Nissan releases GT-R Spec V: no more horsepower, but an additional US$65K on the price tag

Nissan releases GT-R Spec V: no more horsepower, but an additional US$65K on the price tag
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March 4, 2009 Nissan has announced a new limited-production Nissan GT-R Spec V model which we’re still having trouble wrapping our collective brain cells around. The GT-R was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007, and it has taken all before it since then - it is a technological masterpiece that looks like a relatively normal car, but outperforms cars worth double, triple and more. In Japan it sells for 8.6 million yen, translating into the cheapest production supercar the world has yet seen. Now, the Spec V is being shown at Geneva and has already gone on sale in Japan for 15,750,000 yen (JPY) – an increase of 83% in price – and the engine produces NO more horsepower. So what do you get for an extra US$72,000?

In current exchange rates, the additional 7.15 million yen price difference equates to around US$72,000, though real showroom figures are likely to be less than that.

The car went on sale in Japan at seven specially selected Nissan dealers last month, in five colours, though Europe will only get its Spec Vs in black - and there are no plans for the car in the United States yet. The selected outlets are race-oriented dealers staffed by mechanics with special GT-R Spec V training.

The GT-R Spec V’s new exterior features include a carbon fibre rear spoiler, a carbon fibre grille, and carbon fibre brake ducts. The Spec V is available exclusively in Ultimate Black Opal (RP) body colour. Inside, the SpecV’s unique two-seat interior (non-Spec V GT-R models also include a two-place rear seat) offers special Recaro carbon fibre bucket seats, while carbon fibre insets embellish the rear centre storage box, instrument panel and other trim areas.

Performance is “enhanced” with a new high gear boost control device, which momentarily increases boost of the engine’s twin turbochargers for greater torque in the intermediate-to-high speed ranges to provide a more powerful feeling of acceleration. Though no figures have been officially released, Road & Track hints that the maximum torque figure of 470 lb-ft is available from 3200 rpm through 5500 rpm, so acceleration is likely to be marginally improved over the standard model, given that the vehicle will also be pushing around an estimated 100 kilograms less weight. Other modifications include a titanium-coated exhaust system and carbon-ceramic brakes that provide powerful stopping performance.

The GT-R SpecV is also equipped with lightweight, racing-style forged aluminium wheels that were developed for this model and have been sold by Nissan Motorsports International (NISMO) since September 2008. The lighter unsprung weight provided by the new wheels, together with the enhanced braking capability, an exclusive suspension and high-grip tyres, should combine to put the SpecV’s horsepower on the road far more efficiently.

Add all that up, and with all the carbon fibre bits and ceramic brakes, plus a tad more boost, the Spec V should be quicker, handle better and run faster laps times than its standard sibling, but initial reports coming out of Japan suggest the car is actually turning slower lap times than a standard GT-R. Something doesn't add up, and whether that's inconsistent testing or a poorly set-up test car or something else, we don't know.

Nissan produces 1,000 of the standard GT-R models a month for the global market, but the Spec V will only be produced in much smaller quantities - reportedly between 20 and 50 cars a month. Unless Nissan can find something that consumers will value at an extra USD$72,000, and that usually boils down to performance, we suspect the quantities will be very low indeed!

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