When the R35-generation Nissan GT-R debuted in 2008, it shattered records and broke hearts in truly heroic fashion. Faster than virtually anything money could buy around almost any track you could name, the new “Godzilla” had just two notable flaws: it was absurdly expensive to service, and it could feel a bit lifeless when operated at any pace beneath its stratospheric maximum. Nissan never really did anything about the service and repair costs, but they did hammer away at driver-satisfaction problems with a succession of Black Editions and Track Editions, culminating in the sublime, seam-welded post-facelift GT-R NISMO which was priced like a supercar and almost indecently enjoyable to operate.
Eleven years is a long time, however, and the competition hasn’t stood still. Think of the performance difference between an early Gallardo and a Huracan EVO, or between the C6 Z06 and the C7 ZR1, if you want examples. To keep the customers interested, Nissan has updated the GT-R a bit for 2020.
Traditional JDM loyalists will be drawn to the 50th Anniversary Edition, which can be had in the R34 model’s famous Bayside Blue with white racing stripes but is also available in Pearl White with red stripes and Super Silver with white stripes. The interior is grey Alcantara with special trim and embossed seats.
Hardcore drivers will want the revised NISMO model. It’s almost sixty-seven pounds lighter than its predecessor, sports wicked-looking flared fenders, and contains an indecent anount of carbon fiber. The suspension is retuned and features carbon-ceramic Brembos with bright-yellow calipers capable of withstanding thousand-degree (Celsius!) temperatures. New turbochargers build boost faster; output is listed at 600 horsepower. The exhaust is titanium with burnished blue tips.
If you’re looking at a Huracan EVO or Corvete ZR-1, these changes might not be enough to put the R35 GT-R back on your shopping list --- but in its second decade, the big coupe offers a better driving experience than ever before. Godzilla loyalists who won’t drive anything else now have even more compelling reasons to choose a new GT-R over a used one.