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Are The Japanese Poised to Dethrone the 911 AND the Z06?

MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,626
edited April 10 in Nissan
This new Nissan GT-R sounds spectacular. Recent road tests show it mopping up the 911 and the new Vette Z06 on the track and on the road. Not "edging out" but seriously manhandling.

EGAD! Could this be happening, finally, after all the misfirings with the Acura NSX, the Supra Turbo and other attempts to market a Japanese supercar in America?

480HP, 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, 190 mph, AWD, twin turbo, dual-clutch, 6-speeds, hand-built engine, nitrogen-filled tires.

All for $70,000 bucks.
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Comments

  • Frankly yes, but only temporarily.

    It won't be long before the competition develops an AWD traction and handling system that is competitive with Nissan's ATTESA-ETS system. It might take a few years, because the Nissan is out NOW in some countries, and the others aren't ready to update their models until past 2010.

    One thing in particular to watch is: how much technology are Porsche and Audi going to share now that Porsche is buying a larger stake in VW? Perhaps there is a fusion of AWD technologies that will allow the Germans to develop a hyper-AWD traction and handling system as well.

    I'm going to speculate on Corvette though. If they want to stay front-engine RWD only, which I'm sure their base would insist on, they have to lighten the engine. Only 50% of the weight on the drive wheels to 100% on the GT-R will eventually be a hinderance. There is no reason why they can't get 500 hp out of a 3.5L-4.0L V8 with supercharging. Getting the weight under 3000lbs will compensate for lack of AWD traction.

    I love the Vette and the Viper, but lets be honest, 6.2-8.3L engines are too big. They did an awesome job engineering a car to carry these engines really fast, but in the end, there comes a point when your tires just can't get any wider, your gear ratios can't get any lower, and you need AWD to push a 3000+lb car around a track as fast as a GT-R.
  • pmc4pmc4 Posts: 198
    The GT-R is "mopping up" the 911 and Z06 according to the Engineer in charge of the GT-R's design, not by any objective journalist.
    The GT-R is just an overbloated, 3,900 monstrosity that's tiny yet weighs almost as much as the Empire State Building. It gets its 0-60 figure by being an AWD chassis and that's it. The Vette has so much power that you induce wheelspin. People are getting 0-60 MPH times in the high 2's after Sonoco Blue is poured on the asphalt.

    There's no way a heavy car like the GT-R will have the handling characteristics of a Vette or even a GT3 for that matter. Front-end weight bias is just too much for delicate control of steering, and it's just enough to numb the experience.
    I can see the GT-R competing against other front-end heavy cars like the M3 but not the Z06 or GT3. The GT3 and Z06 are lithe, agile Oympic athletes compared to the porky GT-R...
  • The GT-R is "mopping up" the 911 and Z06 according to the Engineer in charge of the GT-R's design, not by any objective journalist.
    The GT-R is just an overbloated, 3,900 monstrosity that's tiny yet weighs almost as much as the Empire State Building. It gets its 0-60 figure by being an AWD chassis and that's it. The Vette has so much power that you induce wheelspin. People are getting 0-60 MPH times in the high 2's after Sonoco Blue is poured on the asphalt.

    There's no way a heavy car like the GT-R will have the handling characteristics of a Vette or even a GT3 for that matter. Front-end weight bias is just too much for delicate control of steering, and it's just enough to numb the experience.
    I can see the GT-R competing against other front-end heavy cars like the M3 but not the Z06 or GT3. The GT3 and Z06 are lithe, agile Oympic athletes compared to the porky GT-R...


    You need to do a little more homework. There is becoming a plethora of tests by objective journalists in which the GT-R 'mops up' the Z06, the GT3, and the Porsche turbo.

    Autoblog

    Fifth Gear

    Inside Line

    And there are plenty more where those came from.

    Yes, it is heavy, but they've done such a pheonominal job with the AWD system that it more than makes up for its weight. Currently, no Corvette or Porsche in production stands a chance on a track.

