GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32)

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SPECIFICATIONS
 
Years: 1989-1991
Class: Sport Compact
Type: Coupe
 
Country: Japan
Host:  GT4 & GT5
 
Price of '89 GT-R: 15,474 cr. (GT4), 39,443 cr. (GT5)
 
Mileage as Tested: 38,085.5 (GT4), 14,203.7 (GT5)
 
Construction: unit steel
 
Length: 178.9" // Width: 69.1" // Height: 52.75"
Wheelbase: 103.0"
Overhang: 6 feet 4 inches
Track: 58.3" front and rear
Ground Clear: 5.3"
Curb Weight: 3,152 pounds
 
Seating: 2+2
Mileage: 14/23
Steering: power-assisted rack & pinion + Super-HICAS
 
Layout: Front Engine / All-Wheel Drive / ATTESA-ETS
Tires: 225/50R-16 92v
Suspension: multilink, coils, shocks, anti-roll bars
Brakes: vented discs
 
The test car was not given oil change or any other maintenance for all specs & testing below
 
Engine: 2.6 liter DOHC inline-6
Aspiration: air-to-air intercooled twin turbo
Fuel Syst: EFi
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.39 x 2.90"
Compression: 8.5:1
 
Neither car had oil change or engine rebuild, for all specs & testing below. They both rated near, or above, dealer-quoted power.
 
                           GT4                     GT5
Horses: 275 @ 6,000           288 @ 6,800       
Torque: 260 @ 4,400          273 @ 4,400        
 
Credits / HP: 66.63                 136.95            
Pounds / HP: 11.46                 10.94              
Pnds / Torqu: 12.12               11.30            
HP per Liter:  103.4                112.1             
 
GT4 Idle: 1,000 // Redline: 7,500 // RPM Limit: 8,000
GT5 Idle: 750 // Redline: 7,500 // RPM Limit: 8,000
 
Transmission 5-speed manual
Differential: open front, limited-slip center, limited-slip rear 
 
                    GT4                      GT5
0-60 mph:  6.200                  5.823 seconds
0-100 mph: 14.737                  13.068
0-150 mph: @48.000               44.270
 
0-400 M: 14.737 @ 100     13.426 @ 101 mph
0-1 Kilom: 26.370 @ 129   25.766 @ 130 mph
0-1 Mile:         No Test           35.671 @ 144 mph
 
100-zero mph: 3.717 secs         5.000 seconds
 
Daytona Lap: No Test                    58.554
Test Track Lap: No Test                 No Test
 
Top Speed at Redline (GT5)
1st: 41.0 mph
2nd: 67.0
3rd: 99.8
4th: 131.7
5th: 163.5 mph @ 6,600 rpm
        161.4 mph @ 6,800 rpm (GT4)   
 

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EXTERIOR / HISTORY------------------

1954. In the Year 1954 the cinematic world would change forever. During the '50s, many moviegoers would become obsessed with horror films, undead beings, and monsters. Many of these monsters became household names in a matter of no time: The Thing, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, a variety of aliens from other planets, and the plant which devoured flesh in the Little Shop of Horrors (the one which said "Feeeed meeee!"). Many of these monsters were invented by Hollow-wood (oops) I mean Hollywood, which means they were American creations. But there was one which would become known from the other side of the globe, one who would cause a worldwide sensation to this day. 

Godzilla seemed to have been inspired by both King Kong and those fascinated by dinosaurs. Here we had a larger-than-a-dinosaur type of dinosaur who did things only King Kong had managed before: running amok through cities, tearing them apart with his bare hands, causing entire battalions to mobilize, entire villages to flee. Unlike King Kong, Godzilla did not have a particular human female he was after; Godzilla only wanted to crush/kill/destroy. 

1989. Up until the Year 1989, the name "Godzilla" could only be used in reference to this gigantic creature from the movies; up until the Year 1989 nobody thought the monster would actually come to life. Those who feared Godzilla before 1989 might only need to remind themselves that he's just something to be seen in a movie. Right?        

