NISSAN GT-R (R35) (2007-ON)
Our first contender will come as no surprise whatsoever. The greatest Japanese performance car ever rivals the world’s finest supercars, yet comes at a fraction of the price. And you can now buy a good example for less than £35,000. Boasting a hi-tech six-speed semi-automatic transmission with paddleshifts and a space-age four-wheel drive system, it’s also seriously tuneable.
First launched in Japan in December 2007, UK versions didn’t arrive until spring 2009. Powered by a 478bhp 3799cc V6 VR38DETT engine, with two parallel IHI turbochargers, 62mph is reached in a mere 3.5 seconds and the original R35 topped out at over 190mph. Well specced, too, all UK models have part-leather seats, climate control, cruise control, a Grand Turismo LCD information screen, an alarm system, forged 20in alloys and electric seats as standard, while Premium Edition cars came with a Bose sound system and automatic headlights.
In 2010 power rose to 485bhp whilst in 2011 the output for the facelifted model reached 523bhp with extensive revisions to the transmission making for a smoother drive in auto mode. Continually evolving, 2012 saw power rise once again to 542bhp and Nissan’s 2013 models were reconfigured to deliver even better engine response, ride comfort and handling. And this year power jumped to 562bhp, despite changes designed to make the GT-R ‘easier’ to live with.
At the heart of all GT-RS beats a 3.8litre twin turbo V6 which, when combined with ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive, bespoke Bilstein suspension, a six-speed semi-automatic transmission, launch control and space-age aerodynamics, is capable in its latest guise of a staggering 193mph. A perfect starting point for our 200mph challenge.
You can find quite a few earlier GT-RS now advertised in the £35,000 to
£40,000 range, with a few highermileage examples for a few grand less. Still a fairly large sum, but an incredibly stable and durable starting point, with reassuringly high levels of grip and inbuilt safety systems – after all, 200mph is still a pretty scary speed.
Fortunately, taking a GT-R to the 200mph mark doesn’t require a massive amount of further modifications – such is its out-of-the-box potential. As Amar Dhillon at GT-R tuning experts Severn Valley Motorsport explains: ‘You can purchase an R35 GT-R now for as little as £30k to £35k for a 2009 model 485bhp version, and with even a stage 1 conversion the car will be capable of 200mph, given enough space.’ Impressive stuff. ‘To be honest an R35 GT-R is one of the most competent cars that you can buy to be stable at high speeds,’ Amar confirms. ‘It will do 200mph by just increasing the power, whilst running the stock internals and transmission. There are no real key issues to overcome.’
And something like Severn Valley Motorsport’s own 570R conversion would do the job perfectly. Designed for GT-R owners looking to give their R35 a boost in performance, not only does it increase horsepower but it provides added torque and overall increases the acceleration. The bespoke package releases between 60bhp and 70bhp – enough to reach 200mph – and SVM also offer two different ways of converting your GT-R.
The first employs COBB Pro-tuner (Gold) tuning, which is their recommended approach: ‘It offers the ability to 'see' in real-time what your
GT-R is doing, with new engine and gearbox software as standard, real-time performance gauges displayed on the Cobb unit, and data-logging,’ Amar tells us. ‘In addition, you would need an SVM stainless steel 90mm Y-pipe, revised ignition and fuelling maps, tweaks to the launch control map and a full safety check – and that’s about all.’ Amazingly this would cost just £1595 fitted, giving you 200mph potential for an overall outlay of around £35,000.
If you would prefer your GT-R tuned using ECUTEK software SVM can do that, too, using a similar set of other modifications, with boost pressure controllable via the steering wheel. Add in optional upgrades to the gearbox software, costing £300, and an ECUTEK Cable for another £228, and the total price with this approach is just £1623 fitted, including VAT.
However, if your pockets are just that little bit deeper then Amar recommends SVM’S stage 4 COBB 602R conversion, complete with a K&N Hi-flow cone filter, ASNU 1050cc or 1100cc injectors, SVM 80mm MAF intake pipes (with MAF housings), an SVM stainless steel 102mm Y-pipe, and an SVM stainless steel 102mm exhaust system. The price fitted is just £4699 including VAT. ‘And this full fat Stage 4 conversion packs a truly fantastic punch as well as offering great value for money,’ Amar rightly points out. For under £40k you could have a 200mph-plus supercar!