Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

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AnilS
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Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:39 pm

Firstly, I do not claim to be a professional driver, nor reviewer but I’ll do my best to capture the car I’ve owned for over 2 months presently. Please excuse any grammar moments also.
I have not tracked it nor modified for power. It’s a claimed (minimum) 485 bhp from the hand built V6 Twin Turbo. It’s feels more than that!

Standing still (7/10)
It’s a big, wide car. I own a E39 BMW and it’s wider than that. It will fit in my garage but you have to be double jointed to get the door open and extract yourself. Helps to have the window down when trying to get out. I’m quite weary down country lanes. Takes a bit of the fun out of driving there to be honest. Very imposing though.
I have yet to see/own a car with so much presence. It has creases and bulges all over the place in the name of aerodynamics. It has a drag coefficient of just 0.26! For a “blocky” car, that’s sensational. It looks like it could swallow small animals with that mouth. Love the rear lights. Quite Ferrari esque.
Runflat (Std) Bridgestones on 20” rims. Filled with air NOT Nitrogen as may only be necessary for track use. Guess you’ll hear about them shortly! The rims have a smoked anthracite finish and it’s lovely at standstill. When in motion (yes, seen them in the reflection of shop windows), they look too dark. I prefer silver finish.
Paint is very soft. Easily swirled but easily corrected. You would not want to do that too many times as it’s also quite thin.

Interior (7/10)
The quality is decent for a Japanese car but it will not match that of a German rival or meet the expectations of badge snobs. That said, it suits the car well, in a very focused, driver orientated way. Hi tech screens that give all manner of info (some useless), but you really need to focus on the dials in front. The trip computer (dash) is standard fare with Maintenance reminders. Rev counter dominates the main dash and the digital gear position indicator is very nice and big. Really useful when driving with the steering paddles. The front seats are mix of leather and fabric. 2 heater settings from inferno to mild. They are fully electric and standard but no memory setting. That’s fine as SWMBO doesn’t want to drive it. The driver also has access to move the front passenger seat forward from his seat. Clever.
There is a mix of faux leather to the dash, door cards and rear seats. Also dripping in “plastic” metal. I actually really like it and it’s easy to look after. The car is fully loaded with most “extras” standard. The few options I have on this car is the Pearl effect paint and reversing camera. I prefer the beepers on my BMW as reversing aids, as they “see” stuff I can’t.
The Bose (11 speaker) system goes loud, but lacks clarity. Would have expected more than just Bass/Treble controls. Mid range adjustment would have been nice, even a Graphic Equaliser would be a delight. CD/DVD in the dash has a 10GB hard drive so it records your CDs! Quick and easy. USB is in the armrest for track data recording and Music/photos. The sound quality from here is no different from the CD which is odd as I expected it to be worse. Bluetooth for phone and audio. Not tried the audio as yet (no need really) but phone works well.
SAT NAV is very good. Postcode and touch screen. Basic ergonomics are all good. Nice feature is that the dash moves when you are setting the steering wheel position. Easy to get comfy and feel part of the car.

Accomodation (6/10)
Four seater? Leave it out!
My growing teenagers can squeeze in the rear but those behind me will only last 10 miles before complaining. I’m a short arse and they only way of me getting comfy in the driver’s seat with my 16 year behind me is that I have to put the steering wheel forward against the dash. My arms are now OK but my legs are a bit crab like. I couldn’t tolerate this for more than 10 miles either (I’m 5’6”). The issue is legroom in the rear, not torso or headroom space which is acceptable. Essentially, see it as a 3 seater and it’s on the money. The view out is good from the front and the door mirrors are excellent. The rear view is dominated by the spoiler and makes it hard to see out.
The boot is excellent. Large but with a high sill and no ski flap facility. All to keep the car as rigid as possible in the pursuit of handling.

At Idle (6/10)
Starter button ON. No old fashioned turn of the key but there is a docking module if you wish to use it. Keyless GO is an odd expression as you need the key in your pocket to go! It fires up angry and then settles to a 1K idle. It’s scoffing Premium Unleaded for starters! Car makes all kinds of mechanical and agricultural noises beneath me. Transfer boxes and transmission orchestra is in full voice. Even when you set off in “Auto”, it still sounds like it’s angry you don’t let it of the leach.
Transmission (4/10 before upgrade, 9/10 after)
First thing you notice, is how “kangerooey” the gearbox is. It’s blooming awful. At traffic lights, you look like a learner driver on the virgin lesson. Not good at all. Also, at uphill traffic lights, the car rolls backwards. No hill holder feature and even though the gearbox is similar to my wifes’ Gold GTI (DSG), that doesn’t roll back. Hell, even my old Tiptronic in the BMW is better.
I shelled out £300 to Litchfield and had the 2012 gearbox software upgrade. None of the above issues happen now. Worth every penny.
Gearshifts are smooth and appropriate in Auto. Manual paddle shift is very good and responsive. This, with the toggle switches on the dash console set to Normal (middle setting).
With Transmission in Race mode, this car takes on a very hard edge. It snaps down two gear instead of one on some changes and the response is explosive. You are always in the sweet spot for power and torque. Set to Snow and it’s much lazier. I leave it normal most of the time and drive in Auto mode. However, if I feel the urge for Race, it feels like I have another 30 bhp at my disposal.

