With used prices for Nissan’s supercar-baiting GT-R starting at £35k, Godzilla is well within reach of the common man
30 January 2017

With a new model costing from £80,000, today’s 562bhp Nissan GT-R faces a fistful of rivals, at least on price.

But how about a seven-year-old model touting 479bhp for £35,000? Alternatives that inspire the same shock and awe are thin on the ground, although you might consider a used Audi R8 of 2007 or a new Ford Mustang V8 GT.

Only ‘might’, though. The fact is, the four-wheel-drive GT-R that was launched in Europe in 2009 – and subsequently lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7min 26.7sec – is rather different from these and most others.

Every schoolkid knows the GT-R’s tyres are filled with nitrogen (assuming owners have resisted forecourt airlines) and its twinturbo 3.8-litre V6 is hand-built. Only the swot at the back of the class, however, can tell you it has the world’s first independent four-wheel drive transaxle, mounted at the rear and incorporating the dual-clutch automatic gearbox and final drive for near-perfect weight distribution, and that the suspension is Bilstein’s DampTronic active set-up.

Just 10 Nissan High Performance Centres (it’s what sellers mean when they write ‘full NHPC history’ in ads) were appointed to handle sales and servicing of the R35-series GT-R. Early cars came in a choice of three specs: standard, Premium (Bose sound system, automatic headlights) and Black Edition (powered leather seats). All three can do 0-62mph in 3.5sec, with a top speed of 193mph.

Only a few months later Nissan’s GT-R team updated the car with revised suspension and tweaked the engine and transmission software for better low-speed behaviour and more aggressive gearchanges. Inside, the infotainment system gained an improved sat-nav.

In October 2010 power was raised to 523bhp, the body was stiffened and a new R mode permitted faster standing starts (when the oil temperature was at a safe operating level). A raft of body tweaks improved stability and cooling performance, while detail styling changes included magnesium in the paddle shifters. The new £70,000 starting price for all of this is one reason why 2009 cars resist depreciation so well.

In early 2012 the GT-R’s power rose again to 545bhp, bringing 0-62mph under three seconds. The car gained an asymmetric suspension set-up providing a firmer spring rate on the left side to counter the combined weight of the driver and propshaft on the right. The Recaro edition with Recaro seats joined the line-up, too. Fuel economy improved by 0.5mpg to 24mpg. Incidentally, road tax is £515 across all models.

In the spirit of continuous betterment, subsequent years have brought further ride, handling and performance improvements to the GT-R, culminating in today’s £150,000, 592bhp GT-R Nismo – a cool £115,000 dearer than the starting price for a 2009 car, which is our pick for supercar value.

An expert’s view...

IAN LITCHFIELD, LITCHFIELD

“The GT-R’s engine is so strong we warrant it at 750bhp without any internal strengthening. Equally as strong are residual values, partly because Nissan keeps raising the new prices. The GT-R was £53,000; today, prices start at £80,000, and at heart it’s the same car. Each time Nissan launches a new one, it gives used ones an extra boost. You just can’t buy another supercar for the money that’s as usable or tunable. But they are expensive to run, so just as the performance isn’t for the fainthearted, neither are the bills.”

Buyer beware...

ENGINE

Chains can stretch, causing tensioner wear, and should be replaced at around 70,000 miles. It’s a £2k engine-out job. Noises from bell housing could be flywheel shaft bearings. Interrogate the ECU to check the number of launch control starts, plus additional historic data (see ‘Also worth knowing’).

SERVICE HISTORY

For pre-2012 cars, services are six months or 6000 miles; thereafter, 12 months or 9000 miles. Bills can vary hugely, so check if a big one is due.

TRANSMISSION, STEERING

Transmission is noisy, so don’t worry unduly. Gearbox selector problems aren’t unknown on 2008 Japan-spec cars. Transaxle needs a fluid change every 18 months or 18k miles. Steering lock unit was a recall on early cars.

CHASSIS

Older cars can suffer weeping dampers. Front lower arm bushes can crack on high-mileage cars but are simple to replace. Appetite for tyres and brakes is ferocious.

ELECTRICS

Early cars had stereo issues, plus recalls for failed instrument lighting.

