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2018 Nissan GT-R is Pure supercar
Barry Spyker

You say you’re looking for pure supercar performance and styling without the pricey extras? Not interested in that premium sound system, active sound enhancements or the titanium exhausts?

Nissan has that bad boy. New for 2018 is the GT-R Pure – kudos to the Japanese carmaker for coining the best term yet for a base model. Of course, the Premium, Track Edition and extreme Nismo versions return this year, too, ranging in price up to $175,490.

But the Pure brings the GT-R back under $100K – barely – for the first time in four years. It’s listed at $99,990 (plus $1,695 for destination and handling), which is about $10,000 off the Premium version price with only some modest sacrifices required. 

The Pure is anything but base. It still gets the same hand-built 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 paired to a dual-clutch transmission and it’s still crazy fast, clocking a 0-60 mph in an amazing 2.7 seconds. Plus, it is well equipped with 20-inch Rays forged alloy wheels, rear spoiler, leather and synthetic suede seats and dash, and 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity.

The GT-R, now in its 10th year in the U.S., picked up some nice exterior improvements last year, including a wider grille, new front and rear spoilers for stronger downforce and grip, functional vents and flashy new colors like Blaze Metallic orange. 

But Nissan’s flagship supercar is better known for its outstanding all-wheel-drive performance. Jackrabbit acceleration comes from that hand-built V-6 that is rated at 565 hp, just 35 horses less than the race-driven Nismo, and 467 pound-feet of torque. Top speed threatens to hit 200 mph.

The 6-speed dual-clutch auto-manual transmission is smooth and swift on the upswing, a tad sluggish on the downshifts. Brembo brakes, six-piston up front and four at the rear, bring it to a halt with efficiency.

A sophisticated AWD system sends most of the power to the rear wheels, but can split the torque 50-50 depending on road surface, tire slippage and drive dynamics. Steering is precise and the GT-R maintains good balance through winding curves, though its 3,900-pound curb weight makes it less agile than its German foes.

An adjustable suspension firms up for track days; R mode sharpens steering and shifting response. And then there’s a Comfort mode which eases back on everything for smooth commutes. It’s more comfortable and quieter this year, too, with added sound insulation.

The GT-R’s fuel economy, however, lags even among some of its cohorts. EPA estimates are 16 mpg city, 22 highway.

Inside is a well-built cockpit with a quality, Infiniti-like feel thanks to enhancements made last year. Nappa leather-trimmed front seats are firm, enveloping yet roomy enough even for bigger guys. The rear seat, on the other hand, is only for kids – small kids, at that – or just packages. Cargo space is average for the segment at 8.8 cubic feet – and the rear seats don’t fold down for additional space.

The dash is loaded with gauges and displays that monitor performance data, including 0-60 times, G-forces, shifting patterns and road grip. Very cool, but a lot to take in. 

The infotainment screen now gets a controller on the center console that is easier to use but sometimes slow to respond. And a 6-speaker sound system replaces the 11-speaker premium Bose system on higher trims.

While the GT-R lacks advanced tech-safety features, it contains the usual air bags, traction and stability control.

Shopkeepers know 99 cents sounds better than $1.00. Nissan hopes you’ll get the same feeling from $99,990. Either way, this high-performance sports car is always up to the challenge of even pricier foes.

MSRP: $99,990

What’s all the excitement about? Nissan high-performance GT-R dips back under $100,000

Powertrain: 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 cranks out 565 hp, 467 pound-feet of torque; mated to 6-speed dual-clutch transmission

How’s the performance? GT-R vaults to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds — any more questions?

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