Taking a supercar on an epic 1000km Queensland journey
NOT much moves fast in rural Queensland.
Where parched soil seems endless and the local pub is still more popular than Facebook, when a supercar drops into town it attracts some attention.
Encompassing Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla and Gympie, Nissan's legendary GT-R turned heads young and old. Not bad for a 50-year-old.
The sportscar first unveiled in 1969 as a high performance version of the Skyline sedan has become an automotive institution. Famous and infamous, the GT-R notched dual victories at Bathurst that upset the Commodore and Falcon faithful on its way to earning the nickname 'Godzilla'.
Paying homage to its half-century in sportscars, Nissan has released special editions of the GT-R and the 370Z sports coupe.
The GT-R remains powered by the same raucous twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 generating an insane 419kW of power and 632Nm of torque, but 2020 models have a few mechanical upgrades and technical extras. This 50th Anniversary model starts from $209,300 plus on-roads - a massive investment by most people's standards, although do the sums and it's a bargain compared to others in the supercar realm.
The grey two-tone leather trim used on the seats, front fascia, dash panels and shift knob cabin showcase its birthday credentials. There's also 50th anniversary badging on the seats, centre console, tachometer and kick plates (just in case the stripes on the boot, roof and bonnet weren't enough of a reminder).
Being based on the Premium Luxury model, it comes with Recaro seats, push-button start, Bose 11-speaker stereo, eight-inch touchscreen with satnav and full bluetooth connectivity.
The external design was inspired by the race livery designs for GT-R from the 1971 Japan Grand prix: only three colours are available including silver with white stripes, ivory with red stripes and blue with white stripes.
Like all Nissans, the GT-R is covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty along with roadside assist.
Supercars aren't typically known for luxuries.
While there is the GT-R Track Edition and the Nismo derivative, this Premium Luxury balances daily driveability with performance.
Travelling more than 1000km would mean back and bum trauma in a hardcore Lamborghini, Lotus, McLaren Ferrari or Bugatti. This Godzilla variant is surprisingly hospitable.
Climbing inside does take some dexterity - this is a sportscar after all and it's hunkered to the bitumen - yet the cushy Recaro seats are plush with strong lateral support. Those in the back have limited leg and knee room while there's a steeply raked roofline ... best left to the kids.
Some cabin technology is feeling its age, there's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The dials and operations on the eight-inch touchscreen are simple to navigate, and the dual-zone aircon works well.
Ride quality is rightfully firm but not kidney bruising. The odd dip and pothole reverberates through the cabin, although the GT-R remains surprisingly compliant.
There is no official safety rating given the low volume of sales and, being a supercar, there's no fancy autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist or radar cruise control. This remains a car you truly drive.
The 2020 models have a new brake booster within the updated steel brakes. The big Brembo discs work with aplomb, pretty important when you are wielding a rocketship like the GT-R.
Two child seat Isofix points are available for both rear chairs while the parking sensors front and back are vital in tight carparks.
Hold on. This thing is downright ferocious.
Here's some figures to chew on: standstill to 100km/h in three seconds, top speed 315km/h, 0.26 coefficient drag, gear changes in 0.15 seconds and weight distribution that shifts from 54 per cent front and 46 rear to 50-50 coming out of corners.
All that adds up to pure insanity with acceleration performance that sends occupants deep into the Recaro seats. Overtaking can be done in an instant.
Trees lining the road become a blur at the whim of right ankle extensions. Corners are embraced by the all-wheel drive and the 20-inch Dunlop rubber bites into the bitumen.
Around town it's actually not too unwieldy, apart from small carparks. From start-up it sounds like a jet coming to life but it's only when engaging the three toggles on the dash that things get insanely quick.
Closer inspection shows the attention to detail. Each GT-R is hand-built by one engineer in a dust and temperature controlled room. Only five technicians have the ability to build the donk and their name is on a plaque in the engine bay.
The blue titanium exhaust, designed to help the cooling process, is also personally fitted to each Nissan GT-R.
I want to beat fast. Really fast. Godzilla is up there with the best in the supercar business, and I don't need a Euro badge.
This is a supercar at a luxury car price. The figures stack up and I can take the kids.
CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 FROM $159,990 PLUS ON-ROADS
Packing a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 that generates 477kW/ 881Nm, the ZL1 drives the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission. Short warranty and lack of standard safety count against it, and it's not as quick as the GT-R (about four seconds 0-100km/h).
FERRARI 488 GTB FROM $469,988 PLUS ON-ROADS
Supermodel looks and the price ensures it requires a supermodel income. Powered by a 3.9-litre V8 good for 496kW/760Nm and a 0-100km/h sprint in the sub-three second realm.
Raw edged with a dose of luxury. The GT-R is insanity on wheels and supercar ability for a third of the price derived by the automotive world's biggest names. Drivers will love it, but have a track pass to truly explore its ability.
AT A GLANCE
NISSAN GT-R 50TH ANNIVERSARY
PRICE $209,300 plus on-roads (supercar bargain)
WARRANTY/SERVICING 5yr unlim' km w'ty (good); condition based servicing (OK)
ENGINE 3.8-litre 419kW/632Nm twin-turbo V6 (ballistic)
SAFETY 4 airbags, traction control, vehicle dynamic control, parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera (nothing fancy)
THIRST 11.7 litres (pretty thirsty, premium fuel)
SPARE Space saver (expected)
BOOT 315 litres (good for a couple of bags)