When Nissan finally unleashed the GT-R on U.S. streets back in 2008, you could practically hear the "Ah" of fan boys nationwide. For years, lovers of this high-end expression of Japanese motorsport engineering drooled over the prospect of owning a Godzilla of their own, without the hassle and questionable legal status of personal import.

But irrespective of the opinions espoused by those with a closet full of Video Option, anyone stateside looking to understand the evolution of this beastly vehicle might feel a bit left in the dark. The GT-R represents an entirely new generation, dropping the Skyline moniker and adopting a radically different look. All the essential characteristics, like big turbo power and advanced AWD, remain intact. But for all us ‘Mericans, it’s hard to draw comparisons without another model year to play with.

Luckily, Car Throttle is here to help. Those folks got their hands on both an R34 and R35, and as is tradition with such fortune, they put the cars through a battery of performance tests on wet, slippery tarmac to determine that exact nature of the GT-R’s progress. Driving impressions, braking, slalom, and a drag race are all on the docket.

In the end, the R35 puts on a demonstration that gives it the clear performance advantage over its older sibling. But there’s something special about the R34, a streak of rarity and uniqueness that you simply don’t get with the new model.

Which leaves only one question: which would you have?

Click Continue Reading to learn more about the Nissan GT-R.

Nissan GT-R

2015 Nissan GT-R High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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When talking about the features of the Nissan GT-R, the term “functionality” is elevated to new and greater heights. It’s a vehicle designed to perform outrageous acts of physics manipulation, like a warp drive on four wheels.

For the 2015 model year, Nissan gave Godzilla minor updates to the headlights and taillights, but kept the rest of exterior more or less the same. Downforce is ample, while drag is low. A carbon-fiber wing and trunk lid are available as factory options.

Inside, there are additional track-oriented features, like bolstered sport seats, carbon-fiber gauge faces, a grippy multi-function steering wheel outfitted with paddle shifters, and a console-mounted display screen that feeds info on stuff like boost pressure and G forces.

However, anyone who buys a GT-R is probably most concerned with its tour de force: its drivetrain. All those hard bits under the skin bristle with the latest in go-faster technology, starting with a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-6 engine that is hand-built to deliver 545 horsepower and 463 pound-feet of torque. A twin-clutch, six-speed transmission lays that grunt down to all four contact patches via a computer-controlled AWD system that makes launches as simple as jumping off a cliff. 60 mph is achieved from a standstill in less than three seconds. Managing the power in the corners is an electronically controlled suspension, large race-bred calipers and rotors, and Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tires filled with nitrogen.

Pricing starts at $101,770. Anyone looking to import an older Skyline model should be delighted to know that the R32 model just hit 25 years of age in 2014, which means those ridiculous US import restrictions no longer apply.

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