Long term tests

Nissan GT-R

Nissan's GT-R stock output is pretty respectable, but a ECU remap releases even more oomph for a reasonable outlay

Two questions relating to the GT-R had been playing on my mind. One, what is the true power output of a standard UK-spec R35? (Is it really the puny 478bhp that Nissan claims?) And two, how the hell do I explain to The Brunette that, whatever it is, it’s simply not enough?

I never did manage to come up with a solution for the latter, but to provide a definitive answer for the former I recently paid a visit to my local dyno, Surrey Rolling Road in Chobham (www.surreyrollingroad.co.uk).

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Now, I know that the Milltek Y-pipe I had fitted to my car last month is only supposed to enhance the GT-R’s sound and not its power (and thus not trouble the Nissan warranty), but as there was the possibility that it could, in reality, affect the figures, I also invited a fellow GT-R owner to attend and get his completely standard car figured too.

After SRR’s Charlie Wright had worked out a way to safely strap down a GT-R on his Dyno Dynamics rolling road without having to remove any of the car’s underbody aero panels, I switched off GO02 LLA’s ESP to stop it interfering, and Charlie executed a power run in third gear. After being mildly disappointed with the figures the tuned Corvette Z06 I used to run obtained on this dyno, I was rather surprised to see that my GT-R produced a very healthy 512bhp. Even more staggering was the peak torque figure of 500lb ft. That’s a very big jump from the claimed 433.

We then tested the other, completely stock GT-R and found it produced a solid 506bhp with 485lb ft, but before any conclusions are jumped to about the Y-pipe, I should point out that this car had only covered 1500 miles, so probably had a considerably tighter mill than Godzilla 2. Whatever, the inescapable conclusion is that GT‑Rs comfortably exceed the stated outputs, which goes some way to explaining the car’s remarkable performance – 0-60mph in 3.9sec and 0-100 in 8.4 for the UK press car (evo 134).

It was numbers like these that meant I had no plans to tune my GT-R. After all, most sane people would agree that these are already fantastically impressive figures. However, crossing America in a mighty 820bhp SSP-tuned GT-R (evo 133) opened my eyes to just how tough the new VR38 engine is, so when Ben Linney from UK-based tuner and parts supplier GTC (www.gtc-r.com) mentioned that maps specific to the European GT-R were now available for the amazing Cobb AccessPort tuning device, I was seduced by the power of the dark side…

A small, iPod-sized unit, the AccessPort simply plugs into the diagnostics port under the steering column and allows new maps to be downloaded to the GT-R’s ECU (it can also act as a data logger and performance meter). Does it work? Well, having tested my car on the rolling road in standard tune, a quick ten-minute download had it running the Stage 1 97 RON map (for super-unleaded petrol only), so Charlie fired up the cooling fans again and went for another power run.

I was astonished to see the new graph showed a peak of 547bhp, with a stonking 530lb ft of torque. A quick run with my Racelogic PerformanceBox later on showed a dramatic improvement in performance too, with a best 0-60mph time of 3.2sec and 0-100 in 7.6. When I remember how much money I spent tuning Godzilla 1, my old R33 GT-R, the fact that the Cobb can achieve this and only costs £750 (plus VAT) is mind-blowing.

Now to try Stage 2 and maybe even a custom map…

Running Costs

Date acquiredApril 2009
Total mileage4068
Costs this month£863 (ECU tuner)
Mileage this month942
MPG this month16.6

Recommended

Production-spec Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign revealed
Nissan GT-R coupe

Production-spec Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign revealed

20 May 2020

Most Popular

Aston Martin DB4: review, history and specs
Aston Martin

Aston Martin DB4: review, history and specs

1959 was a watershed year for Aston Martin. As the DBR1 swept all before it on the track, the first customers were taking deliveries of the all-new DB…
11 Oct 2020
SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car
News

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

Over a decade after SSC last entered the record books, its Tuatara has claimed the title of world’s fastest production car
19 Oct 2020
Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble
Cupra

Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble

Is Cupra about to get hold of Audi’s brilliant five-cylinder petrol engine?
19 Oct 2020
Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot
Alpine

Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Heated-up Renaults but no A110 replacement for Alpine as it follows in Cupra and Abarth footsteps
21 Oct 2020