2021 Nissan GT-R Review: Fast, Visceral and Beautiful

2021 Nissan GT-R Review
The 2021 GT-R is a blast to drive. Josh Smith

The 2021 Nissan GT-R turns heads and rightly so with beautifully monstrous good looks and it's ready to rise to the attention with a blistering sub-3-second 0-60 time. Yes, it's an aging car, but it's still delivering smiles and earning the nickname Godzilla.

With an all-wheel-drive system that skews towards the rear and impressive grip, the GT-R propels the driver along straightaways and tight turns with ease.

The 2021 Nissan GT-R Premium starts at $113,540 and is $121,040, as tested with the Premium Interior Package and Bayside Blue paint. The GT-R goes up against powerful competition, including the Lexus LC 500, which offers a more luxurious interior and more powerful Dodge cars. However, Nissan proves there is still magic left in the GT-R.

What Is It Like to Drive the 2021 Nissan GT-R?

2021 Nissan GT-R Review
The 2021 GT-R is fast on straight roads and adept at high speed corners. Josh Smith

The Nissan GT-R is blisteringly fast, pushing you into the racing seats and holding you there. Under the GT-R Premium hood is a 3.8L twin-turbo V6 that screams when you push the car. With R modes on and Launch Control, the GT-R bolts from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds in a hard-charging sprint that is tough to match even though other cars are quicker.

Driving the 2021 GT-R is a visceral experience where you hear the car working as gears shift and turbos spool. The fun isn't just on straightaway acceleration. The dual-clutch transmission does the shifting for you, but it is possible to switch to manual mode and use paddle shifters mounted on the wheel to change gears. In manual mode, the transmission responds quickly to shifts. When you use launch control to accelerate faster, you'll likely want to leave the transmission in auto, since the GT-R sprints through first gear almost faster than you can react.

The all-wheel-drive system and sticky stock tires hold tight through corners at high speeds and ramp as you roar out of the turn. It's not a lightweight car, but it's able to go toe-to-toe in the turns. We felt in control as we piloted the GT-R through heavy rain and on slippery roads.

2021 Nissan GT-R Review
Turning on R mode unleashes more power in the 2021 GT-R. Josh Smith

It's even possible to daily drive the GT-R, which is what we did during our week with the Premium model. The ride quality is surprisingly good in the standard or Comfort suspension modes. It's not as comfortable as the LC 500 for a long drive, but it is a car that survives the daily driving test for the right person.

Road noise is present even with the acoustic windshield and insulation throughout the vehicle, but active noise cancellation helps keep it manageable. With exhaust sound control, the driver can choose to reduce the exhaust volume.

2021 Nissan GT-R Interior and Style

2021 Nissan GT-R Review
The 2021 Nissan GT-R interior is spacious in the front seats and includes leather seats. Josh Smith

The Nissan GT-R interior includes excellent leather seats and a cockpit that feels modern, but it isn't as luxurious as the LC 500. Thanks to the size, it is comfortable even for a taller driver. There is a backseat that is functional for a child or a short adult on the passenger side.

At the bottom of the center console are the fun buttons to turn R mode on and unlock the full potential of the GT-R. There's also a bright red start button that looks right at home.

The front seats are comfortable, though the side bolsters are a bit on the aggressive side. Narrower seatbacks do a great job of keeping you in the right driving position through corners, but it is something to pay attention to if you have a wider frame.

The trunk is spacious with plenty of room for golf clubs, luggage or a week's worth of groceries. This adds to the ability to use the GT-R as a daily driver.

Outside, the GT-R Style remains very much the same as the previous model. The Bayside Blue premium color option is beautiful, and the orange brake calipers offer an excellent accent.

2021 Nissan GT-R Review
The 2021 Nissan GT-R style draws attention and wears Bayside Blue beautifully. Josh Smith

With an iconic look that many people know from video games and movies, the 2021 GT-R's aggressive style continues to age gracefully and draw attention. It's a big car, and it's one of the vehicles we test that draws the most attention.

We are still waiting for a major upgrade to the GT-R, which is something that is likely a few years out at this point.

2021 Nissan GT-R Technology & Safety

The infotainment system is up to date with an easy-to-see and use 8-inch touch screen. The GT-R supports Apple CarPlay, which means that you can plug in your iPhone to see up-to-date maps, make calls, respond to messages and manage music. There is no Android Auto support, but there is a standard Bluetooth connection to calls and music.

2021 Nissan GT-R Review
The multi-function digital gauges on the 2021 Nissan GT-R offer customizable views. Josh Smith

Drivers can configure an almost unlimited number of display options for car information using the GT-R's digital display on the main 8-inch screen. Nissan worked with Polyphony Digital, the same company that developed the Gran Turismo video games, to make this setup. Users can configure the display to show car stats, G forces, turbo boost and much more. This is a great way to see important information while driving.

Nissan Connect Services allow you to remote start, lock and unlock, and sound the GT-R horn. The service also lets you set alerts for speed limit, radius and curfew.

LED headlights are above average at lighting the road at night, though there are no fancy adaptive lights that turn as the driver steers. Cruise control is available, but it is not an adaptive cruise, so the driver remains in full control of the braking and slowing down as traffic changes.

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Nissan provided Newsweek with the vehicle, insurance and a full tank of gas for the purpose of this review. Opinions are our own.