Driving Impression>> Cruising La With An R35 Nissan Gtr

When I was told that Nissan was delivering a bright red R35 GTR to my office, I was more than excited! It wasn't my first time experiencing an R35 – I had already seen the car at the 2008 Tokyo Auto Salon, and even accompanied my friend, Nobushige Kumakubo of Team Orange, to the Nissan dealer in Fukushima Japan when he decided to buy one this past January. In fact, Kumakubo generously gave me the opportunity to test out his new GTR at speed when I returned to Japan this past August; I couldn't hide my excitement even one bit as I buckled in to the driver seat of his brand new hand-painted silver GTR and took it for hot laps around Ebisu Circuit's West Course. Very scary! The acceleration… the braking… it's all incredible, and when you're behind the wheel, the GTR gives you the type of scary feeling that you want to feel over and over again.

Of course! With 480 brake horsepower at your disposal anytime you decided to blip the throttle, I'm sure you'd want to drive this car every single day of the week, as I did. I haven't been this excited about test driving a car in a while. Of course, the Porsche 911 GT2 that I drove in Germany has more horsepower, but I was only allowed to drive the GT2 on a race track. This GTR, however, would be my daily driven streetcar for the next few days!

Driving a car with this much power on Southern California freeways was more fun than an open bar party at the Spearmint Rhino – every time I entered a freeway, I slowly entered the acceleration lane, slightly tapped the gas pedal, and before I knew it, I was doing 130mph. Damn! Good thing the GTR has good brakes too! When it accelerates up to freeway speeds, you hear the sound of air rushing – massive amounts of air rushing, combined with the throaty growl of the twin-turbocharged V6 VR38DETT. All the while, the GTR's seats push into your back like a team of NFL linemen colliding into a five-man sled during practice. The R35 GTR has ridiculous amounts of torque.

During the time I had the GTR on loan, I tried soooo hard to find a track event that I could attend, so I could have fun with the GTR's incredible acceleration and braking at a safe place, away from normal vehicles… unfortunately, there weren't any events that weekend, so I had to settle for freeway fun, which certainly isn't anything to complain about! For our photo shoot, however, I decided to pick up one of my friends, Cipher Media Group staffer Felix Tang, so I could shoot photos while he drove it through Downtown LA.

One thing we thought was funny was how much attention the GTR garnered… from… uhh… *ahem*… guys. Even though we certainly tried hard to floss the GTR to the ladies, hardly any of them knew what it was – I even rolled up on a girl with an Infiniti G35 on Volk TE37s and Skyline emblems, and she didn't even glance at the car once! Dammit!!! However, we got the exact opposite reaction from men… LOL! We had guys breaking their necks (seriously, one guy almost crashed on the 71 freeway because he was craning his neck to look at the GTR while he was exiting), honking horns, and giving us thumbs up all day long. Crazy… as much as we wanted the car to temporarily boost our game so we could meet new girls that weekend, we found out that the R35 GTR is apparently a guy magnet. (See photo above) I think most women don't recognize the car's shape yet. Sigh.

Lurking in and out of traffic in Downtown LA, the R35 GTR is certainly a sight to behold… with the wide front and rear fenders, and large quad exhaust tips, it just looks like a predator, don't you think? Even when it's rolling slowly!

Even in normal traffic, it certainly stands out from the crowd.

Honestly, I'm a big fan of the R35's rear shape, but I'm not the biggest fan of the front – the front reminds me of the Mitsubishi Eclipse in a way, and I hate Eclipses. The rear of the GTR, however, is art. I dig the four signature LED Skyline rear lights, and the four big exhaust tips on the bottom to match. It has a very nice looking wing too – just gorgeous!

By the way, I love the contrasting dark gray lower bodywork on the car, it makes the whole car look more aggressive and more attractive!

The inside of the GTR makes me think of an airplane cockpit. Not because of the paddle-shift steering wheel and the "Engine Start" button, but because of the "R" switches in the center console and the incredible 7-inch touch screen in the middle of the dash, which has displays that can be changed according to what you want to monitor – oil pressure, oil temp, water temp, tire pressure, gas mileage, you name it. This touch screen gauge system was developed for Nissan by Polyphony Digital, the same company who is behind the Gran Turismo video games. Pretty damn impressive if you ask me. It even has satellite radio and MP3 capability, so you can listen to your favorite songs while rocketing off into the freeway. Good looking out, Nissan.

The front seats look like Recaro SRD seats, but they're fully motorized, and wrapped in a leather/Pearlsuede combo that makes you stick to your seat even under heavy cornering force. Oh, and they also just look super cool.

