Prices have plummeted, but is now the right time to scoop one up?
Nissan took the sports car market by storm in 2008 with the R35 GT-R. Back then, there were very few sports cars that could beat the GT-R in a drag race or around a track. The GT-R was even more impressive when you factored in its $70,000 or so base price. Even cars that cost twice as much had trouble matching the GT-R's performance. Fast forward eight years to 2016 and the R35 hasn't changed much. Nissan has added various updates, a recent refresh and special models, but the basic underpinnings are still basically the same.
What has changed is the GT-R's price tag. A new 2017 model will set you back $109,990. The 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 now makes 565 horsepower compared to the 2008's 485 horsepower. Now that the GT-R costs over $100,000, it isn't the budget option that is was back in 2008. This made us wonder: Would you be better off buying a used early model instead of a new one? In the US, for example, you can find an R35 GT-R for just under $50,000. These are 2009 and 2010 models, most of which have over 50,000 miles. These examples will all be out of warranty, so is it too big of a risk to purchase one? Just because this car wears a Nissan badge doesn't mean that maintenance will be cheap.
The transmission in the GT-R was a problem for early models. Nissan was actually hit with a class-action lawsuit after owners suffered transmission failures. Owners would need to replace the transmission to the tune of $20,000 after using the launch control. If you do buy a used GT-R, you need to be able to budget for possible expensive repairs.
When Edmunds had a 2009 GT-R as a long-term test car, they experienced numerous trips back to the dealership. Aside from having to replace the GT-R's expensive tires, Edmunds had plenty of issues with their car that ended up costing a lot of money. There were numerous check engine lights and a service for the transmission oil that cost over $2,000. The time that Edmunds spent with the GT-R really was illuminating and we highly suggest that you read about their experience if you intend to buy a used GT-R. Although you can pick up a second-hand GT-R for less than half the price of a new one, we still think that the cars can get much cheaper.
Sooner or later, most cars that are expensive to maintain plummet in value. The GT-R is an odd case because prices haven't really gone down too much. Although the 2009 and 2010 GT-Rs that we found do cost half as much as a new one, they haven't lost that much value compared to when they were new, losing only around $25,000 of value in over six years. Because Nissan has continued to increase the price of the newest GT-R, we think that used prices are artificially high. When the R35 starts to drop below the $40,000 mark, we might be tempted to pull the trigger.