This Autocar match-up proved there was a multitude of approaches to creating a Japanese performance car.
Before this test, Chris Harris, charged with refereeing, admitted he would have plumped for Godzilla, with its hissing overboost and four driven Bridgestones. The NSX’s legacy meant little to him, he said, because he’d been raised on Gran Turismo and naturally gravitated towards turbo-nutter rockets.
The revised NSX came with mild cosmetic tweaks, revised suspension, larger tyres and a lower price than before, at £59,995. But the same 3179cc V6 sat longitudinally between the axles and produced a claimed 276bhp at 7300rpm and 224lb ft at 5300rpm.
The £54,000 Skyline GT-R registered the same 276bhp on the dyno, this time at 6800rpm, but pummelled the Honda for torque, deploying 293lb ft at 4400rpm through its computer-controlled four-wheel drive.
Harris headed to Wales, instantly impressed by the Honda’s cruising comfort and ride quality. “It never crashes or thumps too hard into stuff and adds a genuine GT edge,” he wrote.
The Honda’s strengths were thrown into sharp contrast by the GT-R: “It has long been a motorway torture tool but is worse than I recall when I finally do switch. The ride is impossibly hard – no, that’s untrue: it doesn’t ride at all.”
But deeper into Wales, the GT-R came into its own: “Unrelenting firmness at a cruise translates into race-car body control on a sumptuous mix of A-roads and B-roads. It’s the Nissan engineers’ take on four-wheel drive that sets it apart from anything else. This should be a chassis configuration which promotes grip and traction; designed to eliminate both under and oversteer and generally rid the world of sideways motoring. Yet the four-wheel-drive Skyline plays hooligan longer and harder than just about any other car on sale, because it’s a rear-driver in drag.”