Nissan lets the games begin

There isn’t much that’s different about the limited-edition Nissan 350Z GT4, but starting with the superb 350Z coupé as a base car is a pretty major bonus. The limited run is linked with the launch of Sony’s fantastic new driving game for Playstation 2, Gran Turismo 4, in which this car features.For £29,500 – a £2500 premium over standard – 176 UK owners will get an extra 20bhp, thanks to revised pistons, camshaft and exhaust valve timing, with 296bhp delivered 200rpm higher than the standard car at 6400rpm. It knocks a scant 0.1sec off the 0-60mph time, taking it to 5.7sec, but it sounds quite a bit meatier doing it.Each car is individually badged and numbered, and is fitted with very attractive five-spoke 18in alloys which you won’t see anywhere else. The colours are also unique: high-luminance Ultra Yellow for 76 cars, and Kuro Black for the rest.The equipment level is high, including electrically-adjustable black leather seats and an uprated Bose stereo with a six-disc in-dash changer. Oh, and in the boot of every GT4 is a gift box containing – you guessed it – a copy of Gran Turismo 4 and a PlayStation 2.Drive the car in the game and you’ll soon be hacking round the Nürburgring circuit in a shade under eight minutes. We’re not sure the real car will be that fast around the real track, but it certainly doesn’t want for pace on the road. The extra urge is useful, especially through the gears at higher speeds.This is a great car – a properly hard-nosed and tough-natured machine that rewards skilled driving. The gearchange is heavy and mechanical and you always know you’re not driving a car that particularly wants to help you out. It needs to be driven, the faster the better, and it has a nicely balanced rear-wheel drive chassis with which you can exploit the engine’s considerable urge. It makes all the right noises and responds to your inputs with real precision.The GT4 game is undoubtedly a work of genius but, if you can afford it, the real car with the same name is even better.Bill Thomas

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