From £70,895
The latest Skyline's refined, well-appointed, great to drive and bodes well for the forthcoming Nissan GTR. Its European introduction can't come soon enough

Our Verdict

Nissan GT-R
The super-coupé bargain of the decade

The Nissan GT-R is not a cheap car, but it’s better value for money than cars that are seemingly as fast

  • First Drive

    2017 Nissan GT-R Prestige review

    Nissan’s performance poster-boy grows old with surprising grace but is falling behind the pace of the super-sports elite
  • First Drive

    2014 Nissan GT-R first drive review

    Subtle 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’s new?

This just in… Germany is not the only nation on earth capable of building a swift, desirable, six cylinder, rear-drive compact saloon. Cue this all new V36 Nissan Skyline, which might indeed put the frighteners on one or two in Munich.

While the Skyline you see here is Japan only, it’s a close cousin to America’s new Infiniti G35 and Nissan’s also tipped to make a Euro spec version of the car when Infiniti finally goes live in Europe in 2008.

What’s it like?

Drive the best Skyline, this 350GT Type SP with Nissan’s strong, high-revving 3.5-litre V6 and clever new four-wheel active steering, and you discover a car that has the dynamic talent, performance and handling credentials necessary to cut it at the top of the class. No kidding.

What’s special about the Skyline is not just its speed, of which there’s plenty. It’s the chassis, the instant turn-in, the balance and grip, the way it can go around corners at absurd speeds without breaking a sweat, and flatter its driver greatly in the process.

The key to this is surely Nissan’s take on the modern art of four-wheel steering. In standard trim, the Skyline will corner flat and fast and is hard to throw off line (unless you deactivate the VDC in which case it will happily and luridly then spin its rear wheels). The 4WAS four-wheel-steer system simply raises the bar, making the well-judged steering more incisive and the Skyline more agile and fun without also making it feel darty and unnatural.

With a sporting career stretching back almost 50 years, the Skyline’s a cult hero in Japan like no other, and this latest V36 marks a return to the kind of engineering culture at Nissan when the formidable R32, R33 and R34 GT-Rs were on the drawing board. Ergo, a lot of work went into developing this new FR-L rear-drive platform and making the Skyline body and double wishbone front, multilink rear suspension as rigid as possible. And yes, it was tested exhaustively at the Nurburgring.

The Skyline also rides well, is plush and comfortable inside, refined, with good space and plenty of kit. Unfortunately, its five-speed auto only in Japan but still this is slick enough and top versions get excellent paddle shifters.

The only real question mark, perhaps, is whether the Skyline looks special enough, both inside and out, but at the least the classic four round tail lights that are part and parcel of Skyline legend are back (Nissan shocked the Skyline faithful by leaving them off the previous V35).

Should I buy one? 

If you can’t or don’t want to stretch to a BMW 335i, this Skyline 350GT makes a pretty compelling alternative. Its £17k equivalent price tag will be considerably inflated before it makes it to the UK as an Infiniti – of that you can be sure.

However, if the new Lexus IS leaves you still wondering if Japan really can build a small saloon with the quality and the character to rival a BMW 3-series, the Skyline might just be good enough to convince you.

Peter Nunn

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run