The Ultimate GT-R Comparison Test: I was deep into triple digits when it finally sank in just how good the 2009 Nissan GT-R really is. Yes, I'd already racked up a good 500 miles or so, and yes, I'd already been seduced by its raw power. But when your velocity already equals the take off speed of a Boeing 737 and you're still accelerating hard, well, certain things become clear.
For example, even though there was a pretty stiff crosswind sweeping across the Nevada desert, the GT-R was only moderately disturbed, not blown entirely off the road. The steering was exceptionally responsive to small inputs, yet never made the car feel twitchy. It boasts terrific forward visibility, a great thing, because at these speeds distant objects don't stay that way for long.
I was also grateful that Nevada's Highway 375, the Extraterrestrial Highway near Area 51, is one of the least traveled roads in the U.S.
It was exactly the kind of experience I had hoped for when videographer Dan Sharp and I headed out earlier that morning from the MyRide.com offices in Irvine, Calif. The GT-R had arrived the day before, and though everyone wanted seat time - and by that, I mean everyone in the whole damn building - we barely had 60 hours left before we had to return our red beast. We already knew this was a phenomenal car, the kind that makes automotive writers reach for their Big Book of Hyperbole in lame efforts to simply describe its awesomeness to the vast majority of people who will never get the opportunity to drive one.
We're not immune: With all-wheel drive, a 480-horsepower engine, a six-speed automated manual transmission and all of it controlled by an array of computers, the Nissan GT-R is as awesome a technological achievement as Hoover Dam was in its day. The car's speed, acceleration, handling and braking power give its driver more opportunity for mischief than a weekend in Las Vegas. Then there's the buildup, marked by broken embargoes and a plethora of spy shots which preceded the GT-R's official unveiling, making it a worse-kept secret than the Area 51 military installation in the Nevada desert.
We all love making wild comparisons like that, but are they really true? We decided to find out. A road trip was the only way, one that would carry us to these three places - Hoover Dam, Area 51 and Las Vegas - all of which are conveniently located in Nevada. Only then would we see if the GT-R lived up to its billing.
Plus, since it was my idea, it meant I'd get to hog the car for almost 24 hours.