Handling (9/10) and Ride (5/10)
It is simply astonishing in the dry. It changes direction of a house fly, totally belying its 1,800kg kerb weight. Those runflats are semi slicks and yield very little. There is simply no give in the suspension in Normal mode. I can’t bear to think what Race is like but it’s simply unusable on the road. On bumpy roads, you cannot get the power down and the traction control system kicks in, slowing you down. Utterly pointless.
It tramlines like crazy, following any and every rut in the road. I have to set the Suspension in Comfort mode. Call it “Less hard” really. It’s just about tolerable, and you can get the power down. This is by far, the most obvious flaw in this car. As a result, there are interior noises and rattles that my 11 year old BMW has yet to discover.
Where the handling is sensational and catches me and other road users out with how much speed you can carry into/out of bends, it starts to warp your mind. When I get into my BMW, I could easy have “an off”! The poor girl doesn’t know what’s hit it. And when you do discover slip, rather than back off, apply a little gas and the AWD system helps you out. This car does not drive itself. It is very much an interactive drivers’ car.
In the wet. Beware. It likes to aquaplane. Nearly caught me out a few weeks ago and the car would have been toast. Again, these Bridgestones do not help. Lots of owner’s switch to Michelin Pilot Super sports. You get a huge improvement in wet weather grip AND ride comfort (they are non runflat). This will be my next change once the OEM tyres are spent.

Performance (11/10. Yes you read it right!)
This is other wordly. It is shockingly fast and stable. End of.
Leave the transmission in Race, use the paddles to the shift indicator on the dash to the 6500 rpm redline and be prepared to have all notion of speed recalibrated. Where I know there are straight roads, it finds bends in them! You approach at what you thought were mild bends and they are now sharp and unforgiving.
It is proper LOL fast, but you can’t since you are too busy trying to draw your next breath. I didn’t realise this straight away but when I’m gunning it, I’m leaving fingerprints in the leather steering wheel. I have driven fast cars before but this is really is on another planet.
Factor in a Stage 1 power boost for just £1k and you now have a 575 bhp beast at your disposal. I cannot begin to think why you would want to do that. Seeks ride in one ……………….

Running Costs (8/10)
If you are considering one of these, this isn’t much of a factor. I’m averaging 21 mpg in mixed driving. 27mpg on a motorway stint. Tyres will be £1k a set and maybe will last 10K miles. It has 433 lbft of torque so the rears take some punishment. This is, predominately a RWD car so the rears will wear quicker. The fronts run an aggressive camber so wear on the inner edges when the outer edge looks fine. You have to get the tyres done at the right place, as they are super stiff and difficult to remove and fit.
Servicing outside of the Nissan High Performance Centre is very reasonable at a good Indy like Litchfield. Aftermarket warranties are also available. The older the car, the more they cost. Bit like life insurance then.

Refinement (7/10)
I’m spoilt by my E39. Then you have to remember how chalk and cheese they are. At motorway speeds, the refinement isn’t good, having to shout to have a conversation most of the time. Doesn’t help I’m slightly deaf though. As already mentioned, there are noises from the interior I wouldn’t expect in a youngish car. But it’s the nature of the beast.

Summary
If you want one, and can afford it, nothing else will do.
The sheer road presence and it’s status means onlookers stare. So far, all complimentary, and from all age brackets. Therefore you end up driving slowly so they can check it out. Poseur or what?
It is a proper car and if on your “tick list”, then get one. It is an astonishing piece of motoring engineering. Some say it’s not a Supercar. I beg to differ.
There is one problem. Once you have ticked this box, where do you go next? ;)
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AW8
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:44 pm

Excellent review and echoes a few aspects of ownership we discussed on the phone last :)

I haven't been in a moving one as yet so can't really offer any counter view or constructive observation based on anything other than what I have read . Fwiw your review tells me more re the car than many of the journalistic efforts I have read.

An observation re not wanting or needing more power......I chuckled that you indicate current performance is enough yet also state you would like to try one with the stage 1 litchfield performance upgrade - that made me smile.

I am sure that for safe and progressive road use the performance in yours is more than adequate. Stage upgrades and the like are not for all, albeit I am sure you appreciate it's not always about headline figures - sometimes it's about the way a car delivers....whether the end result is more frantic or perhaps makes a given car more effortless to drive at same speeds on same roads/circuits.....