16. 16 is the number of years which had passed from the time Nissan gave up their quest to create their best versions of their top automobiles, and for awhile it looked as if they would never try again. As the Skyline lineage faded from glorious winner to common milk-drinker, many thought perhaps the Skyline might never again rise up to its former reign of terror on the racetracks, which (by 1989) had now become a series of mere paragraphs in automotive textbooks, and mere screenshots on fading Super 8 film reels. We can relive the glory of Nissan's GT-R in various forms of media basically, but not in real-life. Sure, Nissan's Z cars did plenty of damage in the world of IMSA, SCCA, and WRC motorsports during the late '70s and into the '80s, but the Skyline was history, and civilian versions of the Z were nothing to fear, with roughly 180 horses at best if we're talking about the turbocharged ZX. Hmph.   

Yet there were hints, rumbles felt along the earth, if you will, of something yet to come, something much more fearsome, terrifying and dangerous, and it would not be the Z that showcased these tremors and intuitions. A thump along pavement. A growl one might think he hears across an alleyway. Slowly but surely, the one to watch would be the Skyline, as it subtly evolved its shape and strength. First, it got a turbo, then, a dual-overhead cam engine. The designation which followed the word "Skyline" also danced around a lot, hinting at what was to come. There was the RS Turbo. The GT-ES. The GTS. GTS Turbo. GTS-X. GTS-R. It's as if Nissan was teasing their fans, making them wonder and doubt. Ha ha, wonder why we're giving our cars all these silly acronyms, Skyline Fans? Then, it happened. The moment of truth. 

The version everyone was waiting for finally showed its face in the Year 1989. 1989 was a rather special year in the Japanese automotive world; not only did the Nissan everyone desired re-appear, but so did Mazda's 2-seater Miata, Subaru's first Legacy, and Mitsubishi's first Eclipse. The 300ZX's newest edition also showed its new, rounded face. ... All of these wound up becoming world-sellers, while Nissan's latest gem would wind up merely known to a select "few", and mostly on the Eastern Hemisphere. Such a shame, too.

The 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R would be the first to feature a long list of items developed during the 1980s in other Nissan vehicles, like ECCS fuel injection and HICAS steering. The difference was the GT-R would step even further than anything previously seen. For instance, there had never been an all-wheel drive Skyline before, and certainly not one which used a series of tricks to help it perform even better than the average all-wheel drive car on the market. Subaru's AWD systems were mechanical and hydraulically-activated for instance, while the GT-R's added computer technology. Mitsubishi's AWD systems may have been awesome off-road, but on pavement they provided the driver plenty of understeer, with little hope for anything else. At least in 1989 this was true. Nissan tried their best to eliminate all of this, while delivering only the better traits of an all-wheel drive drivetrain.   

We know the rest...right? Godzilla? 29 consecutive wins in its first year of life? So many wins over the next few years it was not only banned, but also caused rule changes, re-classified entire categories of racing, and created a general fear amongst those who dared face the beast. ... yadda yadda yadda. Japanese A-class racing basically shut its doors because after awhile, nobody wanted to compete against the GT-R. Nobody could. Those who question why there are so many Skylines in Gran Turismo (and so many versions of R32, R33, and R34 Skylines in particular) need only visit a history page on this vehicle.

I believe there are three base-model Skyline GT-Rs from the R32 generation in GT4 and 5: 1989, 1991, and 1993. I have yet to find any significant differences between them, oddly, other than model year. They all have the same dimensions, are shod with the same tire sizes, and all boast the same engines & power, the only difference is some start with more miles, and therefore less power, when we first buy them. Only thing that's noticed right off the bat is the latter cars carry a bit more weight than the '89. The '91 GT-R weighs-in at 3,262 pounds for instance, while the '89 is 3,152. Perhaps as each car is tuned things start to change, though. Who knows? I don't, and it'll take awhile to find out. 

To confuse Westerners like myself further, there are about a half-dozen extra designations to be found 'after' the letters GT-R. These extra versions aren't just for show. Here are some of the features these monsters had which made them superior to base model GT-Rs.

GT-R N1: N1-reinforced engine for endurance-type racing. The N1 was also lightened to 3,080 pounds, had lower-profile tires, and could only be had in a 'crystal white' paint job. N1 cars did not have air conditioning, ABS brakes, and other such features, all in an effort to make these lighter.  

