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Dam, Look at That!
At about 350 miles into our journey, as we were passing through Las Vegas for the first time, it occurred to me what a good overall road car the GT-R was turning out to be. The adjustable suspension has a "comfort" mode, and with it on, much of the harshness of the suspension is quashed. The ride is still stiff, of course, and it never approached the smooth feel of a Corvette, but it was much better than we had anticipated. Also, Nissan is incredibly lucky that my conscience won out and prevented me from stealing the seats. They're that good.
When you're lazily trundling along in traffic, the GT-R is just like any other car. It's not beating you up, the audio system sounds good, you can do the one-hand-on-the-wheel thing with ease, and it's clear that the car isn't some one-off specialty vehicle from a brute-force minded aftermarket tuner, or even a single-purpose speed-machine from a niche manufacturer. Fine, "GT-R" doesn't have the same mythical ring as "Murcielago" but because it's from the same company that makes Altimas and Versas, it's much easier to live with than the Italian exotic, plus, it kicks the Lambo's butt.
But to call the GT-R an "average everyday car" is like referring to the Hoover Dam we were rapidly approaching as merely a big pile of concrete. As we rounded the bend on the road to the dam, we were immediately impressed. Then there are the stats: It was constructed over the course of only four years, from 1931 to 1935, two years ahead of schedule. It holds back Lake Mead, a recreational area that brings joy to all who use it. When it was completed, Hoover Dam was noted not just for its immensity and the speed of its construction, but also for its architectural design and the testament it bore out about the technology of the era. Come to think of it, that matches up against the GT-R better than we expected: We've been waiting about four years for this car; it obviously brings joy to anyone who uses it; and it's one hell of a technological marvel.
Of course, there are significant differences. The Hoover Dam is constructed with 3.4 million cubic yards of steel-reinforced concrete, while the car is constructed of the usual combination of steel, composites, rubber, glass, etc. Hoover Dam's 17 generators are capable of producing 2,074 megawatts, or roughly 2.8 million horsepower; the GT-R's 480 horses are paltry by comparison, even if the car's performance suggests it's actually quite a bit more than that; at nearly 4,000 pounds, the acceleration the GT-R displays indicates more than 500 horses by our estimate. The dam's electricity production and water containment arguably made the modern version of Las Vegas possible, leading us to another comparison we made. However, the GT-R has one major advantage over this incredible Depression-era achievement: You can drive it. For gearheads, the choice is obvious: GT-R for the win.