    Yes, the Z06 gets 0-60 in the high 2's with extra grip added. But those are rediculously skewed conditions. There are no doubt conditions in which the GT-R could make up some time as well. Keep in mind, the C6 Z06 has been out for over a year and the GT-R isn't even in the states yet, and the real pros of drag racing haven't gotten a hold of it yet. And already journalists are getting better 0-60 times than they can in a Z06 on the first try.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Remember when the Mitsubishi 300GT VR4 was "mopping up" everyone when it came out in 1990? The initial road tests confirmed this. After the new wore off, people noticed that it was a porky, 4WD technogeek mobile that really wasn't much fun to drive. People went back to their Corvettes and 911s while the 3000 faded away. I have no idea if this will happen again, but people quickly forget the recent past. How many times as the latest "sports car of the future" been heralded as the one to dethrone Vettes and 911s over the past 40 years anyway?
  • IMHO, that isn't quite relevant. Because you're forgetting the the VR4 for a while was mopping up the 964s and the C4 Corvettes. So nobody really got bored with the VR4, Porsche just responded with the 993 and Corvette with the C5. If anything, the VR4 forced the competition to respond with better performing vehicles. And really, they did it by just getting more power. The VR4 could have continued to mop up the competition if they kept updating it past 330hp. That engine is capable of 400+hp. Mitsu just decided to go another route.

    They gave up on the aging 3.0L V6 coupe and focused on the 2.0L I-4 sedan. The Evolution has proved to be a very capable and fast car, and it is even more of a techno-geek mobile. The FQ-400 is more than a match for anything in its price range.

    The VR4 fans just switched to sedans, the EVOs and the STIs, and a few others. And they are increasing in numbers. This new GT-R is going to be wildly popular, until Porsche and Corvette come up with something comperable.

    Nobody gets bored with the fastest production car in its class.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Within a year of its introduction, C&D and R&T had the 3000 GT VR4 coming in last in comparison tests even behind the aged C4. I remember one test where it finished behind a 968 (with its NA 4-cylinder placed in a 1975 chassis). It wasn't even in the running with the other Japanese cars. It never mopped up much of anything, other than straight line acceleration to around 50 mph thanks to the AWD. With 300 reliable hp from a 300ZX, Supra, or C4 the VR4 became the answer to the question that nobody asked. Maybe they are better now, but at the time Mitsubishi was infamous for adding more boost than their drivelines and engines could handle. I think Chrysler first gave them that idea as they started doing this with the Conquest.

    And how about resale? Price a '94 911 versus a '94 VR4. Started out new maybe 50% more, now worth 3-5 times as much.

    That being said, I have higher hopes for the GT-R. I am just not ready to jump on the bandwagon before they even roll them out.
  • They've been rolled out, just not in the US. The recent tests are being done on production cars, not prototypes.

    Could it be that in 1992 the Corvette got the LT1 engine and got bumped up by 50hp? And that this 911 you speak of was modified with a lighter chassis?

    And you aren't really making any point with the resale values. There are still VR4s in good condition that go for 2/3 of their original purchase price. That's because its still a good platform, can be tuned-to-race at 600hp by an expert, or makes a great collectors item.

    And what '911' are you talking about? A used 911 could be anything up to a 70K 993 GT2.

    So where exactly are the 300ZX and the Supra now? I'll tell you, they got replaced by more advanced sedans, Evo and STI, just like the VR4. Same market, same fate.

    The GT-R is what the 3000GT could have been with 10 years of improved technology. And guess what's currently mopping up the competition? I already said I expect Porsche and Corvette to make a comeback. But the GT-R is raising the bar again.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    So where exactly are the 300ZX and the Supra now?

    Those and the 3000GT got caught in the mid-90s vise of escalating insurance on one side and the appreciating yen on the other side. The NSX was always a top-dollar, low-volume halo car, and it did exactly what Honda expected of it.
  • Funny how only the low-end and high-end performance coupes survived.

    I'm actually a big fan of that entire era of twin-turbo V6s. 300ZX, Supra, VR4. They could have all been great performers had they stuck around. Oh well, more stagetime for Nissan.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I guess my point got lost in there somewhere. To put it more simply, basic sports & GT cars like Corvettes and 911s (or even Miatas) stick around over the long haul. The latest and greatest technological tour-de-force has a really short shelf life.

    Toyota pretty much gave up on the sports & GT market. The 300ZX got replaced (eventually) by the 350Z, a simpler non-turbo car. The RX-7 was replaced (eventually) by the far simpler non-turbo RX-8. See the minor trend going on here?

    Any chimp can run heavy boost on a crappy car and brag about its performance. It didn't work on Porsche 924s in the 70s, Renault Fuegos and Chrysler K cars in the '80s or various Mitsubishis in the '90s.

    I'll reiterate that I am not convinced this is happening with Nissan now. I am just a little skeptical.
  • There is something to be said for the Corvette's longevity even though for about 20 years it was only a name and a shadow of its former self.

