Hollywood looky-loos with an automotive eye might be keen to spot a yellow Ferrari, a murdered-out Mercedes G-Wagon or a stretch Hummer during their TMZ Hollywood tours.
But a Nissan? Who cares? They have those in Ohio. But oh, my friendly tourists, you are wrong. There likely aren't many 2013 Nissan GT-Rs gracing the streets of Cleveland. Actually, until 2008, no one in the country had one of these Japanese muscle cars because the previous generation of the GT-R didn't comply with U.S. emissions regulations. Until 2008, the only way to rev up this monster of technical perfection was in a video game like Gran Turismo. And since the car's stateside debut in 2008 they've been rare, with about 6,000 sold.
Sure, I received many blase reactions during my five-day jaunt with this twin turbo V-6 all-wheel drive alpha car. But this is not just some Nissan! This one stole my heart! So it was gratifying to catch one dad perk up as my GT-R sauntered by. He leaned down to his son and pointed to the beast, whispering in his ear. The boy's expression filled with awe as if I were riding Falkor the Luck Dragon. The GT-R's 545 horsepower and 463 lb.-ft. torque is the stuff of legends. To boot, this athletic brute has the fastest zero-to-60 time of all the cars I've had the privilege to test, with Motor Trend clocking it at 2.8 seconds.
Why is this Nissan worth every penny of its $107,600 as-tested price tag? Its all-wheel drive offers a dangerously confident ride, convincing you that you're Danica Patrick. Confession: My relationship with and love for cars is not inextricably tied to the need for speed. In fact, I have a respectful fear of the fast. My car love is tied to a machine's design, emotion and the driving experience. That said, I felt delightfully unpredictable and speed-hungry driving the GT-R -- it's burly and exciting to harness -- but it doesn't intimidate. It invigorates.
There's an ironic nuance to the GT-R's exhaust note that is so slight that maybe only dogs and I perceive it: a ringing growl that is reminiscent of a police siren. This leads to the slightest paranoia when speeding through traffic and hazing slow-poke, text-happy drivers. This is the first time I've actually fantasized a car chase ensuing in which I mockingly outrun the cops in pursuit. Should cops have Nissan GT-Rs? Or should all fugitives have GT-Rs? I never knew five days with four wheels could turn me into a potential criminal, but we do crazy things when we're in love.