• How The Nissan GT-R R35 Spec-V Became a Better Car Than The GT-R NISMO

The Nissan GT-R R35 Spec V may be a better GT-R than the NISMO, here’s why

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The Nissan GT-R is a car that doesn’t need an introduction. Its R35 generation, in particular, has been giving nightmares to supercars twice its price tag for well over a decade, with the NISMO version sitting at the top of the GT-R food chain. With that said, it’s easy to forget the R35 also offered in Spec V form, and there’ an unpopular opinion that it is a better performance car than the GT-R NISMO. Here are a few reasons why that is.

The most lightweight R35 GT-R model

How The Nissan GT-R R35 Spec-V Became a Better Car Than The GT-R NISMO
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The Nissan R35 GT-R was never a light car. When introduced in 2009, the sixth-generation GT-R boasted a curb weight of 3,858 pounds (1,750 kg). While that figure dropped to 3,798 pounds (1,723 kg), the range-topping, R35 NISMO still weighs a hefty 3,834 pounds (1,736 kg). Meanwhile, the Nissan GT-R Spec V weighs “just” 3,704 pounds (1,680 kg), which still can’t be considered lightweight, but it is the lightest road-going version of the R35 GT-R.

Rear-seat delete

How The Nissan GT-R R35 Spec-V Became a Better Car Than The GT-R NISMO
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The Nissan GT-R is, technically, a 2+2 coupe, but admit it, hardly anyone ever spends time on the second-row seats. While they are somewhat usable compared to other high-performance sports cars, Nissan engineers have decided to get rid of them, in the GT-R Spec V. The space where the rear seats used to be is covered with padded carpets. The big subwoofer has been kept but has been enframed in a new, carbon-fiber panel. Meanwhile, the NISMO GT-R retains both the rear seats and the large subwoofer in between them.

Better ride quality

How The Nissan GT-R R35 Spec-V Became a Better Car Than The GT-R NISMO High Resolution Exterior
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If you are buying a high-performance car that’s also a track-focused version, there’s a good chance comfort isn’t very high on your list. The Nissan GT-R R35, in general, is not known to be a comfortable car. While it, kind of, goes against its nature, it’s still one of the more usable high-performance cars out there, and that’s something the NISMO version threw out the window. In addition to everyone criticizing it for being too heavy for a track car, the NISMO also got a lot of flak for its jarring ride quality.

The R35 Spec V, on the other hand, can be considered the bridge between the standard Nissan GT-R and NISMO. It comes with new Bilstein dampers, which have been permanently set to the standard GT-R’s “R-mode” (sport mode). Otherwise, it’s the familiar, independent suspension with a double-wishbone setup at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear.

More exclusive than the NISMO

How The Nissan GT-R R35 Spec-V Became a Better Car Than The GT-R NISMO
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Both the Spec V and NISMO versions of the Nissan GT-R are special in their own right. Hardware-aside, part of that comes from how many are built. The Spec V was the first special edition for the R35 GT-R and only 110 examples were built. Of those, 77 were built for Japan, 24 for Europe, one for the UK, seven for the Middle East, and one additional car that’s presumed to be a prototype vehicle. You would think that the range-topping NISMO R35 GT-R is even more limited, but it isn’t. The NISMO was offered in both standard, N Attack package, and NISMO Special edition (Japan only), with total production coming up to just under 300 units for the whole world.

Opal black. The new Midnight Purple?

How The Nissan GT-R R35 Spec-V Became a Better Car Than The GT-R NISMO
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One of the most iconic colors associated with the GT-R is Midnight purple. It is as iconic as Porsche’s Violet Blue Metallic, Guards Red, or Speed Yellow. Both the NISMO and Spec V versions of the R35 GT-R come in a variety of colors, some of which are unique to the version. Among the color options for the Spec V is Opal Black, which is awfully familiar to one of the darker versions of the Midnight Purple.

About as quick as the NISMO?

How The Nissan GT-R R35 Spec-V Became a Better Car Than The GT-R NISMO
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The Nissan GT-R Spec V is the first limited edition of the R35 generation. As such, it is based on the earlier, CBA models. This means that the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 packs 479 horsepower at 6,400 RPM and 447 pound-feet at 3,500 to 5,000 RPM. The bump in torque, from the standard GT’R’s 433 pound-feet (588 Nm), comes from new turbochargers, and there’s also a titanium exhaust.

This results in a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.2 seconds, top speed of 193 mph (310 km/h), and a quarter-mile time of 11.5 seconds. Meanwhile, the NISMO R35’s 600 horsepower and 488 pound-feet (652 Nm) allow it to reach 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 2.48 seconds, a top speed of 196 mph (315 km/h), and a quarter-mile of 10.8 seconds. While these figures far exceed those of the Spec V, they are highly dependent on external conditions.

One aspect where the NISMO far outperforms the Spec V is the lap time around the Nordschleife. Granted, the Spec V’s time of 7.36.46 minutes was due to the wet conditions, but for argument’s sake, we expect it to be between the standard, 2009 model’s 7.26.70 minutes and the 2013 GT-R’s 7.19.1 minutes, which still would have been far slower than the NISMO’s 7.08.68 minutes.

Final thoughts

How The Nissan GT-R R35 Spec-V Became a Better Car Than The GT-R NISMO
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At the end of the day, those numbers are hardly applicable in real life where most GT’Rs execute the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint in the low to mid-three-second range. Moreover, the Nisan GT-R R35 Spec V is just as tunable as the rest of the R35 GT-R models, and if you are getting one you’re probably planning to do some mods. Admit it! With that said, the R35, in general, seems to be following in the footsteps of its forbearer, the R34 GT-R. With some of the rarer versions of the R34 are already exceeding the $500,000 mark, the R35 Spec V is bound to be the next Japanese classic that’s highly desirable, possibly even more so than the NISMO.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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