    You have to admit, there were plenty of years that the Corvette was just 'plugging along.' I think that mid-70's to mid-90's Corvettes just should never have existed. Honestly, if they just let it die when the first emissions controls took it down to ~200hp I would have tipped my hat to them. And if they resurrected it in its current form, it would have been all the more exciting.

    But remember how the 3000GT's life story went. Introduced; put up a fight, competition fights back, 3000GT is updated, is epitomized in 1997-99 model year, and then die off before they become obsolete. Thats the exact same story for the Supra and the 300ZX. We'll always remember them as never having 'plugged along' for 20 years.

    I don't think Mitsu is in the right place right now to develop a supercar. Acura and Toyota might have something special for us. If the GT-R is not your cup of tea, we are only a few years from having more variety.

    If your comparison is right, we are at the very beginning of another 10-year battle between GT-R, NSX, Supra, Corvette, 911, and anyone else that wants to join the party. And the last model year of the 3000GT was significantly better than the first, so look for the 2019 GT-R to blow the doors off the current one.

    10-year life span? Who cares, this is going to be bliss.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    The scary thing is that from my hurried analysis 76-79 looks to be the best 4 year sales period (and of the worst performing cars) in Corvette history.

    In cars I consider great, quite often the NA version is considered equally fun to drive as compared to the turbo version. This can be argued with 300s, RX-7s, MR-2s, 911s and so on. I don't know what any of this means to the GT-R other than technology and all out performance isn't the end all be all when measuring the worth of sports & GT cars. That being said, I sure would love to lap a track or even just drive down the street in a GT-R.
  • Off-topic; I'm glad you said that, because I was actually looking to pick up an N/A Gen-2 MR-2 without ever having driven one. So you've given me at least a little confidence.

    On-topic; I agree that I wish the GT-R was a much lighter car and didn't get reviews saying it is like a video game to drive. But it is what it is, and I'm glad it's here.

    If I got really bored with the GT-R, I'd start looking at what the aftermarket had to offer. Stiffer springs? Turbo intake and exhaust? Perhaps it could be made to feel more visceral. If it is so easy to drive at its current level, maybe take it up a notch until it feels challenging again (safety first though!)

    Now if they want to throw the Turbo or GT-3 engine in the Carrera, in the 70K range, I'd be all over those even if they are slightly slower. Thats still crazy fast and fun. But we all know thats not going to happen.
  • pmc4pmc4 Posts: 198
    "You need to do a little more homework. There is becoming a plethora of tests by objective journalists in which the GT-R 'mops up' the Z06, the GT3, and the Porsche turbo."

    The only links you provided were links to Top Gear and Edmunds. Top Gear is infamous for their journalistic incompetence; Top Gear is for entertainment and entertainment only. Edmunds was given like 1 hour with the GT-R.
    As I stated before, the only Nurburgring run done in the GT-R was done by the GT-R engineer himself. Since this guy isn't letting the real automotive jopurnalists test the car on the Ring, we must ask ourselves the question, "What is he trying to hide from the automotive community?"

    "Yes, it is heavy, but they've done such a pheonominal job with the AWD system that it more than makes up for its weight. Currently, no Corvette or Porsche in production stands a chance on a track."

    The very reason why the Z06 doesn't have the steering feel or handling of the GT3 is because the Corvette has a mid-engine design with the engine up front. This front-weight bias has a numbing effect on the Z06's steering rack. That's the reason for its slight handling deficiency compared to the rear/mid-engined cars.

    The GT-R not only has its engine up front, but unlike the Corvette Z06, it's a true front-engine car (the Corvette is a mid-engine car with its engine rear of the front axle). Not only that, but there is over 700 more pounds on the front two tires compared to the lithe, agile Corvette, and nearly 1,000 pounds more than with the GT3. What does this mean? It means that while the added grip provided for by the AWD system will aid adhesion for a quick 0-60 run, steering feel and handling will suffer tremendously. Mark my words; after the fanfare dies down, the GT-R will be seen in last place when compared to greats like the Porsche GT3, Chevy Corvette Z06 and Ferrari F430.

    "Yes, the Z06 gets 0-60 in the high 2's with extra grip added. But those are rediculously skewed conditions."

    AWD on the track can be thought of as a "skewed condition."