BODYWORK

Paint chips easily, causing rust spots; neglect here could spell neglect elsewhere. Some early cars had bubbling paint under the door mirrors, fixed by Nissan. Check fit/alignment of the bonnet. The single-use pedestrianfriendly item can cost £10k to replace.

INTERIOR

Acres of plastic can deteriorate in direct sun (surfaces become sticky) and be easily scratched.

Also worth knowing...

Nissan’s High Performance Centres are equipped to maintain GT-Rs and can interrogate your car’s software. For around £55, they’ll download its performance history, so you’ll be privy to all of your car’s darkest secrets.

How much to spend...

£35,000-£39,500

Private and dealer 2009 Premium and Black Editions. Also Litchfield Stage 1 or 2 Black Editions plus dealer-sale Premium cars.

£40,000-£45,000

Immaculate 2009 cars but 2010s within range, including dealer cars.

£46,000-£50,000

Lots of 2011-2013s, including approved used 2012 Recaros and low-mile Litchfield Stage 1 and 2 cars.

£51,000-£58,000

Low-mileage 2012-2014 cars, most of them Recaros.

£59,000 ON

Low-mileage, approved used 2014- 2015 Recaros and Premium Editions.

John Evans

Need a Nissan GT-R in your life after reading this? Check out some used examples for sale on the PistonHeads Classifieds right here:

Our Verdict

Nissan GT-R

Revamp aims to make the ageing Japanese super-coupé more usable

Join the debate

Comments
10

30 January 2017
Are maintenance and repair costs also within reach of the "common man"?

No manual - no fun

30 January 2017
But not the common woman it would seem?

jer

30 January 2017
Wondering about costs, guessing insurance 1.5k tax 0.5. Annual service average 1k. Tyres and brakes 1k annually. But paid by lower depreciation. Say 3k per year. Gives annual costs including dep 7k... Pure guesswork. I always work on 5-6k including depreciation on a couple of years old exec car..

30 January 2017
That's a lot of money for a 8 year old Nissan with 80,000 on the clock with high running costs. You could get a new Focus RS for the same money. Still each to their own

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

30 January 2017
I might be a badge snob but I'd go for the Audi R8 over this anytime (even if it's not as quick). Frankly it looks much nicer and more like a supercar than this which let's not forget is made by the same company that makes the awful Micra.

30 January 2017
TStag wrote:

I might be a badge snob but I'd go for the Audi R8 over this anytime (even if it's not as quick). Frankly it looks much nicer and more like a supercar than this which let's not forget is made by the same company that makes the awful Micra.

Must admit I share similar sentiments about the GTR. It's an incredible performance machine, but is nothing special to the eye.


30 January 2017
TStag wrote:

I might be a badge snob but I'd go for the Audi R8 over this anytime (even if it's not as quick). Frankly it looks much nicer and more like a supercar than this which let's not forget is made by the same company that makes the awful Micra.

Must admit I share similar sentiments about the GTR. It's an incredible performance machine, but is nothing special to the eye.


30 January 2017
I often wonder how the same company can make the Micra and the GTR. It's like Apple launching the iPhone 8 as well as a Sinclair Spectrum clone. Baseline standards should be set for every company.

Steve Jobs legendary advice to a struggling Nike was "You make some incredible products as well as a whole load of c**p. Stope making the c**p.".

The Micra is a low profit, low prestige car. If they can't make it great they shouldn't make it at all.

30 January 2017
If you can't afford to lease a new one you probably can't afford to run an old one...... (like my friend who bought a BMW M5 V10 and then got hit with £1,700 new brakes, £1,200 new tyres....)

 

 

 

30 January 2017
Used to sell these from launch and cannot think of another car that has made me giggle every time I drove it! Absolutely awesome with 479hp, so must be phenomenal with the current outputs! We took some fantastic cars in p/x, such as a Murcialago, 360 Scuderia, F430 Spider, R8 V8, AMV8 Vantage, 911 Turbo etc etc and not a single one made me as excited to drive on the 70 mile round trip to work (I often 'borrowed' the p/x's to give them a thorough appraisal ;-) as the GT-R did. However, tyres at £500 a corner, discs and pads at well over £2k allround and real life economy of 15mpg without thrashing it, puts it out of most peoples reach, even at £35k. Much as I'd love one, I cant help thinking of the reason most of our customers bought these....track days and launch control! I'd be worried I was buying a massive headache! A new one though...I wish!

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