Nissan GT-R SpecV

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

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4.0 out of 5

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.

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.

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.

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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