THE LAST ORIENT EXPRESS (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 74
As production of this 'R35' series version of the Nissan GT-R high performance sports car drew to a close in 2020, sales focused on the glorious highly tuned Nismo version. Here, you got a real feeling for just how far Nissan had evolved this design since it was first launched way back in 2007. It remained in this form a supercar for the PlayStation generation, but it was still astonishingly accessible and frighteningly quick.
Modelsword count: 3
2dr Coupe [Nismo]
Historyword count: 405
Produced from 2007, the 'R35' generation Nissan GT-R turned out to be one of the industry's longest-running super sports cars and even near its end in 2020, it was still one of the rawest, most authentic and most exciting cars in its segment. It was fast. Very vast - as all previous GT-R models had been. Motorsport engineering was embedded into the very genes of this car. Tucked away amongst the cane fields of Hokkaido, Japan's north island, is test track that is itself a tiny piece of Germany. Signs point to Cologne and there are perfect replicas of autobahn rest stops. The road surface is Germanic and if you wait a while, you might hear the ballistic roar of a turbocharged Porsche 911 flying past at three miles a minute. Creating a supercar to beat Audi, Mercedes and, yes, Porsche requires nothing less than this kind of attention to detail. And the result, launched back in 2007, was the very first version of this 'R35'-series GT-R. Prior to this model's launch, the Japanese brand had brought us Ferrari-baiting supercars with 'GT-R' badges but they'd all been called Skylines, the original 'R32' model of 1989, then the ones we saw in Britain, the 'R33', launched here in 1997, and the 'R34' which followed it in 1999. With these cars, Nissan was learning: with this 'R35' design, which didn't make it to the UK until 2009, the gloves were off: no more Skyline references to cheaper mass-market models. This model instead was just badged 'GT-R', purpose-built for 200mph Porsche performance - at a fraction of the price. In the following years, the GT-R package was gradually evolved, with subtle updates nearly every year, but the same basic recipe remained, based around brutal styling and a rumbling 3.8-litre V6 beneath the bonnet. By 2020, this car was no longer selling at a fraction of Porsche prices - well not in this Nismo form anyway - but in performance-per-pound terms, what you got here was still pretty impressive. The Nismo model, flagship of the GT-R range, was first launched in 2015 and by 2020, as production wound down to its inevitable end, remaining sales were based around it. Lots of brands claim to offer 'a race car for the road'; but this Nissan really is; let's check it out as a used buy. Here, we focus on it for examples made between 2020 and the 2022 model year.
What You Getword count: 545
There's nothing subtle about this shape, clearly not Italian, German or American, in every way the definitive Japanese supercar for the X-Box generation. It's an interesting approach, given that Nissan started here with a clean sheet of paper; this was the very first GT-R not based on a mass-market vehicle. The muscular body structure with its perfect 50:50 weight distribution drapes a body structure variously made up of carbonfibre, aluminium and steel that's slipperier than you might think, the 0.27cd drag factor matching that of a sleek Toyota Prius. It might not be pretty but purposeful? Oh yes. Just watch the dawdlers scuttle out of your way. We mentioned carbonfibre. For the money being asked here, you'd probably want that embellishing the bodywork, creating the kind of look that premium supercar rivals charge extra for - and, sure enough, that's what you get. Carbonfibre features for the roof, for the air scoops in the bonnet and for the deep front spoiler, which features red-themed air intakes either side of the lower grille. The upper grille is flanked by LED headlamps. There's more carbonfibre on the huge rear wing and on the elaborate deep diffuser, with its huge twin tail pipes each side. Distinctive 4-ring LED tail lights add a finishing touch. The profile perspective's dominated by huge black diamond-turned 20-inch 'RAYS' forged wheels which feature yellow Brembo carbon-ceramic rotors and calipers and are clad with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600 ultra high performance run-flat tyres with rubber curated to a NISMO-specific compound. Red-trimmed carbonfibre lower side sills, slash-like GT-R slots on the front wings and black mirrors complete the effect. Inside, as you'd expect, there's a very driver-oriented environment. And there's more carbonfibre - around the centre console and even in the instrument binnacle, where the big rev counter dominates the conventional dial layout next to a speedometer rather gloriously calibrated up to 220mph. You sit comfortably on red-trimmed race style bucket seats and there's red-stitched red leather for the gear stick and the door pulls, with further red stitching for the meaty three-spoke sports steering wheel. You'll need to spend ages with the handbook while you figure out all the various buttons and switches but once familiarity dawns, it all works well enough. And the sports seats are brilliant, adjusting amply, like the steering wheel, for both reach and rake. Not so impressive is the old fashioned centre stack screen, which has dated graphics and can also be operated by a rather after-market-looking lower controller. The rear offers seats that even Nissan admitted were best left to kids - with the front chairs set normally, there's virtually no leg space at all. And those adults banished to the rear will be virtually clamped into place by the rear screen above their heads. Still, there's more space back here than you'd find in a 911. And more trunk room too, the 315-litres on offer being nearly three times as much as that Porsche. It's a deep boot too, which makes up for the very high lip you have to lump your stuff over. There are even 6 tie-down points. And there's even carbonfibre-style trimming for the inner part of the boot lid. Unfortunately though, you can't extend the space available by folding the rear backrest.
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Category: Sporting Cars
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