NOTES ON THE NISSAN R35 GT-R
As Godzilla slips out of the spotlight, is he (she, or it?) still a force to be reckoned with?
A new GT-R like this will set you back around £70k from Europe's highest volume retailer
The R35 is one of those cars that splits popular opinion - some love them, some hate them, and others just respect them. Well the novelty may have worn off a little since sales started here in 2009, but they're still a mighty performance proposition, so when PH had a chance to chat with Middlehurst Motorsport's High Performance Centre Manager Gary Finney, we had to ask him for a few pointers about the car. With a history of working closely with Nissan - and the Skyline in particular since 1993 - Gary has the benefit of plenty of experience.
Maintaining the service record can be a bit of an issue, because the R35s servicing schedule is set not by Nissan GB, or even Nissan Europe, but by Kazutoshi Mizuno. "He's the Chief Vehicle Engineer for the GT-R who stipulated a service every six months or 6,000 miles," says Gary, "so if you've had your R35 tucked away for a few months and have hardly driven it, it is supposed to have a service when you get it out again regardless of how far it's been driven."
Interestingly, when I asked Gary what he'd recommend in terms of extracting more performance from the R35, his answer was instant: "Learn to drive it better. We run track days fairly often and a lot of owners don't seem to understand just how hard these cars can be pushed in terms of cornering. Without doubt the safest and best way to make one of these cars go faster is to get some expert tuition. 10 years ago R34 owners were coming from having owned Imprezas or Evos and they wanted bigger brakes, bigger wheels, half-a-million horsepower and so on, but there's no need with the R35 - it already has all of that. Today's R35 owner is just as likely to have previously owned an exotic European car. Some do actually go back to a traditional exotic after a year or so... but many of those come back again to the GT-R"
In terms of longevity, while you can obviously get through a new set on the track in a day, for more moderate use Gary reckons you might get 12,000 miles or even more, but again his advice isn't what you might expect. "There are three geometry settings which range from almost-upright to two degrees of negative camber. Run the car on the motorway with maximum camber and of course you're going to wear out the inner shoulder in no time, although each and every R35 will wear-out the inner shoulder first. Ironically, the harder you corner the more even your tyre wear will be!"
£40,000 for something like this and up to £72,000 for a new one.
Whether you think the GT-R is a tech-laden masterpiece or just a sensible solution for going really fast, there's no escaping the fact that they're a performance bargain. They can crack 190mph, sprint to 60 from standstill in under four seconds (closer to three if you use launch control), and can quite reasonably be used to commute in, if you want to. Even the servicing isn't too steep.
Yet ask the question 'what's not to like?' and the R35 still has the capability to kick off a serious argument. But, er, for £40 grand - what's not to like..?