Edmunds Full-Test & Video - Nissan GT-R Spec V

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Godzilla on Steroids

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    The Nissan GT-R Nismo is a street car that can be driven on the track, while the GT-R Spec V is a track car that can be driven on the street.

    By Peter Lyon, Contributor
    Date posted: 03-27-2009

    Twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 - 485 hp; 448 lb-ft of torque - Carbon-ceramic brakes - 3,704 pounds

    The 2009 Nissan GT-R SpecV breaks the law.

    Actually the GT-R has been breaking the law since last year. Before then, the Japanese car industry kept its high-performance cars below a ceiling of 280 horsepower, an unwritten, yet very real limit established by the Japanese government back in 1989.

    But the Nissan GT-R shattered the glass ceiling with its 480-hp twin-turbo V6. And now the 2009 Nissan GT-R SpecV pushes even farther past the barrier, further reinforcing the GT-R's status as a true supercar. Just over a year since the car's introduction, Nissan has given a shot of steroids to Godzilla, creating the most extreme road-going machine that Japan has ever seen.

    And we've got the test numbers to prove it.

    The Extreme Edition

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    There will be 30 Spec Vs built every month for the Japanese market; the car won't be coming to the U.S.

    Since we first spied the prototype of the 2009 Nissan GT-R SpecV while it was being tested at the Nürburgring last year, much has been reported about this high-performance version of the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive GT-R. We've heard about its lightweight carbon-fiber body parts, overboost turbo control, carbon-ceramic brakes, unique suspension setup and special tires. Now we've been invited to Nissan's test track at Tochigi, about two hours from Tokyo, to drive the SpecV. And we've brought along our VBOX to record some performance data.

    Kazutoshi Mizuno himself leads us out onto the blacktop at the proving ground, and the GT-R's chief engineer is raving about the ultra-special upgrades represented by this SpecV edition. We feel a little bit like Mel Gibson in Mad Max, as the Goose leads him down into an underground workshop to reveal that thundering 600-hp pursuit special. The Goose beams, "You can shut the gate on this one, Maxy. It's the duck's guts!"

    Now Mizuno might not be as colorful with his description, but he is no less enthusiastic. He's the only chief engineer we know of who reports directly to the boss of his car company, and you understand why after hearing his philosophy, "Supercars according to Mizuno."

    For example, Mizuno says, "We thought the opposite to most engineers; we thought backward. For our GT-R, we first came up with a target curb weight of around 3,860 pounds and then thought, 'Now, what do we need to achieve that weight?'"

    Time To Lose Weight

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    The Spec V track-ready suspension and tires improve the GT-R's performance in the slalom test.

    Sitting here on the asphalt at Tochigi, the 2009 Nissan GT-R SpecV looks more menacing than the standard GT-R. It wears $5,900 in optional Ultimate Black Opal paint (a shade of deep purple), as well as a grille, front brake ducts and rear wing made from lightweight carbon fiber. The forged-aluminum 20-inch wheels by Rays Engineering also reduce weight. To shed further pounds, Mizuno also directed the removal of the two tight-fitting rear seats, replacing them with soft plastic covers. The Recaro seats up front are built up from thin carbon-fiber shells to reduce weight as well.

    All told, the SpecV lost 132 pounds, dropping its curb weight to 3,704 pounds. To tell the truth, though, we really had hoped as much as 220 pounds could have been dropped from the bottom line.

    It is time for some more of the Mizuno mind. "The GT-R is the anyone-anywhere-anytime supercar," he says. "This is a car tailored to those drivers who really enjoy fast driving and like to push a car to its limits on a track. That's why we strived to build it with the best brakes in the world."

    VDC or Launch Control?

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    For the Spec V, Code Red is mandatory.

    With a nod from Mizuno, we flick the starter button and the SpecV springs to life with a deeper, throatier burble than the stock GT-R, all thanks to the titanium exhaust system we've seen before in the Nismo edition of the GT-R. The SpecV's twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 has been painted black instead of silver, and it gets an extra 5 hp over the original GT-R's output for a total of 485 hp. It's not the 500 hp we hoped for, but as Mizuno explains, "That was not our aim. We wanted to lift the on-road thrill factor, not power."

    As part of this effort to give the engine more punch if not more power, the turbos are allowed to exceed their customary boost level when the transmission is in the taller gears, increasing the V6's torque to 448 pound-feet between 3,500 and 5,000 rpm, an increase in peak output of 14 lb-ft.

