have the distinction of Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren
- Nissan GTRs are not considered rare or exclusive
- Nissan GTRs resemble a sedan since it’s bigger than supercars
- Nissan GTRs are quieter and more straightforward to drive than supercars