Here's the thing about this Nissan GT-R: it's the special Track Edition, which means it has, among other things, a feature called rear seat delete. That means no back seat. Having a two seater car means you don't want kids now, but who knows about the future? Rear seat delete means sure, you've thought about kids, and, hell no.
The owner of a Miata or a Boxster clearly isn't at the toting-around-a-miniature-human part of their life, but the inability of their cars to even try it is just part of the car's design. It was never meant to do it. But when you have a car that could tote around your partner and your kid and you go out of your way to specify options to make your car less able to do that, that's a pretty good sign you don't want kids. And that's exactly why this may be the best Will It Baby car ever.
Because nobody in their right mind would select this car to use with kids, and making improbable cars go through the indignity of child-hauling, well, that's pretty much what it's all about. And, surprisingly, the GT-R, even the Very Serious Track Edition manages to be a usable kid-hauler.
At first, I wasn't sure I could make it work— instead of a back seat there's a thin, quilted pad that snaps over the two gaping holes in the back of the car. I tried to sit on them, and it's pretty clearly not a seat — wires and bolt heads press into your back like some sort of sadistic accupressure robot, and the large, padded cross-member is situated at exactly the right position to keep your knees from behaving in any natural fashion. So the back is genuinely useless as a seat.
But, even though the seats are deleted, one of the baby seat LATCH anchors did survive the purge! Which gave me just enough hope to try. The upper center LATCH is present, and while normally you need two other to anchor the lower part of the seat, I found some convient metal frame edges that held the clips just fine.
The normal, non-track edition GT-R has a real back seat with the full complement of actual LATCH points, so I'm sure on any other GT-R version, this should be much easier.
With the baby seat in place, the GT-R becomes a fascinating baby-hauler, in that it can haul your precious offspring at genuinely, absurdly fast speeds. I'll do a full GT-R review soon, but the general gist is that this car feels like a wildly advanced machine designed to haul ass, and the four-wheels layout just happened to be the best way to get there.
When it comes to the usability of the GT-R as a toddler-toting machine, it's interesting that its best trait is also the same one that makes it interesting to everyone else: the speed. The first time I really put my foot down I was rewarded with one of the most determined and unrelenting senses of forward motion I've ever experienced while sober and not falling down a flight of stairs. I know on paper the 0-60 time is something like 2.7 seconds, but those numbers just don't convey the dizzily intoxicating sense of speed you feel. And my kid loved it.
"Daddy, go fast? Go fast?" became the refrain every time we got in the car. It's like the California DMV genetically engineered my son to make me lose my license. When I got to a clear stretch of road I'd bury the pedal and both father and son would squeal with idiotic glee as we surged forward. One time I really opened the speed-robot up, which caused the pleas of "go fast?" to turn into "Go home? Go home?" which made me feel guilty for the all of two minutes before they turned back into "Go fast?"
Otto still gets in the car and asks to "Go Fast?" a question which, in our 108 HP Scion xB, usually goes unanswered.
From a more practical standpoint, the GT-R is a pretty mixed bag, baby-use-wise. It's not exactly small, so the trunk easily swallows our large folding jogger stroller without too much drama, though the opening is a little tight. The cabin itself is a good size, so even with a baby seat in the back seat — or, in the case of the Track edition, where the seat would be — there's still plenty of legroom up front.
Getting the little one into the back is no picnic, and the action required to get the kid into the seat feels sort of like hiding a 25 lb salami into a hidden salami safe behind a bookshelf that only pulls away from the wall about 4 inches. You know the kind.
Since a big part of how effective a baby car is has to do with how well your kid can sleep in it, it's worth talking about the ride and noise of the GT-R. The track edition has almost no soundproofing or insulation in the back of the car, so noise from the rear transaxle and suspension parts are pretty noticeable. There's all kinds of whirrs and klunks and ratchety sounds coming from back there, and while I think they're a big part of the character of the car, it's possible some babies and toddlers won't be able to sleep through them.
Otto had no problem with it at all, and was also fine with the car's ride, which can be harsh, the suspension being quite stiff. It's one of the most race car-feeling street cars I've driven, feeling purposeful and unashamedly mechanical. Placing the suspension in "comfort" mode helps the situation a good bit, but it's still no Lincoln Town Car. And it shouldn't be.
Also unlike an old Town Car is the gas mileage, which is far less awful than you'd think, around 16 MPG. For the way this car encourages you to drive, that's pretty respectable.
I'll cover this more in the straight review of the car, but the GT-R has its own compelling feeling. It's not a brute-force muscle car like a GT500 or something, but you can feel those 545 horses just as well as anything. Lots of people refer to the car as Godzilla, but really I think it's a sort of Mechagodzilla. It's wildly advanced, and it feels like it. It feels more like a robot you crawl into to go fast more than anything else. And that's not something normally felt in a family car.
So, the end result here is that, yes, you could use a GT-R SpecV Track Editon, all 545 HP and Mechagodzilla brutality of it, as a car for you and your partner and your offspring. It's not that easy, bit it's not as difficult as you'd think, either. Entry and exit is rough, the ride is harsh, it's noisy over bumps and at speed, the speedometer has about 1/8" of play before you're in felony territory, anything dropped under the seats is better forgotten, and there's not much in the way of storage for all the little bits of stuff toddlerhood demands.
But then you push on that gas pedal, and you and your kid are laughing like maniacs, and it's better than all the roomy, quiet, convenient cars in the world.