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Nissan GT-R SpecV

Giant-killing supercar gets power hike – but is it worth price premium?

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One of the most remarkable things about the regular Nissan GT-R is that it offers Ferrari-slaying performance on a BMW M3 budget. In certain situations, the SpecV is quicker than the standard model, but it doesn’t offer anything like the leap in performance such a massive price increase suggests. What it does give is an even more obsessive level of engineering, and for that you have to love it.

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It's been the performance car phenomenon of recent years.

The Nissan GT-R is brutally fast in all weathers and on all kinds of road, and specialises in making mincemeat of far more expensive and exotic opposition by combining science with a sledgehammer delivery.

But for a very small number of fanatics, the standard version is not enough – which is why Nissan has built this: the £115,000 GT-R SpecV. Only 40 will be sold in Europe, making it one of the raresthigh-performance cars on the road.

A glance at its carbon fibre-adorned exterior tells you the SpecV means business, but you need to look beneath its skin to understand what really distinguishes it from a regular GT-R. For starters, it’s around 60kg lighter. That’s thanks to the removal of the rear seats, plus the addition of forged alloy wheels, a titanium exhaust system and the use of carbon fibre on some panels and the shells of the Recaro front seats.

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Its chassis is stiffer, 5mm lower and more aggressive, thanks to the addition of non-switchable Nismo dampers, firmer springs and a thicker front anti-roll bar. Massive carbon ceramic disc brakes, which span a huge 390mm at the front and 380mm at the rear, also give greater stopping power.

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It’s a mark of the prodigious power of the standard GT-R’s twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 engine that Nissan chose not to increase its output in the SpecV – although this may come as a disappointment given the price.

The newcomer does feature a new overboost, or High-Geared Boost (HGB), which increases turbo pressure to raise the engine’s torque output for periods of up to 80 seconds. It’s controlled by a special sequence of switch pushes, which feels like an illicit act, but the benefits are plain to see, with a more muscular feel to the already strong sense of acceleration.

It all combines to create a truly intense driving experience. The power and torque really do push you into the Recaro seat, while the double-clutch transmission shifts so quickly, you remain compressed into the cushion until you lift your right foot. The ride is punishingly hard, but there’s no question it gives the SpecV a sharper edge when driven to its prodigious limits.

Downsides? Apart from the car’s sheer size, which makes it hard to thread down smaller roads, the main problem is price. At £115,000, it’s nearly twice that of the regular variant – and it’s by no means twice as good!

However, to judge the SpecV by any normal criteria is to miss the point. It’s a near-mythical beast created for those who want the ultimate factory GT-R. Look at it that way, and it’s a very special car.

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