Hardcore version of a performance legend gets extra edge

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.

Peter Nunn

Join the debate

Add a comment…
aceman 19 April 2009

Re: Nissan GT-R Spec V

Why make a second one? The car is great, but how much better can you really make it? It's practically a waste of time and money. The name of this second car has a Spec V on the the end. All a bit odd for a car name. But not as bad as the name for the new IQ 2 the 2 part makes me think it's a sequel to a movie or something not an improved car! And that's exactly what's happened with the GT-R. They haven't actually improved enough and that's why I'm asking; what's the point of making it car.

iamnotthestig 31 March 2009

Re: Nissan GT-R Spec V

Hmm...still a pretty punchy premium over the 'standard' car. I guess it depends - these sort of versions aren't really aimed at people who save their pennies and stretch to make the purchase, so much as those who have enough cash that the cost premium for the top version won't really impact.

And there's the halo effect; no manufacturer can be blamed for demonstrating what their car is ultimately capable of. An engineering showcase, if you will.

Personally, I'd probably be happy 'settling' for the lower end model...!



jprestidge 31 March 2009

Re: Nissan GT-R Spec V

The price is being quoted in £ sterling having been converted from yen at the current exchange rate. This partly explains why it seems so expensive; since the GTR was launched the pound has lost around 30% of its value against the yen. My guess is that it would be around £85K if the value of the pound hadn't dropped so much in the last year or so.