GT-R V-Spec: Featured four-pot Brembos with ventilated 324 mm discs front and two pot Brembos with ventilated 300mm discs rear. Also had an ATTESA E-TS 4 wheel drive system, and bigger 17″ x 8″ BBS aluminum alloy wheels with 225/50 ZR 17 tires (the regular car has 16" wheels).

GT-R V-Spec II: Tire size was increased to 245/45 ZR17 due to N1 endurance (Gr.N) race regulations.

There are also other GT-Rs to be found in our games, but these are touring cars and tuners, some specialized by Nismo: Nissan's racing & tuning arm. So with all these versions clamoring for attention, this is why this review focuses upon the base models. At least, that's what I'm going to try to do.    

In 1989, the GT-R could be had for 5,311,350 Japanese yen, or about $37,000, which is roughly the price we pay in Gran Turismo 5. In the 4th game, I've seen some of these for less than half this price though, so happy hunting for some 15K deals!  

 

Wait. You hear that? Something is coming. Somebody is coming...

 

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ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN------------------

GRROWWLLL!!
 
Many cultures, creeds, and faiths theorize that when we die, something happens; and what that "something" is tends to vary. Some say nothing happens. We just lie there in a box, while our mind perishes. Period. Others say we go to a specific place: some religions will tell us we go to heaven, others say Shangri-La, others say the Happy Hunting Grounds. Whatever. Hardly anyone agrees on the matter. That's why I'm not a big fan of religion.   
 
 I have my own beliefs, and they're not nearly as confined as what 'they' say. Hopefully one of them might be that we get to drive whatever the heck we want once we've passed, and are allowed full freedom to explore far beyond what is capable on Earth, sort of like a dream come true. I'd like a turn behind the wheel of an R32 Skyline GT-R if this is the case, and not a videogame version. 
 
Puurrrrrrrooooooooo!
 
...Goes that straight-6 engine. RB26DETT, are you familiar with what that is? What it stands for?  There are some folks (PD's staff, for instance, and a good many of their fans) who must live and breathe that designation, they can recite these complicated letters and numbers in their sleep, and rightly so. The RB26DETT-coded engine is what first made its appearance in the Skyline GT-R. The GTS-t? The GTS-4? They merely got the RB20DET. 2.0 liters versus 2.6. Nissan was saving the 2.6 for its top models, and although I'm not sure whether or not the press managed to discover the 2.6 was about to be unleashed towards the end of the eighties, it must have been quite a moment when it was. It is interesting no other cars in Nissan's lineage managed to find themselves graced with this particular engine.
 
8,000 RPMs of revving action. GT5 boasts some truly low acceleration results: Zero to sixty miles per hour in a mere 5.823 seconds. 400 meters gone in (13.426 seconds) about the time it takes to check a lottery ticket. www.supercars.net has a page on the R32 GT-R which claims 5.6 and 13.9 seconds respectably, which can easily be attained if one lets the car's clutch in at higher revs than I do in my tests. The test car I drove in GT4 was significantly slower than this (6.200 seconds to 60 mph, 14.7 to 400 M) but it also started with 13 less horses, and I didn't bump it up with an oil change, since its power starts very near what the dealer quotes. The car in GT5, on the other hand, starts with 288 hp, but probably because its mileage was a lot less than the GT4 vehicle.  
 
 We've got an overall top speed of 163.5 mph while stock (161 in GT4), and oh...just wait'll you take a gander at what this car can be tuned up to on the aftermarket. 
 
But see. Dammit! SEE? I'm starting to do it!!
 
"What's that, Parnelli?"
 
.. I'm starting to sound like one of those media hype-machines; the ones who have absolutely nothing bad to say about the R32's top Godzilla. And this is because .... there isn't much that's bad to say!  There isn't much to be critical of in this department. About the only thing I've got is the fact that the twin-turboed, air-to-air intercooled, 2.6 litered gizmo under that hood is a bit lowish on torque when compared to others, and this is actually more of a feeling than anything tangible. With 273 foot-pounds to start, the numbers are definitely there. But this one's not really as exciting to drive virtually as some others with these same sort of numbers.
 
It's due, of course, to this car's excellent all-wheel drive traction. *smacks head* ahh see! There I go again with the hype! ... Hey, YOU try writing an article on a Skyline GT-R with all-wheel drive, let's see what YOU come up with!  
 
