It is rare that manufacturers will allow us to take a car off the showroom floor and onto the race track, so when we were given the green light to do any test we wanted, we were excited to see exactly what the most expensive (and most powerful) Nissan road car ever produced could achieve down the quarter mile at the local drag strip - Willowbank Raceway in Queensland.
To put into perspective exactly what $300,000 AUD (plus on road costs) will get you from the Nissan stable, we brought out our old bright green Lamborghini Huracan to join in on the fun.
Alborz was in control of the Godzilla, and yours truly was piloting the Huracan.
Above: Japan's Godzilla vs Italy's baby bull prepare for their first face-off.
We had a total of 6 runs, and even switched lanes so we could be thorough in our tests to ensure it was a fair competition. The right lane appeared to give the vehicles a slight traction advantage off the line, however Alborz's best time later in the evening was in the left lane.
Alborz made a rookie error of rolling through the water that is designed for RWD or FWD cars to do a staging burnout, until it was suggested it was common practice for AWD cars to go around the water (he takes full responsibility for that one). This slightly impacted the GT-R's time to get a good launch on the first couple of runs, and you can see later runs improve fractionally with a less slippery launch.
The first run saw the Lambo running a respectable 10.8 at 129mph, and the GT-R trailing at 11.3 @ 124mph
Above: The results for the first run of the evening (Lambo left lane, GTR right lane).
Halfway through the evening, one run saw the GT-R throw a drivetrain error, which resulted in it entering "limp home mode", and Alborz felt the car was unable to rev past a certain RPM as he babied the car back to the pits. This corrected itself once we let the GT-R shut down and cool off.
The Lambo was also not without its own issues. On a few runs it refused to properly engage launch control" (aka "Thrust Mode"), with it trying to lurch forward while the brakes were applied instead of engaging the LC correctly (this can't be good for the dual clutches!).
You can notice this in one of the runs at the start line in the video right before the proper launch. As such both cars had a couple of problems that could have seen either one of them take a loss in a race from the traffic lights.
Above: The GT-R's weight did it no favours when it came time to get off the line, with the scenario in the two images above being repeated nearly every time. The 300kg weight advantage on the Lambo meant it was able to establish a gap in each race that the GTR could not close.
As the evening wore on, the Lambo's times slowed, while the GT-R's improved. This could possibly be explained by the track temperature dropping, which put the Lamborghini's harder tyre compounds at a disadvantage.
The green bull's 60ft times climbed from 1.6s to 1.9s, while the GT-R maintained a constant 1.8-1.9s 60ft time throughout the night. A colder track can mean that harder tyres have more trouble maintaining grip.
Above: The results for the 6th run of the night, with the GTR's time improving substantially compared to its first 11.4s time. Lambo left lane, GT-R right lane.
All things said and done, the results are reasonably conclusive - however, as we mentioned, the two vehicles did get closer as the night wore on - tire temps, air temps and track temps affected each vehicle differently.
1/4mi data for the 6 runs is as follows:
Later in the evening, Alborz had a chance to line up a black R35 GT-R, which the owner claimed laid down over 600whp.
The black GT-R's MPH and ET suggested it was substantially less. The Nismo took the chequered flag on that run, stomping the black Nissan by 0.68 seconds.
Above: The modified black R35 was no match for the white Nismo R35. Although it is possible he did not engage launch control for the start, the lower MPH for the black car suggest it was never catching the Nismo anyway.
Aside from the official Willowbank time slips, we had brought along a pair of QStarz Q6000S lap timers to run in each vehicle. These use 10hz GPS receivers and accelerometers to give extremely accurate telemetry for acceleration and speed across the strip.
The Lamborghini managed 0-100kph in 3.170 (slightly beating it's factory advertised time of 3.2), while the GT-R achieved an equally impressive 0-100kph time of 3.202. This falls short of Nissan's previous claims of a sub 3-second (and in some cases mid 2-second) 0-100kph sprint, but is still proper quick for a completely stock car.
The 0-200 times were also quite impressive, though it shows the GT-R was unfortunately not making up for lost ground due to its comparatively sluggish launch. The Lambo clocked the 0-200 in 10 seconds flat, and the GT-R took 10.7 seconds to reach the same speed.
So, now that you've seen what the GT-R can do in the real world, our question to the readers is, can you see the value in spending $300,000+ AUD on a Nissan, or would you just buy the entry level Nissan R35 and drop $100k in mods into it, and blow the doors off everything?
We think one thing is for certain, though: if you're wanting a factory-standard car with no warranty worries, then the Nismo GT-R is the best R35 to date, and although it's expensive for a Nissan, there is very little in the $300k price bracket that would touch it, with the exception perhaps of the McLaren 540S.
Be sure to check out our dyno shootout article, where we put the Lambo and the GT-R on the same dyno for a shoot out, and take a closer look at what makes the Nismo so special.
Special thanks to:
QStarz GPS timing equipment
Videopro for the last minute hookup on camera gear
And last but not least, huge thanks to Graham for letting us borrow our old Lambo for the night!
Title image thanks to http://dragphotos.com.au