....and that brings me to circuits. Personally if I owned it I would want some track time - perhaps coached with someone familiar with the circuit and more importantly who has done some laps in yours and/or driven one with same or similar spec. I reckon that some track time and/or training would help you appreciate the car further as well as helping you get best from the car and you. Obviously the venue, type of event and if chosen the instructor are fairly crucial to what you get from this and as we both know from others experiences past track day insurance is a must.....if you genuinely don't want to drive it too hard (whether out of mechanical sympathy or a little fear) then you should be able to throw some restraint into the equation).

Anyway I will stop now before my reply becomes longer than your review... I hope to be given a safe but enjoyable passenger ride some time in the not too distant future.
Last edited by AW8 on Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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AnilS
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:23 pm

Cheers mate. Always appreciate your feedback.

I think leaving the car standard will secure a better resale price and make it more desirable long term.

The gearbox upgrade is essential however and something that won't be reversed. If any (subtle) mods are made, they will be reversible but I stress, these will be cosmetic, not engine  ;)

I need to get myself to a meet don't I >:D
Last edited by AnilS on Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:08 am

If you want one, and can afford it, nothing else will do.
Thought you were talking about the Bentley there for a minute mate :-)

Glad you are having fun in the Datsun.

Sounds much like the Evo VI I used to have.  You basically buy an engine and AWD system, and a few bits of 'quality' trim are thrown in to kid you it's anything but a ricer ;-)
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:16 pm

Nice review Anil, however have to say, once you've been in a stage1 or up car, yours won't feel the same at all.. its a slippery slope, one that I resisted for a good 6mths. Would I go back to a stock car, no chance!

I agree its not brilliant in every department, but do sheer thrill and driving enjoyment its very hard to beat!

just my 2p's worth.
AnilS
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:39 pm

I went to Litchfield for my 48 month service today. The customer care (Thank you Neil) was brilliant. The quality of the service was excellent and the tour around the site was eye opening.  :blink:

Some lovely cars there and the new service area was spacious and clean. Lots of exciting developments going on there and maybe might sneak a Stage 1 (570 bhp) on the next visit! ;)

Throughfully recommended and the cost of the service was cheaper than I thought  :o

Brilliant day today :)  :)
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:02 am

Glad all still going well...though I see from sig the E39 is going soon.
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AnilS
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:26 pm

Yes Sir.

E39 was advertised but transmission playing up so a refurbed unit is currently replacing my low mileage unit.

AW8, I've had a lot of interest in it but lets see what happens when I price it up.  ;)

Plan is to get a winter snotter for peanuts, as the Champers is too good for that now. Bank some money and maybe change my wife's car next year.  ::)

Hope you are well.
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:36 pm

Ok -  Though I suspect your attention to detail ( note I didn't say detailing obsession) means any winter snotter will evolve into a cherished daily driver you won't want to get dirty.  :)

Subaru Wrx wagon worth a look used - can be sourced for fair money and less messed around examples than saloon. If you want more grown up then audi allroad or dare I suggest a nicely historied E53.
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:10 pm

Friend of mine bought one 3 years ago

Of those 36 months it has probably been at SVM for 33 months !!!
Currently :
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2012 Porsche Boxster S (981)
2008 Lotus Exige S (a bit modified!)
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Previously :
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2005 BMW 535d MSport
AnilS
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:27 pm

[quote="AW8"]
Ok -  Though I suspect your attention to detail ( note I didn't say detailing obsession) means any winter snotter will evolve into a cherished daily driver you won't want to get dirty.  :)

Subaru Wrx wagon worth a look used - can be sourced for fair money and less messed around examples than saloon. If you want more grown up then audi allroad or dare I suggest a nicely historied E53.
[/quote]

LOL. You're not wrong about the dirt  :P

Looking to spend no more than £1K  :noexpression:
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AnilS
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:27 pm

[quote="535dboy"]
Friend of mine bought one 3 years ago

Of those 36 months it has probably been at SVM for 33 months !!!
[/quote]

Tuning or in trouble?

If in trouble, I would have ditched long ago.
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Re: Nissan GTR (R35) – Honest Review (Make a cup of tea and sit down)

Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:49 pm

[quote="AnilS"]
[quote="535dboy"]
Friend of mine bought one 3 years ago

Of those 36 months it has probably been at SVM for 33 months !!!
[/quote]

Tuning or in trouble?

If in trouble, I would have ditched long ago.
[/quote]

Tuning.

In fact he has just emailed. He gets it back Friday!!
Currently :
2012 Audi RS4 (B8)
2012 Porsche Boxster S (981)
2008 Lotus Exige S (a bit modified!)
2015 Nissan Leaf twin turbo with Nitros

Previously :
2008 BMW X5 3.0sd MSport
2005 BMW 535d MSport

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