Anyways, it's the fact that the Skyline's ATTESA-ETS system (which stands for ... anyone? .. anyone? ... Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All terrain with Electronic Torque Split) is simply keyed to plunder. Keyed to survive. And keyed to destroy. A less advanced system (ATTESA without the ETS part) first appeared in one of Nissan's Bluebirds in 1987, shockingly enough; and also made an appearance in the infamous Pulsar...which was simply Nissan testing things for the ultimate monster to come, of course. ATTESA featured a viscous (fluid-activated) center limited-slip differential matched with open diffs front and rear. The engine's torque is constant to the rear, but uses a complicated system of fluid transfer to vary input to the front. All of this is watched over by a 16 bit computer monitoring several g-sensors to determine if the car needs more traction. Well, it certainly has such traction in droves off-the-line, as we can see from those acceleration results.
 
The Skyline GT-R eventually wound up with a strategy which placed 100% of its engine's torque towards the rear as the car was driven in a straight line, but up to 50% of this torque can be sent frontwards (as needed) in microseconds. Such an evolved piece of technology had never been seen before in a production vehicle. Even top marques like Porsche, BMW, and some of the best from Italy would stand up and take notice.   
 
On the other hand, this one is certainly not the quickest once some upper-hand speed is involved. The GT-R's 5-speed transmission is a bit tall once we're racing at certain tracks with tight areas to blast out of, and there are plenty of moments when this car doesn't feel as quick as it is. But ... that's just me struggling to find something to criticize here. Even the transmission itself is often appropriate; all five gears (including 1st out of certain super-slow areas) can potentially see use.  
 
One thing we certainly can't critique is available power. The R32 GT-R has been with us since the beginning in our games, and although I don't have any specs for earlier games at this writing, take a look at what we've got in GT5:
 
           Horsepower                Torque
Stock: 288 @ 6,800            273 @ 4,400
Stg 1: 425 @ 7,100            363 @ 5,100
Stg 2: 451 @ 7,200            380 @ 5,200
Stg 3: 470 @ 7,300            390 @ 5,300
 
And that's not all. That's just the engine stages. Now we add the turbos on top of this...
 
Trb 1: 562 @ 6,500            509 @ 5,300 
Trb 2: 637 @ 6,100            559 @ 5,700
Trb 3: 645 @ 8,500            465 @ 6,100
 
Now if that's not something to write home to grandma about, I'm at a loss. According to Pupik's GT2 website, the GT-Rs in that earlier game (almost all of them) make about 637 tops, so PD's been consistent between these two games, at least.
 
More hype? Okay! Power is always located somewhere below redline, and Nismo gives us a good amount of leeway before we meet that RPM limiter. We can grab down low for power often, too; during a 9-lap Arcade race at Madrid, I found I could use 1st gear out of this track's tightest hairpin (Turn 1, basically) or I could choose 2nd. Choosing 2nd cast those revs down to 3,000 rpms. No problem.
 
The RB26DETT can easily grab this low, and it's due to this option that I was able to attempt either a quick (but sharper) launch out of this hairpin in 1st gear, or a lengthier torque-spool in 2nd, which means the car's not going to lose that small amount of time upshifting. Turbo lag in either case is simply non-existent. GT4 features a somewhat slower feeling than GT5 does during similar situations, but it's also safe to launch out of slower areas in this game with some lowish revs. The main difference is that below 4,400 rpms (which is where peak torque is in this game) turbo-lag begins to feast on our fun, even if we're  using just a Stage 1 turbo. It seems more noticeable in this game than it does in 5.   
 
Dammit. Time to be quiet. Everybody take cover, Godzilla is about to arise...         
  

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CHASSIS / DRIVETRAIN--------------

In Godzilla's first film of 1954, the idea was that the monster was born from radioactive fallout wastes located somewhere off the coast of Japan. Godzilla symbolized "all the fears Japanese people had" after the destruction of World War II some 9 years before, according to one website I visited.
 
Godzilla was gigantic, careless, and clumsy as he stepped through blockades, pushed cars and vehicles aside with his tail, and bashed his head into buildings. He didn't need to be precise or careful or diligent.
 