    As we readied ourselves to unleash the car for an acceleration run, Mizuno made sure that we knew about the retuned VDC stability control unit, a modification for all GT-Rs, including the SpecV. He strongly suggested that we leave the VDC engaged, as revisions to the engine's programming (including more midrange boost, we suspect) mean that the car is now as fast with the VDC engaged as it used to be with it disengaged.

    "Oh, so you don't want us to use the launch control?" we said with a smile.

    To which he replied with a half smile of his own, "What are you talking about? The GT-R has no such feature." Mizuno was just toeing the Nissan company line, because Japanese regulations specify that road cars cannot have launch control systems.

    Quick Reactions

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    Just as with every new GT-R, the Spec V's VDC stability control has been recalibrated.

    Since we're leaving the VDC engaged, there's no need for a dramatic getaway with the tires spinning and the engine pegged at 4,500 rpm. Too much stress on the gearbox, Mizuno reminds us. Instead we take his advice and just transfer our right boot gently off the brake and floor the throttle.

    The 2009 Nissan GT-R SpecV takes off instantly with virtually no tire spin, and the car catapults to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.7 seconds (3.3 seconds with 1 foot of rollout), while the quarter-mile flies by in 11.5 seconds at 124.2 mph. This compares with our recent retest of our long-term GT-R with its new Nissan-mandated recalibrated VDC switched on, which gets to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.6 seconds (3.4 seconds with 1 foot of rollout) and makes its pass through the quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds at 118.5 mph.

    We're impressed. This is a different testing venue than we have in the U.S. (not to mention a different test driver), but once the proper weather correction factors are taken into account, the SpecV appears to be running with the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. The supercharged 638-hp ZR1 does zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds (3.5 seconds with 1 foot of rollout) and gets through the quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds at 128.3 mph.

    Driving the Cones

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    With even more grip than before, the GT-R Spec V rarely makes a wrong move.

    Yet we expect to be even more impressed by the SpecV's performance in the slalom. This new suspension setup has been optimized by the Nissan engineers for a preferred mix of street and track capability, and the Bilstein dampers are not adjustable.

    These tires might look like standard 20-inch Bridgestone Potenza RE070Rs, but they're not. To withstand the extreme braking produced by the SpecV's brake setup with its carbon-ceramic rotors and Brembo callipers (six-piston units in front and four-piston items in the rear), Mizuno asked Bridgestone to add rigidity to the sidewalls and shoulders and then to produce a tread pattern that puts more rubber in contact with the road (which sounds to us somewhat like the Dunlop SP Sport tire on the standard GT-R).

    There's a titanic amount of grip. On the skid pad at Tochigi, we get 1.12g, a sensational improvement over the stock all-wheel-drive GT-R's 0.93g. This performance also edges the Corvette ZR1, which we've measured at 1.06g.

    Pushing the all-wheel-drive SpecV through the slalom, we immediately notice just how much more composed this GT-R is at speed. There's no understeer and the steering is alive with more feedback from the tires than ever before. Unfortunately there are issues with our data-logging technique, but help from some VBOX experts in Japan seems to peg our speed at 74.7 mph, almost 1 mph faster than our long-term GT-R with its Bridgestone Potenza RE070R tires. This also puts the SpecV on par with the Corvette ZR1.

    When it comes to braking from 60 mph, though, we're unable to crack 106 feet. We might not be putting enough heat into the carbon-ceramic rotors, although a stop from this speed is also largely a matter of tires, not brakes. Or maybe the problem is dust on the asphalt. Who knows?

    At Last, We Really Drive

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    The Recaro seats are built with thin carbon-fiber shells to minimize weight.

    Mizuno next points us in the direction of the winding test track at the back of the facility. We do our first lap of Nissan's 2-mile course at about 80 percent of the SpecV's potential just to warm up the brakes. The next lap we open the throttle more and leave our braking later, diving deeper and deeper into each successive corner. And the SpecV just keeps delivering, inviting us even deeper into the turns.

    Nothing can really prepare you for the galactic braking force from carbon-ceramic brakes used to full effectiveness from high speed. We were told that up to 2 Gs of deceleration are being generated under full braking from 150 mph. Yes, it feels that brutal as your body slumps forward irresistibly when you hammer the brake pedal, like braking in a GT racing car. But the SpecV remains stable even under such extreme deceleration, lending you an eerie sense of calm even as the corner rushes toward you. You almost feel as though you are coming out of cinematic hyperspace, as the blurred scenery slows down and comes into focus. The only downside is that when the time comes to replace the rotors and pads, you'd better have $50,000 in your back pocket.