The GTR emblem pressed into the steering wheel is there just to remind you how much power is at your fingertips. Actually, at your feet. I used those cruise control switches on the right side pretty often, as they helped me avoid speeding tickets. I already got tickets recently in the Lexus ISF and Nismo Z. Getting a ticket at GTR speeds would send me straight to jail, so I had to be very, very careful! In retrospect, I think getting a ticket in the GTR would be pretty worth it. At least I'd have a cool story to tell at traffic court…

See those paddle shifters behind the steering wheel? Pure fun. Pull back on the paddles, and they take you through all 6 gears of the GTR's GR6 dual clutch, semi-automatic transmission. This sport transmission took some getting used to, but once I had some time with it, I began feeling comfortable with the paddle shifting, rather than using a strandard H-pattern stick. The GTR's transmission works7 together with the ATTESA E-TS system to push power to all four wheels, and Nissan's Vehicle Dynamics Control system aids in handling and stability, especially at high speeds (think long freeway connectors and onramps).

The heart of the beast! This is the twin-turbocharged V6 3.8 liter VR38DETT engine, which makes 480bhp at 6400rpm, with a maximum boost of 17.8psi! Damn! Not to mention the kick-you-in-the-ass 430 foot pounds of torque. To steal a quote from our road racer friend Drew Stavely, "Damn, 480 horsepower?! That thing would be like the perfect daily driver!"

Oh yeah, and for those interested in numbers, Nissan says the GTR can achieve a top speed of 195mph, and has a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds. I definitely had some fun testing out the GTR doing 0-60, but wish I could have tested it somewhere safely off public highways, so I could try it out closer to top speed!

Just look at the GTR on the prowl, cruising the streets of Downtown LA. It definitely stands out from the mediocre cars on normal city streets!

Interestingly enough, the R35 GTR gets surprisingly good gas mileage for how much power it has. You can expect to get 21-23 miles per gallon, and that includes stomping hard on the gas every once in a while. As for me, I did it alot, so you know I was at the gas station quite a lot. However, I wasn't complaining; it's definitely worth it.

Red cars with gunmetallic gray wheels that match the front and rear lip spoilers and sideskirts. Sexy and sophisticated.

Rollin on dubs! The 2009 GTR comes from the factory with lightweight 20-inch wheels, and an incredible Brembo big brake system, which uses cross drilled, two piece 15-inch floating rotors, with 6-piston calipers up front, and 4-piston calipers in the rear. When you're driving at speed, and suddenly slam on the brakes, these Brembos will stop you so fast, you'll feel like your teeth will fall out of your mouth. Seriously.

These exhaust tips remind me of a Corvette for some reason. I like the classy rear fascia that's been designed around the exhaust tips though, reminds me of a Ferrari in some ways.

Nissan engineered the R35 with a vent on the front fender, and an integrated GTR emblem, just so people driving next to you know what time it is. I'm so happy that this supercar is finally on US shores. Thank you, Nissan!

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to begin putting one of my kidneys and all my camera equipment and worldly goods on Craigslist… OR, if anyone knows someone who needs a getaway driver for a bank heist, let me know, I just might be down. The point is, I need to have a GTR in my life. The perfect daily driver.

-Antonio Alvendia



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so awesome!

great pics


yeah, but the ZR1.... j/k! Nice writeup, Antonio!


Red is hot.

Needs a RUNNING FREE Sticker on there.

do it, Antonio.


Are your turning to the dark side Antonio?


Best car!!!


you know that since the engines are all hand-built, each engine actually has a different power output? they've been dyno'd at up to 520hp stock! also the transmissions are given a similar treatment, so you can't just swap engines with somebody, it might not work out too well lol



Jeroen: Hell f* cking yeah I am, I love the new R35! And R34 Vspec and R32 Vspec. and KPGC10 and KGC110. And R31.

BlueSlug: in that case, I'd have my good friend Koyama (formerly of JUN) build it! Well, I'd need to get the actual car first though. haha


HA HA! wow.. Antonio.. I'm jealous man.

how on earth did you manage to give it back?!


i dont know antonio...im thinking maybe YOU are the boy magnet...


awesome pics, esp. the second one down. Red or white is what i would have choosing from the factory colors, but I can't help but think what a nice bayside blue would look like on the R35


OK, If there was a broad with a G35 which is considered a "skyline" over in Nippon AND she's rockin the badges and still didn't blink then she's been licking rust and paint off her beater car or something. Someone should confiscate her license and give her a shame sticker!


i think someone's jealous.