Now, the car-Godzilla? Here we have a different story. In this case, Godzilla happens to be all these things at the latter end of that last paragraph: it steers and brakes-in precisely as it's driven, carefully lays out its feet as it's tested, and diligently manages to make 1st place win after 1st place win, assuming the driver's not so specific with any sort of limitations while racing. But even with limitations in place, the R32 GT-R's variety of acronymic systems (ABS, ATTESA, Super-HICAS, ECCS), keep this beast rocketing forward with all kinds of menace and glory.
 
Good thing for this car reviews website!
 
Honestly, I can't find many flaws with this car's engine, nor are there many with its drivetrain. But handling? Yes, there are some.
 
In the Years approaching 1989 Nissan was preparing to enter the world of racing. At the time, tire width was limited to 10 inches, and the Skyline they were preparing was still rear-drive. Nissan knew the GT-R would rise again, and wanted to make sure that it did so in a way which would dominate, just as the KPGC10 did so long ago. Eventually, somebody came up with the idea of aiming this car towards Japanese Touring Car's A-class, and also decided to make it all-wheel drive. With this decision, wider 11 inch tires were now an option, as well as more power from a larger engine. The only catch was Nissan had to sell 500 R32 GT-Rs to the public. Lucky them.  
 
But this is apparently why the R32 GT-R in our games is 'stuck' with 225-width tires instead of something wider. Not bad, but notice that latter editions of GT-R had tires which were even better.
 
GT4 
The thing is, here we have somewhat of a paradox. Godzilla in ... Gran Turismo 4? Can this really happen? Hmmm.
 
Drove a GT-R around El Capitan with its standard medium sport tires, and then I also did some races in the Tuning Car Grand Prix, but these races were done with racing slick tires, so we really can't judge the GT-R's handling with these. Ironically, I've driven the car in GT5 before driving the one in GT4, so there might be some backwards-comparisons, here.  
 
So with just the sports (no race), what we've got is a mixture of razor-sharp cornering mixed with some godawful understeer here and there. It really gets bad, too: entry, mid-turn, or exit. Not really very 'Godzilla-like' so far. The understeer one must occasionally face is just as common as what might be found in many other cars in this game, and it can ruin our day at any time. None of this is really a surprise, of course, this IS GT4, after all. And really, it's not the fact that the GT-R understeers, it's how easily it can understeer. It's one of those things which simply shows up just a little too easily!  
 
So what can we do about this? The trick is to know your braking zones. Once you know and respect them, it becomes possible to start driving a very predictable machine, instead of something which feels more like a Mitsubishi GTO than a Skyline. Unlike the GT0, the GT-R does give more leeway between slip and grip. Still, though... 
 
The braking itself is outstanding, of course. Braking is ridiculously easy in the earlier GT games, so there really is no excuse not to utilize. Still though, there are times when plenty of braking has been employed, and this car still pushes mightily mid-turn. It goes away, but then can come right back, with just a tap too much gas too early.
 
Unlike the car in GT5, there isn't enough throttlesteering to save us if we need this, unless we're in a turn which is really wide. Think Route 246 / Turn 4, for instance. Otherwise, the R32 GT-R in this game tends to drive without any real assistance. The front-end also doesn't often react enough with lift-off, even after those tires warm up. The only exception to this is if we've got some racing tires on. But with sports in place?
 
Nissan's HiCAS steering system is definitely here, and we can begin to feel its presence especially with racing tires on, but it barely makes a dent with sport tires. You'll be lucky if you get through some turns without any pushing up front. Ironically, it's the rear-drive Skylines in GT4 which feel much more rear-steering with HiCAS than the GT-Rs. They tend to have a feeling like their rears are maneuvering with slight extra zest. But these guys also understeer a little too easily, too.  
 
Other than these critiques, the GT-R does well. It handles the bumps and undulations of El Capitan (and a couple other tracks I drove at) with little fuss. Traction is always guaranteed. Those who don't need to rely on damage control will find that this Nissan has plenty of moments when it corners as if it's on rails, like so many other AWDs. It feels solid, even with its stock suspension, and I've been noticing how 'floaty' some of those rear-drive Skylines feel in comparison, with their stock parts.
 
So ... Godzilla?  This was an honor bestowed upon those who cruised solely on some racing tarmac, which (in my opinion) does not get shared by what I just drove. And the GT-R in GT5 is much more interesting to drive, yet it's also nowhere near perfect...
 
