April 26 2013

Nissan release 2013 spec GT-R

It’s four years since the Nissan GT-R first breached the UK's surf and grappled up the white cliffs, and befitting of such an engineering-intensive machine there have been regular tweaks and upgrades since.

Power from its twin-turbo, 3.8-litre V6 increased from 479bhp to 523bhp, then to 542bhp for the 2012 model year, while the chassis set-up – double wishbones up front, multi-link rear, adaptive Bilstein dampers – has been incrementally honed for performance and, to a lesser extent, comfort.

As with last year’s car, the MY2013 GT-R forgoes styling changes to focus on dynamics. Despite Nissan’s claims that “overall performance has been dramatically increased”, the engine’s output stats are unchanged, but new, high-output injectors are intended to improve mid-range and top-end responsiveness, a new turbo bypass relief valve helps prolong boost pressure, and the oil pan baffle has been redesigned (again) to improve lubrication under extreme forces.

Chassis updates comprise tweaks to the dampers, springs and front anti-roll bar (all aimed at lowering the roll centre), while new front-suspension cam bolts offer better cornering stability and strengthened driveshaft connections to the hub bearings are better able to cope with the GT-R's extreme performance.

Dashboard bracing is also strengthened to increase rigidity and help clear the decks for the suspension to do its work.

Nissan heralds these improvements with two stats. One, 0-62mph is now claimed to take 0.1sec less than before at a Veyron-baiting 2.7sec, helped by steadier boost pressure between first and second gears. And two, the car’s Nürburgring lap time has fallen by 1.9sec.

Those two ticks might be a lifetime in Formula 1, but shaved off the MY2012 car’s 7min 21sec best, its insignificance illustrates the diminishing returns of the GT-R’s upgrade programme. The first car managed a barely-slower 7min 29sec. The latest engineering tweaks may be news, but it’s the GT-R’s original premise that still astonishes: all that performance plus four seats, a decent boot and a trick rear transaxle-based four-wheel-drive system that makes heroes of zeroes, despite an accompanying heft of 1740kg.

RMA Newsletter Sign-up