Wednesday 15th February 2012


Harris explores the unexpected shared mindset of two apparently different turbocharged nutters

Hands up, this video is a gratuitous piece of number searching.

The GT-R and M5 are not natural rivals, but as is so often the case when you spend time in cars that should share little common ground, they ended up being interesting foils for each other's talents and weaknesses.

You do not fully appreciate how big and heavy the F10 M feels until you've jumped into one immediately after driving an R35. The Nissan has always felt vast on UK roads to me, but the M5 seems bigger. As ever, the GT-R proves to be one big magic trick on four-wheels. It just shouldn't change direction the way it does given that it weighs nearly 1,800kg.

And the pace it extracts from a damp, nasty surface never, ever feels natural. You can see it in the video, forcing its way into the asphalt. Mizuno-san, father of the GT-R often gives a baffling explanation of why he wants the car to be quite heavy, because that's what gives it such staggering traction. Listening to this monologue in a press conference you'd write him off as a nut-job. On a B-road in January, he's transformed into an alchemist.

But, against the F10 M the GT-R is horribly unrefined and its cabin invites the type of unkind Datsun gags that I've traded in for years. Its ride is very, very busy too. And it likes a drink.

If the M5 feels nothing like as sharp, you quickly alter your point of reference and realise that it is possibly the most complete fast car on sale. Its operating window is unprecedented -at any one time, but not simultaneously, you can choose: 190mph, crazy power slides, 25mpg, snap-crack gearshifts, near-silence and, of course, fake engine noise.

The fake intake sound has been discussed enough: I don't like it, nor what it stands for, but if it stops you buying this magnificent car, you are denying yourself the chance to enjoy a great M car.

Enjoy the vid.





Author: Chris Harris
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