GT5
As this car is driven mildly, once again, there's not much to criticize. But as it's driven more harshly and then raced, especially with some power restrictive action, now we've got some issues. #1 happens to be the front end, which begins to push with varying amounts, either slightly or (in some cases) with downright hayseed-planting understeer. While racing an '89 GT-R in GT5's Supercar Festival, it's the front end which needs the most attention. Yes, Nissan had done all they can to avoid understeer with R32; they've configured a rearward torque-split and backed this up with computers, but there are times this car can't help but plow like any other front-engine / all-wheel drive doofus on the roads. 
 
As I prepared a silver/chrome (oh yes I did) colored '91 base model GT-R for that first race at High Speed Ring II, I made sure it was equipped with its default hard sport tires. This car has just over 45,000 miles on it, and since nobody in the imaginary world of GT seems to know how to perform maintenance (but us), oil was changed and the engine rebuilt. This resulted in a 314 horsepower engine with 298 foot-pounds. The goal would be to drive this car in such a state around this track for a few laps, and eventually tune it upwards until it matched the 421 horses required by the Sports Car Class. What would it need to survive?  Could this car get away with no suspension, brake, or drivetrain tuning once the race was on? 
 
First thing that's noticed is the subtle variety of cornering options this car presents. It always turns-in initially, that's not a prob, but from here on things can differ a bit. Sometimes the front pushes slightly while entering HSR's steep banks, and there's not much we can do about this. Other times, it'll tackle the exact same turn with a helpful bit of nose-in after a one or two-second delay. There are times this car graces mid-turn so neutrally, it's got that typical "on-rails" feeling AWDs often display. Other times, it's possible to nudge the throttle at just the right time, and now the car's doing a bit of rear-steering, its HICAS now here to help. 
 
Overall, it's hard to say what's really happening, unlike that Legacy or Galant from the GT-R's day. Is the Nissan's computer making some hidden decision?  Or is it laying dormant, letting those tires, axles, and torque converter do their thing in solo-mode?  The GT-R is a somewhat mysterious machine in such a way, but there are always some givens. Braking is always solid, with near-zero issues with sliding or body-sway. The car does turn-in while braking too, but eventually meets a typical AWD limit (in the sense that it won't just do a donut on-entry). The car's traction is also flawless. Check, check, check. 
 
I decided I'd power the car up to 421 horses, but keep the hard sports on. Let's see if we can make Chromium Godzilla sweat a little bit. One quick note though before this is done, though: I noticed that the GT-R posted a time of 1:20.674 at this track, making 8th place, and less than a second behind a 2010 Camaro SS which would have had nearly a 100 more horsepower. Either that car's 1:19 was flawed, or the GT-R really is that good. 
 
Under such conditions, not much changes, though. The car still has a slight push mixed in with other behaviors, and I thought perhaps I could make a wheel spin, a tire squeal more overtly, ANYTHING, but the GT-R always manages to behave at this track, and with its stock tires. Leaving this tracks two flat (non-banked) turns while plastering that gas-pedal, there's sometimes a moment when it seems the rear-end's about to lose some of its traction, the rear actually starts to step out a bit forcefully. But then something happens, some decision by some authority somewhere in that computer seems to get made. And the wanton behavior then STOPS. Goodness. 
 
So there isn't much to report for the actual race, which was done with soft sports instead of hard sports. I noticed that sometimes the front-end turned-in with lift-off a tad quicker than it did with hard tires equipped, the problem is this behavior is not always a given. Sometimes the car allows this, other times it won't, and now here it is stuck in a cornering line that feels about as flexible as a bayonet stuck in a wine barrel. Bayonet stuck in wine barrel. How the hell did I just come up with that? 
 
But overall, not many problems at High Speed Ring II, and I did not expect many, either. On the other hand, at Nürburgring's GP/F circuit, there was a lot more to report in the manner of problems to be solved. Lots more pushing up-front, which can show up while entering or while exiting. Now, it's not the sort of pushing we'd see in a locker room from a set of bullies, nor is it muscle-car type pushing. It's not as bad as I'm making it sound, is what I mean to say, but when it comes to the actual race itself, it's obvious there's a little too much front-end understeer for comfort at times. With a 5-second 100 to zero mph time, this car's got effective brakes, but it hasn't got the absolute Brembo Best Braking we'd see from a GT-R V-spec. The bottom line though is to use this car's serviceable Nissan brakes to best advantage. They're there to help, for there are times the actual computer systems can't always do so. 
 
