I think in today’s day and age, we’re all a bit bored of the Nissan GTR. This quick and absolutely competent Supercar killer has been killing it almost everywhere since it’s launch in 2007, that when it comes to absolutely on-road performance, the R35 GTR is the benchmark in everyone’s mind. Who knew that being utterly GOOD, can also mean boring!
And it doesn’t help the fact that the car is so accessible today by “average” standards either. You can easily find a pre-2010 Nissan GTR on the market these days for circa RM200k, or even less than that if you’re lucky. For nearly the price of a brand Camry or Accord, you can get a full blown 500bhp from factory Godzilla with all the tech in the world to tickle your fancy on a weekend spirited drive. Yes – but should you even?
The problem with the Nissan GTR, at least in Malaysia, is the image that you associate with being an owner of the car. Yeah, you know it. I’m not even going to talk about it but I hate the fact that something so good, is so tainted that I would indefinitely pull myself away from even driving one. But in no standards is the GTR a horrendous car to drive. In fact, it is one of the best automotive creations of our generation.
What is the “Spec-V” GTR all about?
Like how other Supercars have that special, lightened, and more track focused version of their already fast car? Well, that’s what the Spec-V iteration of the GTR is all about. The simple recipe of removing the rear seats, replacing the brakes into a lightened carbon ceramic material and lightened wheels, plus some dry carbon fibre seats and parts around the exterior – the Spec-V sheds about 60kg off the standard GTR.
My personal view however finds that this weight shedding activity rather pointless. The GTR already weighs 1.8 tonnes and removing that weight doesn’t exactly change the dynamics of the car. At least not on the road. But like other lightweight cars, you are sort of glad that they did it anyways, as it assures the driver to a more positive input on a spirited drive.
What I love about the Spec-V however is the fact that despite all the weight shedding, Nissan didn’t bother going down the route of removing basic creature comforts and adding any roll cages to make it feel more racy. In fact, I find the Spec-V to feel more luxurious than the standard car on the inside. Yes, the cabin is noisier, but it just means I get to hear more of the Titanium exhaust noise on the drive. Power didn’t increase over the standard car, however Nissan did put slightly larger turbos in the Spec-V (which is weird isn’t it?) that enabled a short overboost function on the drive when you needed.
Beyond the technical aspect, there is a rarity factor that makes the Spec-V feel special on the road. Unlike other the standard GTR, Nissan only made 110 units in Spec-V format over a span of 4 years between 2009 to 2012. Just to put into perspective, there are 349 units of McLaren P1s. Yes, making this one of the rarest cars you could buy! And the one featured here is even rarer, being the facelifted DBA version in which Nissan only made 9 units in total for 2012, before completely disbanding the Spec-V programme in favour of the Nismo iteration.
The GTR Experience
The fact that it drives as easy as any other small car around town, yet can rip your face on a top speed run, is still rather amusing. If you look at the GTR as a Supercar killer for the people, then it serves it truly serves its purpose. Why do you bother buying the equivalent of a fast hot hatch, then drop another RM100k to modify it when you can buy a used R35 GTR for much less these days right?
Well maybe not quite. To own a GTR may sound affordable, but running and maintaining one isn’t quite as straightforward. As simple as a routine service makes the GTR ownership complicated, because it requires an oil change every 5000KM and the fact that it runs 20” wheels, your tyre bills can be rather eye-watering every 20,000-30,000KM. However, I do feel that a Spec-V serves its purpose beyond just being an instrument of speed, because it doesn’t quite feel like a normal GTR to own.
I’ve driven a few versions of the Nissan GTR – including the kind that’s been tuned to 800hp and for short brief, a 2018 Nismo GTR – but it never left a mark in my mind like the Spec-V did. The factor of rarity I feel really elevates the Spec-V to be the best GTR to drive and own. The Spec-V was double the price of a standard GTR, and provided very little difference. Hence it was only bought and owned by people who truly wanted something different, or just rich and could afford the ridiculous asking.
To own a Spec-V now will still set you back around RM400k, which is about double the price of the standard car. People are always most amazed and amused by the way it hides its weight so intelligently, even when you are completely aware of the sheer size that carries. As amazing as the engine performance that the GTR delivers, you will always get a different feeling driving a one spiritedly. Unlike other performance sports cars, it isn’t quite intimidating at the wheel and you’ll feel confident almost immediately to drive it briskly.
I still think that all Nissan GTRs are what we call – Playstation on wheels. Afterall, the electronics display was designed and built by Polyphony Digital, the same people who designed Gran Turismo. And sometimes it even drives like you’re on the game too. Just put your foot down, and turn as and when you like, and the electronics will deal everything for you. And while the Spec-V offers the same brilliant drive like you’d expect a GTR would, there’s the touch of rarity puts it above others.
To own and drive one, you have to be very lucky to even find one for sale. When you consider a Nismo GTR is not limited in any way – then the GTR Spec-V is definitely the best Playstation On Wheels to have!
Written By | Qhalis Najmi