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2009 R35 Nissan GT-R SpecV

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In base form, the Nissan GT-R is already one of the most capable sport cars in this world, and if you take money into the equation, nothing gets close to it. But then, the Nissan GT-R was developed as a gran turismo from the outset and not as a brute sports car. What potential lies under the stealth-fighter body, is now shown with the Nissan GT-R SpecV, introduced to the Japanese market on February 2, 2009, which is specifically targeted at enthusiast drivers who desire race car-level performance in a street-legal vehicle.

In achieving this objective, the Nissan engineers did not go the easy route of simply adding more power. Actually, the SpecV's 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6, the VR38DETT shared with the standard Nissan GT-R, receives only a minimal hike in power by 5 horsepower and is now rated at 485 hp at 6,400rpm and 434 lb-ft (588 Nm) at 3,200 rpm. It does get, however, a high gear boost control device, which momentarily increases boost of the engine's twin-turbochargers for an increase in torque by 14 lb-ft (19 Nm) in the intermediate-to-high speed ranges to provide a more powerful feeling of acceleration. This feature can be used every 160 seconds for 80 seconds. The SpecV also gets a titanium-coated exhaust system for a beefier tone.

But then the standard car was not too low on power, either, so where is the point with the SpecV? It is in the handling!

When developing the Nissan GT-R SpecV, the engineers set out to improve the standard car's handling which had to be compromised for everyday usability. For a start, the SpecV comes without the adjustable suspension of the standard car. Instead, it features unique fixed Bilstein shocks, which are complemented by altered settings and different springs that lower the car by 0.4 in. (10 mm).

For improved stopping, the brakes have been replaced by carbon-ceramic items developed in cooperation with Italian manufacturer Brembo. Featuring 6-piston calipers in front and 4-piston calipers in rear, these stoppers should provide improved durability during intense brake application, especially during track use, and are claimed to generate a GT racer rivalling up to 2g under full braking from 150mph. While the manufacturers usually claim that caramic brakes last for the life of a vehicle, the experience of other manufacturers selling these brakes (in particular Porsche) has shown that these stoppers are sometimes not as durable as promised. Especially in light of the enormous replacement costs of app. US$50,000 for these brakes, it can only be hoped that the Nissan brakes fare better in this regard.

The aerodynamics have been upgraded with exclusive exterior parts made of carbonfiber, including the rear spoiler, grille and brake ducts. On the inside, the interior is more spartan and eschews the rear seats. The standard seats are replaced with special Recaro carbonfiber bucket seats, while carbonfiber insets embellish the rear center storage box, instrument panel and other trim areas. The wheels are unique lightweight, racing-style forged aluminum wheels that were exclusively developed for the GT-R and have been sold by NISMO since September 2008. They alone reduce unsprung weight at each corner by about 10 lbs. (5 kg).

In sum, all of these carbonfiber parts and additional weight saving measures add up to a considerable reduction in weight of 150 lbs. (app. 70 kg) over the standard GT-R. At 3,700 lbs (1,680 kg), the Nissan GT-R SpecV is still a heavy car, but one that belies its curb weight. The SpecV feels more eager to change direction, the new Bridgestone tires offering even more grip. It is not a great improvement, but a noticeable one, which in consideration of the standard car's abilities is pretty special in itself. On bumpy roads the suspension might be too stiff, but then it was developed for use on a race-track.

The brakes are absolutely astonishing, at least once they have some heat in them. Even under full braking the car remains stable and flat, and in contrast to the stock brakes there is absolutely no fade even during track use (although some other publications noted brake fade after several laps on a race track).

The Nissan GT-R SpecV is available exclusively in Ultimate Black Opal (RP) body color. It is sold by only seven specially selected Japanese Nissan dealers for a price of $167,000, which is about twice as much as the standard car. The Nissan GT-R SpecV might not be twice as good as its standard donor car, but it is very special indeed.

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