Even if there is no pushing, the braking is appropriate, and the car turns-in flawlessly, if any sort of adjustments are needed, especially during that crucial entry-to-midturn area, there's not usually any leeway to make these extra adjustments. Not with hard sport tires, anyways.
 
On the other hand, while leaving turns, especially at this track, the GT-R's combination of gizmos does often assist in many fabulous ways. I remember driving a Mitsubishi 3000GT many months ago at this very same track, preparing for this very same race. The 3000GT had similar problems with pushing on-entry (as many all-wheel drives do), but the difference is it offered NO assistance while leaving GP/F's variety of turns. At least the Nissan often removes the typical front-end 'on-rails' AWD feeling, and replaces it with a bit of rear-end throttlesteering!  Out of Turn 1, I could even choose 1st gear, which'll cause the Skyline to lurch sideways (finally) with a bit of rear-sliding. This behavior is (of course) short-lived, but the bottom line is this system is definitely superior to the mess experienced in that Mitsubishi. 
 
On the other hand, this sort of behavior is not always 100% reliable. There are times when the Skyline's throttle is kicked a tad early (or something) and the computer seems to decide "oh, you want to go a little wide? No problem" when it turns out I didn't want to go a little wide. I wanted to get that golden steering-from-the-rear action of the last lap. It's as if the computer can perform its magic, but sometimes it's gotta be tricked into doing so. Has something to do with the precise moment gas is plotted down, while the steering wheel is turned just so, and the car's on an angle that its gravitational sensors can work with. 
 
So there ya have it: an honest car review on the one everybody loves to hype. I've tried my best to splatter Godzilla with some mud, and it might be a good idea to run and hide from the beast before he comes and gets us! 
         

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Pros
 
1). Yeah, it's a Skyline.
 
2). Lots of gut-wrenching turbocharged power from that RB26DETT engine.
 
3). This car lays its wide torqueband out, smooth as oil, which is why the GT-R is such an easy supercar for a  novice sort of driver than many others. 
 
4). Traction so flawless, I have yet to really see this car's tires smoke or slide no matter how hard it's driven. This includes GT5, where oversteer issues are somewhat more prevalent.  
 
5). That purring engine sound. While it's not anywhere near my favorite, it's certainly a Pro for lots of people out there. 
 
6). 5-speed gearbox feels a bit tall for some applications, but the only criticism one can make in this day and age (it's not a 6-speed) can't be applied for a car from 1989 to '98. 6-speeds were not in vogue yet, you see. 
 
7). Acceleration that never needs to be addressed. Aerodynamically ready for 160+ miles-per-hour right from the dealer.
 
8). Lots of tuning options so far as power goes, too. Oh yeah. GT5 only includes the usual 3 turbo kits, but some other games include Stages 4 and 5, too.
 
9). Priced appropriately for all the performance to be had. Easy to find an R32, as well, even in GT5. Used versions in GT4 are simply dirt-cheap, most of the time.   
 
10). GT5: large mirrors if the driver's using the in-car view.       
 
Cons
 
1). R32 generation Skylines are the blandest in my opinion. There's no yawning, darkened grille, the spoilers and wings are subtly attached to contemporary bodywork. Nothing intimidating, and not much style going on here.
 
2). 160 mph speedo in a car that can go faster than this while it's power is at minimum?
 
3). Read most any words on the GT-R, and there's nothing but good stuff so far as handling goes. In truth, these cars push if pushed, their front-ends occasionally prone to understeer that can (sometimes) barely be manipulated. Lift-off and throttlesteer can happen, but this is not always reliable. The GT-R's otherwise flawless handling can make for a rather dull experience too, driving-wise.
 
4). Too many versions of the 'same car'. I struggled to find the difference between an '89 and a '91, for instance, which is a few less pounds for the earlier car, a few more for the latter.
 
5). Despite their dominance on the tracks, R32s aren't very fun to watch as they tackle every turn with a lack of dramatic impetus. 
      
 
Published: January 12, 2014
Edited for GT4: April 6, 2015
  

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