2013 Nissan GT-R Black Edition: The Gran Turismo Car

Getting Power To All Four Wheels

Driving the GT-R's four wheels is Nissan’s Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain Electronic Torque Split (ATTESSA E-TS) system. While previous-gen Skylines, including the first AWD R32 GT-R, featured ATTESSA E-TS, the 2013 GT-R's implementation is vastly different, exclusive to the vehicle, and very technologically-complex. Understandably, Nissan wants to protect the inner electronic workings of its ATTESSA E-TS system. But the company did divulge quite a bit of information to us.

The GT-R's drivetrain isn’t conventional in the sense that it mates the engine to the transmission up front, sending power to the wheels from there. Instead, we have a rear-mounted transmission for optimal weight distribution and handling. But because this is an AWD car, things get more complicated. In addition to the drive shaft that connects the engine to the transmission, a second drive shaft runs parallel to the main one, tasked with powering the front wheels. The rear wheels have a limited-slip differential, while the front has an open differential.

Despite (or perhaps thanks to) the complicated setup, the car can split torque from 0:100 to 50:50, with a bias towards the rear wheels. Torque distribution varies based on the vehicle’s speed, lateral acceleration, steering angles, tire traction, road surfaces, and yaw rate. There’s an added bit of science in the yaw-rate feedback control that’s exclusive to the GT-R too: the car's computer calculates the differences between the target yaw rate (calculated from the steering angle) and actual yaw rate to adjust torque bias accordingly. If you’re unsure what yaw is, just imagine the accelerometer in your smartphone; that's essentially what the GT-R's yaw-rate sensor is measuring.

Adding to the complexity is a separate ECU just for the ATTESSA E-TS system. The ECU constantly reads data from the ABS sensor at each wheel, a three-axis g-force sensor, transmission sensor, and engine ECU sensors for maximum control of power distribution across all four wheels, purportedly yielding faster reaction driving conditions. Nissan won't comment on the ATTESSA E-TS ECU's polling rates, but does acknowledge that it "needs to be extremely fast to work at top efficiency."

The transmission is a six-speed dual-clutch unit with a wet multi-plate clutch system. Essentially, it’s a very complicated manual transmission without a third pedal, but capable of shifting much faster than a human.

Control of the drivetrain is handled by a drive-by-wire gas pedal. Nissan claims the electronic input from this subsystem will always be faster than a mechanical input, improving NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) and reducing weight in the process, too. We had no complaints about the drive-by-wire throttle response; every time we pressed the pedal, our faces lit up (as I'm sure you can imagine).

Just when you thought the GT-R couldn’t get any more complicated, we move on to the suspension. Godzilla relies on a Bilstein DampTronic system, which is the marketing name for a suspension that employs a lot of vehicle sensors to actively adjust shock absorber damping for what Nissan considers an ideal balance of ride and handling performance. Bilstein's DampTronic makes its changes based on the car's speed, lateral acceleration, torque, engine speed, and braking.

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  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    blackmagnumSupercar bang-for-the-buck...Win!


    110 grand is bang for the buck now?


    When compared to vehicles that cost $300k+, yes its quite the bargain!
  • k1114
    A car review I actually didn't skip over.
  • Other Comments
  • blackmagnum
    Supercar bang-for-the-buck...Win!
  • k1114
    A car review I actually didn't skip over.
  • daswilhelm
    blackmagnumSupercar bang-for-the-buck...Win!


    110 grand is bang for the buck now?
  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    blackmagnumSupercar bang-for-the-buck...Win!


    110 grand is bang for the buck now?


    When compared to vehicles that cost $300k+, yes its quite the bargain!
  • daswilhelm
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    blackmagnumSupercar bang-for-the-buck...Win!


    110 grand is bang for the buck now?


    When compared to vehicles that cost $300k+, yes its quite the bargain!


    i'd spend my money at the porsche dealer, and not worry about imploding transmissions.
  • jossrik
    No pics of the car from the side? Just that one drawing at an angle. I'm interested, but the pics don't really give a good idea what the car actually looks like.
  • barto
    Will wait to watch on Top Gear to listen to Jeremy squeal like the first time he drove it in '09.
  • jcurry23
    is the GTR known to have imploding transmissions??
  • Jerky_san
    I doubt that car has many problems.. That's Nissan's pride and joy.. The engine being hand built kind of shows that.. Even though its minor tech oriented the pure precision and technology that went into making this beast of a car is amazing.. Blows my little evo x out of the water ;-; but I feel happy lol..
  • natoco
    It is a great bang for your buck car, but I lacks what the 300k cars have, soul and sound. Yeah I gets to 100 quick but it sounds like a vacuum doing so rather than a supercar. Would still love to have one though
  • Cataclysm_ZA
    I like the GT-R for a number of reasons, but the main one is that its very similar to Porsche. You can drive them to the racetrack, on the track or to the shopping mall in comfort. You can even service them yourself - looking at the hood everything's within an arm's reach and that makes maintenance easy. The reason why I most like it is because it's better than most super cars out there, yet costs half as much, just like the AUDI R8. How on earth Nissan keeps costs down while still performing so well is still a mystery.
  • accolite
    And I thought Toms was a pc enthusiast site now its a car site too?
  • cknobman
    Motor Trend said this car is so fast its scary and no street car should ever need to be this fast. They did a h2h against the Porsche 911 Turbo.

    Godizlla won.
  • Peter Reeves-Hall
    >is the GTR known to have imploding transmissions??

    Early models had transmission issues with stop-go street racing.
    there is a "hidden" launch control feature that gives you the ~3s 0-60mph times. However on early cars the revs that the clutch was dropped at were a little too punishing for repeat use. The later models (and earlier ones reprogrammed back at the dealership) had had the launch revs dropped and the algorithm tuned. I also hear the revided software car will only alow the driver to do a couple of such launches before you have to do some cool down miles so as to not overheat/brake the transmission. IMO most cars will break something if you keep dropping the clutch and bruning out every for a 0-60mph burn every 5 minutes for a few hours...
  • rshillshooter81
    I've never had a any problems with mine, the only down fall is the cost of the transmission flushes , brakes and tires, things like this. otherwise I've never had a problem and I've put 13k miles on mine now.
  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    No pics of the car from the side? Just that one drawing at an angle. I'm interested, but the pics don't really give a good idea what the car actually looks like.


    Sorry, didn't take any side shots of the car had to get everything done and drive to LA / LAX to drop it off to make my flight home the same day :).
  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    It is a great bang for your buck car, but I lacks what the 300k cars have, soul and sound. Yeah I gets to 100 quick but it sounds like a vacuum doing so rather than a supercar. Would still love to have one though


    Its a car for those that just want pure performance and none of the rest. I'll agree though, it does lack soul. You feel like its driving you rather than an extension of your hand, foot and mind.
  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    I've never had a any problems with mine, the only down fall is the cost of the transmission flushes , brakes and tires, things like this. otherwise I've never had a problem and I've put 13k miles on mine now.


    Just out of curiosity, how much do the transmission flushes cost? I heard if you let the temp hit 250, the fluid needs to be changed right away or it will get very pissed off. And how much do the tires cost? I can't imagine those wide tires being very cheap.
  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    And I thought Toms was a pc enthusiast site now its a car site too?


    We are a tech enthusiast site and embrace all aspects of tech, regardless of the platform.
  • bjaminnyc
    Fast but really ugly. For the price a ZR1 is way sexier and probably as fast in most situations. The GTR is a race car lacking the ascetics of a refined sports car.