The Nissan GT-R has a varied history. Although it has always had a strong following, some models to wear the GT-R badge haven’t always made the grade. But when Nissan do it well, they do it very, very well. Back in 1969, the 2.0-litre Skyline saloon was the first Nissan to wear a GT-R badge.

A coupé followed in 1971 and a replacement model, with production limited to 197 units, in 1973. And that was the end of the GT-R until a Skyline more like the one we know appeared in 1990, with a twin-turbo straight six.

Homologated to let Nissan go racing, the R32 was claimed to have 280bhp, as were the R33 (1994) and R34 (1999) successors. GT-R buyers in the UK should beware – there are plenty of imported GT-Rs floating around on the used market of greatly varying quality. We’d prefer to stick to the cars brought across by Nissan itself, and that’s what our test is based on.

When we tested the 473bhp grey-imported GT-R it caused quite a stir; it demolished pretty much every challenge we laid before it, including being crowned the winner of our annual Best Driver’s Car shootout. The official 523bhp version of the car turns the GT-R into a super supercar.

The GT-R has always had price on its side. It’s not a cheap car: it’s better value for money than cars that are seemingly as fast, and it can outperform cars of a similar price. Seems too good to be true. So is it?

Top 5 Sport coupes

  • Porsche Cayman
    The Porsche Cayman is now in its second generation

    Porsche Cayman

    1
  • The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

    2
  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

    3
  • Costliest car gets the deftest chassis to ever underpin a TT - the best reason yet to buy into Audi’s coupe.

    Audi TTS

    4
  • Peugeot RCZ R
    The front-drive RCZ R packs a 266bhp turbocharged engine

    Peugeot RCZ R

    5

First drives

Videos

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    29 July 2015
    Smaller, less pricey follow-up to the SLS reveals its true capabilities
  • First Drive
    29 July 2015
    It's nearly the end of the line for the perennial Land Rover Defender. This Heritage limited edition harks back to the early days
  • First Drive
    28 July 2015
    Seat enhances its three-door Leon Cupra 280 with Nürburgring-inspired add-ons, but the effect is mostly limited to visuals
  • First Drive
    28 July 2015
    Honda's new small SUV needs to excel in an extremely competitive class. We drive the diesel in the UK to see if it's up to the task
  • Car review
    23 July 2015
    Mazda goes Juke hunting, with its Skyactiv-generation baby SUV