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

  • First Drive
    27 March 2015
    Lavishly-equipped, rugged-looking Peugeot 508 estate is a pleasant drive, but there are many more recommendable alternatives
  • 308 GT 1.6-litre petrol is priced from £24,095
    First Drive
    27 March 2015
    Peugeot's given the 308 the engine from the 208 GTi 30th and some chassis upgrades; we find out if the changes bring a bit of old-school Peugeot hot-hatch magic to this likeable family hatch.
  • Car review
    26 March 2015
    Does Suzuki's new city runabout have what it takes to succeed?
  • First Drive
    26 March 2015
    Collins Performance has given the Fiesta ST 270bhp and 265lb ft, but has our favourite fast Ford been ruined in the process?
  • First Drive
    26 March 2015
    The Seat Leon X-Perience is the closest thing to an SUV that you can buy with a Seat badge for now, blending estate practicality with off-road ability