of the fastest,
most exhilarating cars
you can buy
BEYOND THE SHADOW of a doubt the Nissan Skyline GT-R is one of the fastest, most exhilarating production sports cars money can buy. But it's also unexpectedly civilised, comfortable (the driving position's nigh on perfect), and easy to drive. Adding to the Skyline's kudos is its rarity ó you're more likely to rub shoulders with Vogue's sexiest cover-girl Gisele Bundchen at your local Blockbuster than spot a Skyline.
Admittedly, not much of the £50K price has been spent on the plain but purposeful interior. Apart from a meaty steering wheel and a pair of snug bucket seats, you get a stereo/CD with a neat party trick ó twist the key in the ignition and the front cover swivels like the number plates on Uh-Oh-Sevenís Aston Martin to reveal a quality Kenwood audio unit. Leather upholstery by Connolly is the only option. Nissan also throw in a set of good-looking 5-spoke 17-inch alloy rims wearing gumball 245/45 low-profile rubber.
Where most of your money has gone is under the Skylineís skin. To be precise, itís paid for the racing-inspired and mega-smart computer-controlled 4WD system (with four-wheel steering for ultra-accurate cornering) that switches automatically between four- and rear-wheel drive to provide focused and unbelievable grip in all conditions.
And in the Skylines case, the feast of racing-inspired high-tech
kit positively adds to the fun rather than numbing it. Make no mistake: the GT-R is not only one of the quickest point-to-point machines
ever made, but driving one is an intensely pleasing experience.
Honed at Germanyís NŁrburgring track nowadays deemed too dangerous for Formula One handling is of the point-and-shoot school. Backed up by brilliant, fade-free brakes, the Skylineís incredibly forgiving if your enthusiasm does run away with you. Grip and
traction in the wet are better than any 4WD car I have driven: power through a sweeping bend in the pouring rain and the Skyline feels utterly foolproof.
And itís explosively, wickedly fast. Under the bonnet is a straight-six 2.6-litre engine with twin Garrett ceramic turbochargers working in parallel on three cylinders each that, accompanied by a stirring vocal bark, pumps out 277bhp.
Hit the gas and the GT-R catapults itself to 60mph in 5.4 seconds, and rips past 100mph in 13.8 while charging on to an electronically limited 155mph. I still find it difficult to believe that we regularly saw 23mpg...
The Skylineís sinister looks are nicely judged: a cohesive balance of undisputed power and giant-killing purpose. And while itís a two-door super-coupť on the outside, inside itís a genuine four-seater with a decent-sized boot.
Given the GT-Rís sledgehammer performance itís easy to be duped into believing that this is a wild car suitable only for time warp Alpha males and off-duty fighter pilots. Wrong. Very, very wrong. With its light-action clutch, crisp gearchange, idiot-proof all-weather stability, roomy, climate-controlled interior, large, clear instruments, and multi-disc CD, itís pre-eminently suitable for everyday use.
The Skyline GT-R a cult supercar for the head, as well as for the heart.
Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-60mph: 5.4 seconds
Overall test MPG: 23mpg | Power: 277bhp | Torque: 271lb ft
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