Chris Harris video: BMW M5 vs Nissan GT-R

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.





Comments (130) Join the discussion on the forum

  • RossP 16 Feb 2012

    Absolutely brilliant! 2 Great cars!

    I would be perfectly happy with either but I think, for me, it would be the M5, but only just...

  • jjones 16 Feb 2012

    videos are improving

  • nismo48 16 Feb 2012

    Excellent video Chris...
    Thanks for making me feel part of the experience too
    with your witty comments and skilful driving of these two superb cars..biggrin

  • Alex 16 Feb 2012

    Chris, I am really enjoying your videos. For those who complain Top Gear is not about cars any more, this is where it's at. Keep it up!

    P.S. GT-R for me.

  • Crispy Rice 16 Feb 2012

    I have a GTR and only wish I could drive like that!

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