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2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo Test Drive Review: Analog And Digital Collide



The GT-R Nismo may be designed to lap a race track quickly but launch control is still the car’s party piece. Setting up the GT-R Nismo for a launch feels like priming a nuclear bomb to destroy a city. Putting the drivetrain, transmission, and traction control into R-mode is done using three separate toggle switches and once completed, all that’s left is put your foot on the brake, mash the throttle, release the brake, and hold on for dear life. If you have passengers, we recommend telling them to place their head against the seat to avoid concussions because the GT-R jumps off the line with an animalistic ferocity.

With everything in R-mode and the transmission set to manual mode, the GT-R Nismo can finally show why it still demands your respect. Incremental improvements to the Godzilla’s handling ability over the past ten years has resulted in a car that will grip harder than most driver’s necks will allow. Part of this massive grip is associated with new Dunlop run-flat tires (size 255 in the front and 285 in the rear) developed specifically for this car, which combined with the AWD system, keeps the car stuck to the pavement as if it were superglued. There is an adverse effect of tramlining, meaning the wheels tend to tug you in the direction of the road surface and its imperfections.

The Nismo-tuned Bilstein DampTronic suspension is also quite punishing out on the road, so you may want to be on a first-name basis with your chiropractor. Placing the suspension in comfort mode can mitigate some of this discomfort, taking those chiropractor visits from weekly down to monthly. Nissan clearly envisions this car being used on the track, which is why the standard carbon-ceramic brakes (six pistons in the front and four in the rear) are the largest to be fitted to a Japanese performance car. This is a brutal car out on the road but it is clearly set up so that anyone can drive on a track much faster than they ever should.

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