NIS­SAN GT-R (R35) (2007-ON)

Japanese Performance - - FEATURES -

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!

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