At Over $100,000, the 2021 Nissan GT-R Better Come With AWD

There are many reasons to like the Nissan GT-R, but those features come alongside a steep asking price that makes it difficult to say it’s worth the money. The GT-R’s standard price goes well into the six-figure range, and some of Nissan’s competitors in the all-wheel drive space offer vehicles of a similar standard with a much lower cost. Is the GT-R worth the money? Read on and decide for yourself. 

What makes the Nissan GT-R such a good car?

A white 2021 Nissan GT-R is parked on a race track.
2021 Nissan GT-R | Nissan 2021

The 2021 Nissan GT-R is a luxury sports car fit for all seasons. The car is powered by an engine that is expected in a car of this class. It is powered by a twin-turbo V6 engine that makes it possible for the GT-R to go from zero to 60 in three seconds and reach a top speed of 205 mph. 

Even at high speeds, drivers have the tools to stay in control at all times. The GT-R comes standard with Nissan’s ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system. This system sends engine power to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions, but it can divert half of that power to the front wheels when traction loss is detected. The steering and braking systems are also at a high level, and the adaptive suspension does just enough to deal with bumps and rough patches in the road. 

Unlike many of its competitors, the GT-R has a four-seat interior, although the back seats are better for storing luggage than adult passengers. It also has an easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment system. Clearly, this is a car that brings a lot to the table. 

A lack of safety features and interior issues keep it from reaching its potential

There are some aspects of the GT-R that leave something to be desired. Fuel efficiency is chief among them.  The car only gets 16 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway.

It also has 8.8 cubic feet of trunk space, so making larger items fit in the GT-R can be difficult. Advanced safety features are also lacking here. Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the vehicle, but this is fairly common for high-end luxury class cars.

Aesthetically, the clean, minimalist stylings of the GT-R with mostly dark colors wrapped in soft-touch plastic and synthetic leather upholstery certainly looks nice, but doesn’t quite hold its own against some of its competitors.

Then there’s the price. The GT-R has a starting price of $113,540, which is on the higher end of the luxury car spectrum. The souped-up GT-R Nismo trim begins at $210,740. U.S. News gave the car a performance score of nine out of 10, but given the price tag, it’s fair to look around and wonder if you can get more bang for your buck. 

It’s not the only all-wheel drive vehicle worth considering

In a U.S. News list ranking the 13 best all-wheel drive sports cars in 2021, four cars with a similar or better performance score than the GT-R cost significantly less than Nissan is offering that also include all-wheel drive features. The vehicles are: 

2021 Tesla Model 3 Performance AWD ($56,990 performance score of 9.4)

Tesla’s latest offering is both one of the best luxury hybrids and electric cars on the market. The Model 3 can go from zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds thanks to its ability to access 100 percent of its torque from a standstill. The car also has a long driving range, sharp handling, and high safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Tesla’s dual-motor all-wheel drive system comes standard with the Long Range and the Performance versions of the Model 3. 

2021 Polestar 2 ($59,900, performance score of 9.2)

Being the first mass-market product from this company. The Polestar has very little name recognition among most people. But this electric sedan is an impressive debut. Though it does suffer under inevitable comparisons to the Tesla Model 3, the Polestar has an attractive interior design, plenty of cargo space, and a welcoming infotainment system. 

2021 Jaguar F-Type R-Dynamic AWD ($81,800, performance score of 8.8)

Jaguar’s newest edition is the first major update for their sports car since 2014. The F-Type R-Dynamic comes with a three-liter V6 engine that emits 380 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. Precision handling allows the driver to control this power with ease, and it also has 14.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is much more than you’ll find in most luxury sports cars. 

2021 Porsche Taycan ($103,800, performance score of 9.7)

The Taycan is Porsche’s first purely electric vehicle, and it is a very bright start from the brand. The car can put out up to 522 horsepower if needed and go from zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds. It handles suberbly, and the cabin is fitted out that lives up to the idea of luxury. The biggest downside is that the unconventional control system, which is next to no physical buttons on the dashboard, may be a put-off for some. It should be noted that the base Taycan only has rear-wheel drive, so you’ll have to go for the upgraded models for all-wheel drive. 

Each vehicle has its own advantages and downsides, but these other cars may represent a better deal than the GT-R for the more cost-conscious driver, even though it is an objectively well-made car. 

RELATED: You’re Better off Buying a Used Nissan GT-R