    "There are no doubt conditions in which the GT-R could make up some time as well. Keep in mind, the C6 Z06 has been out for over a year and the GT-R isn't even in the states yet, and the real pros of drag racing haven't gotten a hold of it yet. And already journalists are getting better 0-60 times than they can in a Z06 on the first try."

    0-60 times is a meaningless statistic. Better to the point is a car's 1/4-mile run.
    If drag racers want to mess around with a nearly 4,000 pound car that doesn't even have 500 horsepower, more to them.
  • You clearly have a very limited knowledge about how AWD works.

    Edmunds had only an hour with the car. And with that hour, they crushed every Z06 journalistic record. Uhhh... that includes the 1/4-mile time.

    Why do you think its not skewed when the Corvette has been launched thousands of times by different drivers and the GT-R has been launched what? Twice? With enough practice, a good GT-R driver should put up high-2s as well. With 2x the traction, it can be heavier, and have less that 500hp, and still be faster. But a straight line isn't even where this car is best. Its handling is its best feature.

    AWD is a multi-talented design. It pulls the front end around corners while the rear end pushes. This particular AWD system can transfer torque to the outside wheels to push it around corners even faster. That means when your front-heavy 'Vette driver has to let off to keep from oversteering and smoking the tires, the GT-R driver can keep powering through.

    Your lithe, agile olympic athletes are trying to outrun a lion. Sure its heavier, but its faster and more agile at any clip.

    All of your analysis of where the weight is on this car is completely irrelevant. First, its a front-midship car, just like the Corvette. The engine is behind the front axle. The transaxle is in the rear, just like the Corvette. And it does not have 700 extra pounds on just the front wheels. You made that up.

    It doesn't really matter what you think about weight, AWD/RWD, power, etc. The facts are in. This car is even more impressive around corners than it is from 0-60. Times change. The GT3, Z06, and F430 are still great, but they are going to have to try harder.

    If you don't like it, don't buy it. But don't guess at what its handling capabilities are.

    And it was Fifth Gear, not Top gear.

    And you forgot to watch the Autoblog videos. There are 2 of them on the bottom of that page.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    How good does the GT-R sound at $95K-$130K ?
  • I would rather not pay that markup. They'll still sell though. I've read that there are only 1500 being released the first year in the US. But there are about 60,000 Americans on a waiting list to buy one. So unless you're the winning bidder, don't get your hopes up about running by the dealer and taking one for a test-drive and weighing your options.

    It makes me laugh though, because Nissan is complaining about losing money this year because of a poor economy (like most other manufacturers), and yet here they have a product who's demand way outstrips its supply. I guarantee if they shifted production to 10x the number of GT-Rs, they would all sell.

    I do hope that other companies follow the GT-R/Corvette model and realize the price of a supercar doesn't have to be astronomical. When we finally have options to choose from, like the new NSX, Supra, ZR1, next-gen Turbo, etc. in the same performance catagory perhaps the cheap supercar demand will spread out and prices will come down.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I don't think that "cheap" and "supercar" go together without a very big "used" in between.
  • nwngnwng Posts: 664
    don't forget GT-R is not a brand new model, skylines were always in limited production and demand premiums.

    I think there are at least two more UK mags who tested the GT-R, look up youtube. One did a M3/911 turbo/GT-R comparison and I forgot the other one which has a M3 in it as well.
  • I don't think that "cheap" and "supercar" go together without a very big "used" in between.

    LOL. Yeah, lets go with 'relatively cheap'. I do indeed think the Z06 is a great bang/buck car. Offering supercar performance for 1/2-1/10 the price. If offered for the same price, the GT-R is in the same catagory (being modest, IMHO its a next-generation car).

    don't forget GT-R is not a brand new model, skylines were always in limited production and demand premiums.

    Indeed, and oddly enough the R32-R34 weighed in between 3500-3700lbs. And those were considered the best handling cars of their time when they were introduced too. And even with only 280-330hp, they were among the fastest due to their awesome AWD traction.

    So this one isn't drastically different, just a few updates. It trades the TT I-6 for the TT V-6. This one getting 50% more power and better economy. Add a few interior and exterior changes, and you have a return of the best handling car in its class.

    Just because it was never sold in the US prior to the R35 doesn't mean it wasn't a Japanese equiv to the 911. It has been since what... 1989?

    I think there are at least two more UK mags who tested the GT-R, look up youtube. One did a M3/911 turbo/GT-R comparison and I forgot the other one which has a M3 in it as well.

    I had them in my Autoblog link, but its just easier to go to the source.
This discussion has been closed.