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Skyline vs GT-R

Nissan Skyline R32 vs Nissan GT-R Premium

Ten years ago, the idea of Nissan producing a model good enough to beat the supercar elite at its own game would have been laughable. And yet the firm’s amazing GT-R coupé is now showing the rest how to do it.

It’s hardly been an overnight sensation, though. While the new GT-R is the first model Nissan has built with the European market in mind, bosses have been planning supercar domination for nearly 40 years.

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In terms of British relevance, the story started in 1989, when tuner Janspeed, based in Salisbury, Wilts, imported a handful of Skyline R32s from Japan. They were bought in for racing, but many made it on to the road – and created a small but loyal fanbase.

The car in our picture was one of that first batch, and has been modified to give 450bhp, instead of the original 280bhp, and has a host of other performance tweaks.

What strikes you first is how much sleeker it is than the new machine. There’s an economy of scale to its lines that the pumped-up 2008 model can’t match.

Equally impressive are the clever bits you can’t see. When the Skyline hit the UK at the end of the Eighties, powered windows were still a novelty for most buyers. The Nissan featured electronic four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, and looked truly advanced. It made every other supercar appear dated!

Nearly 20 years on, the new GT-R remains a test bed for Nissan’s hi-tech thinking. Most of its baffling array of systems are designed to make it accelerate, brake and steer quicker than anything else on the road. Yet while the latest GT-R is the fastest car on the block, without the R32, it wouldn’t be here at all.

Facts and figures

Nissan Skyline R32 vs Nissan GT-R Premium

Price new: £38,000 (1989) / £56,100
Engine: 2,569cc / 3,799cc
Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-wheel drive / Six-speed semi-auto, four-wheel drive
Power: 280bhp / 480bhp
Length/width/height: 4,545/1,755/1,341mm / 4,655/1,895/1,370mm

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