2009: Nissan GT-R
“Nissan’s newest dream machine is the first Japanese supercar to call out the opposition – we’re talking to you, Porsche – and whip its butt on its home turf at the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife. It’s also the suddenly attainable object of desire for a generation of enthusiasts who drew up driving slammed Honda Civics, watching Video Option, and playing Grand Turismo 2/3/4/5. For decades, previous versions of the GT-R – sold as the Skyline GT-R but known for good reason as Godzilla – have been icons in Japan, but they were never exported to the United States. Now we know what we were missing, and man, are we happy that we’ve been invited to the party.
“In the States, Nissan’s sports car heritage rests primarily on the Datsun 240Z and its follow-ons. But in Japan, Z-Cars are sold as Fairladies, and the GT-R has been the premier high-performance totem since 1969, although it disappeared between 1973 and ’89 and again went away in 2002. The top-of-the-line versions of the R32, R33, and R34 Skylines of the ’90s showcased twin-turbo six-cylinder engines with all-wheel drive and two-plus-two seating. It was only natural that Nissan chose to follow this template with the sixth-generation GT-R. But CEO Carlos Ghosn wanted to make a global statement with the new car, so he gave chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno a clean sheet of paper and told him to go crazy.
“All cars are compromises-between comfort and speed, between price and performance, between engineering and marketing. What we love about the GT-R is that it refuses to compromise where it really matters. It’s not pretty. It’s not comfy. It’s not trying to make friends and influence people. It’s not out to change the world. It exists for one reason and one reason only-to kick holy ass. And kick ass it does. You don’t have to like it. You just have to stay the hell out of its way.”