2017 Nissan GT-R: Who's It For?

Published on January 30, 2017 in Test Drives by Paul Piche

If you purchase a $120,000+ automobile, you expect to receive some serious attention when you drive it. However, what kind of attention and more importantly from who, depends on the car itself. My experiences with the 2017 Nissan GT-R seem to indicate that it definitely turns heads, but only from a very specific group of people.

As a Motoring TV fan, you already know the newest GT-R makes 565 hp and 467 lb.-ft. of torque from its twin-turbo, 3.8-litre V6. You already know its all-wheel drive system is more complicated than a space shuttle launch. You know it has a dual-clutch, six-speed transmission and that it can go to 60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 2.9 seconds. So what else is there for us to report about this car? Plenty.

I took the car to a trendy street in town. Antique shops, fair trade coffee and gluten-free bakeries line either side of the Avenue. What better place to garner some attention? Well, the car received about as much attention as a Maxima. No one was interested in the vehicle. No one was curious about its colour, its drivetrain or its price tag. The question of why begs to be answered.

I needed to find a place populated with some people who weren’t concerned about voicing their opinion. I know a place where are there are some strong confident ladies who can back up a comment with some well-constructed thought. The women of Hamilton Area Roller Derby allowed me to attend one of their roller derby practices with the GT-R and their responses cleared a few things up. “It’s obnoxious” one said. “The interior leather is coloured like snot” said another. “$120,000 and you don’t even get a sunroof” pointed out someone. “It looks like my Altima” commented another. They were not impressed, but at least I knew why. This car is not for them. They are not car people.

Then who is this car for? There’s a local coffee shop by my house where the parking lot is often populated with Civics wearing colourful rims, Subarus with exhaust pipes the size of manhole covers and Volkswagens slammed to the ground. All that was needed was a quick trip through the lot to confirm that the young men and women leaning on their tuner cars knew exactly what this vehicle was capable of. Their jaws dropped. They pointed. They gawked. You’d think I was riding a rainbow unicorn. I was finally able to turn some heads in the GT-R. Car people love this thing.

When it rains it pours. A young boy walking to school the next morning pointed at the car and shouted to his friends “Hey guys! Do you know what that is?” There was a school bus on the Gardiner Expressway where the young boys and girls in the back of the bus climbed over each other to get a view of the Nissan. I made sure to delight them with a few throttle blips in sport mode.

Bottom line, I was able to get some attention in this very expensive and rare vehicle, but it didn’t come from everyone. The attention only came from car people. In the end, isn’t that the people you really care about anyway?

Test drive report
Test model 2017 Nissan GT-R
Trim level Base
Price range $125,000
Price as tested N/A
Warranty (basic) N/A
Warranty (powertrain) N/A
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) N/A
Options N/A
Competitive models Aston Martin DB9, Audi R8, Dodge Viper, Ferrari 458, Jaguar F-TYPE, Lamborghini Gallardo, Lamborghini Huracán, Maserati GranTurismo, McLaren 12C, McLaren 650S, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Porsche 911
Strong points N/A
Weak points N/A
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