    As we exited yet another corner at Nissan's Tochigi test track, we flicked the switch on the steering wheel that engages the high-gear boost control, just to see what all the fuss is about. The switch gives you an extra 14 lb-ft of torque between 3,500 and 5,000 rpm for 80 seconds. "Just enough for a half lap of a racetrack like Fuji International Speedway," explains Mizuno.

    Twice as Much?

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    Logging the data.

    In the 2009 Nissan GT-R SpecV, Mizuno has created a GT-R track special that's packing prodigious brakes, super-grippy rubber and a suspension setup that generates both ample traction and acceptable ride levels. But all this comes at a premium — $161,800. That's double the price of the base GT-R, not to mention $50,000 more than the Corvette ZR1. At this price, the SpecV could be a hard sell in Japan, even if Nissan is building only 30 examples per month. There are no plans to bring the SpecV to the U.S.

    Just to keep our interest in the evolution of Japan's greatest ever car, Nissan will turn up at the Nürburgring with the SpecV in April, intending to break the GT-R's lap time of 7:29 set last year.

    And there's more GT-R in the pipeline. Mizuno tells us, "The SpecV, in contrast to what you might be thinking, is not the high-performance version of the GT-R." That's right. Mr. GT-R has more magic up his sleeve.

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    The Spec V wears a $5,900 coat of a purple hue called Black Opal.

    Price as Tested: $167,700

    What Works: Carbon-ceramic brakes; track-ready suspension; custom Bridgestone Potenza RE070R tires.

    What Needs Work: Too much weight; too expensive.

    Bottom Line: Phenomenal handling, but is the price worth it?

    Performance

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    The Spec V's front carbon-ceramic brake rotors are matched with six-piston calipers. Rear carbon-ceramic rotors carry four-piston calipers.

    0 - 60 (sec): 3.7
    1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 11.5 @ 124.2
    0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.3
    60 - 0 (ft): 106
    Braking Rating (Excellent, Good, Average, Poor or Very Poor): Excellent
    Slalom (mph): 74.7
    Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 1.12
    Handling Rating (Excellent, Good, Average, Poor or Very Poor): Excellent

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  2. Formz

    Formz Hipster Santa OT Supporter

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    even edmunds likes steroids
     
  3. dataset

    dataset New Member

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    over $160k for a Nissan :bowrofl:
     
  4. nuclear

    nuclear OT Supporter

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  5. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

    WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot New Member

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    Too much $$$$
     
  6. you know me

    you know me OT where the douchbags play

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    nice performance
    not nice price
     
  7. patina

    patina OT Supporter

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    .
     
  8. BoogieKnight

    BoogieKnight Active Member

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    167K for a Spec V?! :bowrofl:

    Give a ZR1 and a weekend to waste the remainder on strippers and blow.
     
  9. supersymmetry

    supersymmetry Active Member

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    very impressive numbers. but wtf $160k for essentially a GTR with some weight savings and better suspension :ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh:
     
  10. Creed Bratton

    Creed Bratton OT Supporter

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    Bored with GTR bandwagon.
     
  11. DI2009

    DI2009 New Member

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    I'd rather buy a used Supra and drop 100k in mods.
     
  12. OneTwo

    OneTwo me>you OT Supporter

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    amazing performance
    price = no
     
  13. evolude

    evolude OT Supporter

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    :rofl: @ caption and photo..
     
  14. evolude

    evolude OT Supporter

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  15. viper966

    viper966 Eat a Bag of Dicks

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    bah... ill take a normal GTR + small mods+ sticky tires for 96% of the perforamnce
     
  16. supersymmetry

    supersymmetry Active Member

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    you mean for 100% of the performance
     
  17. PAK88mm

    PAK88mm Kharkov CounterOffensive '43 "Mansteins Counterstr OT Supporter

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    YEOUCH!! for that im fucking drivin a porsche and getting mad pussy!
     
  18. Michinda

    Michinda Last Tango ♪ ♫ ♬ ♩ OT Supporter

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    With that money, I would rather get GT-R, M3 and a Prius.
     
  19. ACLdestroyer

    ACLdestroyer OT Supporter

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    :rofl:
     
  20. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Active Member

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    So what else is coming? :eek3:
     
  21. ABSTRAKT

    ABSTRAKT per aspera ad astra

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  22. Scream_Phoenix

    Scream_Phoenix Handsome Boy Model

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    160k is ridiculous. 50k for ceramic brakes replacements. are they optional?
     
  23. supersymmetry

    supersymmetry Active Member

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    A 490hp GTR :eek3:
     
  24. evolude

    evolude OT Supporter

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    hate you
     
  25. huge

    huge OT Supporter

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    damn, just get a regular GT-R and mod it yourself
     

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