First DriveNissan’s performance poster-boy grows old with surprising grace but is falling behind the pace of the super-sports elite
First DriveSubtle changes make standard GT-R more appealing to drive, but by creating the GT-R Nismo, Nissan has left us with the job of choosing between the two...
What is it?
This is the Nissan GT-R Spec V, the long-awaited hardcore version of Japan’s formidable GT-R supercoupe. Think of it as the 911 GT3 RS of the GT-R world.
Conceived as a track day special that you can also take down to the shops, the Nissan GT-R Spec V has race-spec suspension and Nissan’s first ever use of carbon-ceramic brakes for the road. Riding on unique Bridgestone Potenza RE070R run-flats, the lightweight package is designed to lift the GT-R’s already outrageous cornering speed to the next level.
The Nissan GT-R Spec V shares its 20-inch alloys, titanium exhaust and carbonfibre Recaro bucket seats with the GT-R Clubsports, a NISMO special launched in Japan late last year. But it has shed a further 60kg through extensive use of carbonfibre and by losing its rear seats.
Power is provided by the same 478bhp 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 rather than the 550bhp engine that some in Japan predicted. But it has a novel boost control system that provides an extra 15lb ft torque, the idea being to enable you to exit corners in a higher gear.
What’s it like?
A GT-R of any stripe is still a big, bulky thing, but also gut-wrenchingly fast. The engine spools up in devastating fashion and the twin-clutch gearbox slams through the gears faster than you can think. It really is something else.
What sets the Spec V apart is the agility of its direction changes and the way you can brake so much later and deeper into a corner. The steering action is as meaty and well judged as ever, and the car is noticeably more eager to turn in than other GT-Rs.
The suspension is 20 per cent stiffer than standard, yet the Spec V isn’t as raw, hard and uncompromising as you might think. Grip levels are immense, especially at the front, but it is ultimately more tail-happy and nervy than the standard GT-R if you don’t get your point of entry just right. For the serious driver this extra ‘edge’ could be something to relish.
As for that curious boost control device, you need to be in third gear or higher (and also above 3000rpm), for it to work. Does it work? After a fashion, but one of Japan’s top race aces reckons its effect will be more readily felt by most drivers on the road.
Should I buy one?
If you want the ultimate factory Nissan GT-R, and access to those fabulous carbon-ceramic brakes, then the answer must be yes. But is it really different and exotic enough to warrant its mighty Japanese price tag of £112,500, when a standard GT-R can be had for £61,500? Perhaps, seeing as Nissan is only planning to make 30 units a month, all for Japan. European sales are set for this autumn but still to be officially confirmed.