The honey badger is a relatively small animal that possesses few obvious attributes that would help it in a fight. And yet, the honey badger is Internet famous for YouTube videos of it taking on animals that are bigger, more venomous, and scary-looking than itself. Those videos have taught us that you never bet against a honey badger in a fight, no matter how much it may appear to be outgunned. The GT-R is the same way. More than a decade after its original debut, its specs have been surpassed by any number of new supercars on the market. And yet, if you show up to a race with one, you’ve always – ALWAYS – got a chance to win.
Ever see a mountain goat cling to the side of a cliff face, standing erect on a ledge the width of a fingernail and not caring one bit, like it’s out for a Sunday stroll? That’s the GT-R in front of every corner it faces. Constant radius, decreasing radius, hairpin, esses, off-camber, whatever… the GT-R will ride any line like a goat on a ledge. Credit goes to its ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system and grippy Dunlop high-performance run-flat tires.
If we're going to give the GT-R a new nickname, shouldn't it be a creature native to Japan? Therefore, let's start calling Nissan's iconic sports coupe "the tanuki." This rather cute member of the canid family is somewhat related to foxes, and the tanuki plays a big role in Japanese folklore in ways that link it to the GT-R. One of the creatures most famous traits, both in the real world and in the legend's surrounding it, is the massive scrotum on males. This is similar to the feeling that GT-R drivers have after a high-speed run.
Alligators are millions of years old (anywhere from 37 to 180 million years old, depending on which Google result you click). In that time, their appearance has changed little, if at all. Time warp back to 179.9999 BC and you’ll find the same animal you see today, nary a scale, tooth, or beady eye out of place. Likewise, the GT-R has hardly changed at all in the 11 years it’s been on sale. It has the same shape, profile, and sharp features as it did back in 2007. Sure, there have been a couple nip-tucks in the intervening years, but a GT-R today is no larger, smaller, wider, or thinner than it was the first day it went on sale.
Orangutan’s are orange. They even have the word in their name. This GT-R is orange, too. Blaze Metallic, Nissan calls it. It costs an extra $1,000 over the GT-R’s standard colors (red and black). It’s very orange. It’s so orange, I think the car should have the word in its name: GT-Orange.
Lightness has never been a virtue of the Nissan GT-R. At over 3,900 pounds, it’s one of the heaviest super coupes you can buy this side of a Bentley Continental GT. In fact, at this point, its weight is an identifying feature. Even this Track Edition with its plethora of carbon fiber still tips the scales at 3,915 pounds. Oink, oink. A Corvette ZR-1, meanwhile, comes in nearly 400 pounds lighter at 3,560 pounds.
Yes, the GT-R’s looks haven’t changed much in a decade, but they look pretty good! I see a shark when I take in its lines from all angles. Its sheetmetal looks thick and slick like a Great White’s, and that mouth was definitely inspires by something under the sea. The fins on the rear carbon fiber valence, the NACA ducts in the hood, and the flashes of silver on its body – all of it tells me to punch this thing on the nose before it sucks me from through its front grille.
The Blind Date
Blind date’s are usually blind because one of the two parties is – how do I put it delicately – nice on the inside but maybe not so hot on the outside. The GT-R is sort of the same: its looks are nowhere near as interesting or attractive as many of its competitors in the last decade. Who care’s what it looks like on the outside, though, when it has that hand-built, bi-turbo V6 engine on the inside. Suffice it to say, the GT-R has a great personality.
Not Godzilla – Gorilla. Gorilla’s are hella powerful, just like this 565-horsepower GT-R Track Edition. They’re also big and heavy, like the GT-R. And I wouldn’t want to encounter a gorilla in the jungle by myself. I actually would like to encounter a GT-R in the jungle, though, as long as I could find the keys.
The GT-R's original Godzilla nickname obviously comes from the iconic giant monster, but it's not really the right way to describe Nissan's sports coupe. Godzilla is certainly powerful, but he clumsily lumbers around, which is nothing like the way the GT-R behaves on the road.
If you want to use a giant monster for the nickname, I say pick Gyaos. This giant beast is the villain in the best of the Gamera films. With an appearance somewhere between a bat and a pterodactyl, it can fly at incredible speeds – like the GT-R on the road. Plus, Gyaos feeds on blood, similar to the blood-thirsty feelings drivers get when the GT-R launches away from a stop light and leaves all other traffic in its dust.
See if you agree by watching Gyaos fight in the clip below.
The Nissan GT-R has colloquially been known as Godzilla since the early 1960s when early versions of the car could be seen on the silver screen next to, and underfoot, the giant lizard. Over 50 years later, we're still using the same nickname for Nissan's halo car. Time for a change, we think.
After spending a week with the 2018 Nissan GT-R Track Edition recently, some other nicknames came to mind that might fit this supercar better. Some are silly, though all are accurate to a degree. My favorite is the first one in our list. Click through to find yours.