Yeah very much Antonio. I can't wait to put my hands on a GT-R......NOT !.....you really got to be kidding me....if you think I'm jealous.

It seems that the tuning scene in those past several months has been circumnavigate around the GT-R only....and to be honest....I am beyond sick and tired to hear that....people can't talk about anything else? .....does the import scene depends exclusively on the GT-R? A car that 90% of us can't afford....

I'm sorry if I am a car-guy and I have a wider spectrum of interest, and I could care less about the GT-R....there are TONS of other interesting car out there. (although this month is Nissan month).

I guess it's not as cool if you were gonna post a thread about an MR-S instead, or maybe write/ review about Kojima's Sentra SE-R V SPEC......

If you use a car to attract the opposite sex....I feel sorry for you.....

Comments like that are just childish....I would expect more from such a reputable photographer.....or maybe not.


Driving this car in LA what a waste....ill take it to my favorite canyon road which is Azuza put the car sideways on every other turn finish on the other side by Mount Baldy, comeback from the 210 fwy then exit at Los Angeles Crest hwy....repeat... then take a left at the fork in the road after that there is a good straightaway,about 16 miles or so with nothing but farms in the area, at which point i will open the throtle FULL FORCE see if the 195mph statement is true....then this road will conect to the 14fwy ill keep going north towards Lancaster exit at Rosamond and then really drive the car at Willow Springs Raceway......I used to do this on my bike......AAAAHHHHH GOODTIMES!!!!!!!..and thats how you test a car!!!


Sudaka, you and I think alike, but unfortunately not everyone think the same.

Some people prefer to show it off in front of chicks instead....what can I say...

The engineers at Nissan worked hard to produce the best ever Skyline (that in my eyes it's just blah)....then some people take it in downtown to cruise the boulevards to "test drive it"....


Alex and Sudaka:

Actually, I totally agree with you guys, ONLY driving the GTR in downtown LA is a waste. If you read the article, you'd know that I've already driven a GTR at Ebisu West Course. I wanted more track time with it, and I tried to get this thing out to an open track day, but unfortunately there weren't any track days in Southern Cali during the short time I was given with the car. There are so many journalists wanting to do reviews of this car, and not enough GTRs to go around, so we don't have a ton of options in terms of when we can get cars. Maybe if we're nice enough, the people at Nissan North America will let us test a GTR again at an actual track day... it would be highly irresponsible of us to try out the top speeds on a normal public highway!

Sudaka: hey can you privately email me directions to some of those private straightaways you know of where there aren't many cops? I thought about going to GMR with the R35, but there's no way I could handle a car as powerful as an R35 GTR at Azusa Canyon to be honest with you. That thing is way too fast for my driving skill at the moment. I took the Nismo Z to GMR several times (and got a ticket with it on the last day - see my upcoming driving impression story)... but dude there's no way I could handle an R35 over there - I'd only be comfortable with smaller cars up there, something like an S2K or Corolla or something.

back to go karting...


First and foremost thank you Antonio and Alex for reading my comments...Yes I agree the GTR is a really powerful car...by the same token they also have very sophisticaed traction control and ABS systems which can be somewhat forgiven....remember canyon roads are kind like TOUGE driving every 100yards or so there is a turn which means only 1st. and 2nd. gears in most cases,so if you are lets say an entry level(novice)driver or perhaps a more advance road course club driver...remember practice makes perfect...I'm sure that in the near future you are gonna come accross some fast rides,so here are few tips.....Always go up slow the very first time ,look for GRAVEL on the road...construction sections...parked cars...park rangers and cops of course.....Always go to canyons early in the morning 6:45 to 9AM is best,...very little traffic if any, and very rare to see a cop that early...Anyways as far as private straightaways...no such a thing unless you run at the Irwindale dragstrip..I've done high speeds on public roads on my GIXXER but not lately..I guess with age comes wisdom and all that..however if you really want to test your cojones drive to Nevada and again early in the morning....GODSPEED!!


Sudaka, I've gotten so many tickets over the years driving to Vegas, and this is at all hours of the day/night. I don't think it's worth it anymore, I'd rather just stick to tracks.

I do have some special test drives of fast cars coming up... I'd love to test out top speeds, but honestly, I prefer to do that kind of stuff at racetracks. I really can't get anymore tickets, that shit is too expensive and makes my insurance go up like crazy. I got a ticket in the Nismo Z, and the cop only clocked me cruising at 88mph, not even that fast... and the ticket is over $300!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF!


sweet gtr love the look evryting proper i need me one of those


I would sell my in-laws to get one. Seriously.