Let me get the clichés out of the way first. The GT-R is an incredible feat of engineering, it’s a physics-defying tool from the PlayStation generation, packed with as much technology as the Space Shuttle, allowing any ham-fisted driver to look like a pro behind the wheel. Ahhh, that’s better! Right, let’s forget about all those ready-made phrases that car journalist like to sprinkle their reviews of the GT-R with and talk seriously about a car that is the result of sheer obsession. You can’t possibly begin to understand why the GT-R is so good unless you take the time to appreciate it in its details. The drivetrain, the transaxle dual-clutch gearbox, the powerful twin-turbo V6, the finely tuned suspension and geometry, the incredibly low center of gravity and of course the brains of the car that tie everything together. If this was a car made by a renowned manufacturer of exotics, everyone would be going crazy over all the technology and engineering solutions, but because it’s a Japanese manufacturer it’s all so easily dismissed as simple trickery, almost to the point of accusing the technology of cheating the performance out of the car. This is something that always plagued the previous generation of the GT-R, which I always found to be somewhat misunderstood outside of Japan. It was a generation of cars that were born and developed with the sole intent of going racing, reigning victorious for well over a decade in national championships.
But to the “outside world” the GT-R was something out of the Playstation generation, a car that was linked directly to a series of films that I will not mention here, left to bask in a somewhat cheesy light. I will never forget that time when a now-vanished Top Gear presenter, when doing a buying guide for the GT-R said that the brakes on these cars are prone to blowing up. That was the last straw for me, I never took any review of the car seriously after that, but rather continued to learn more about them as an owner and ever-growing fan of its history. Which brings me to the car you see here, the most expensive GT-R ever produced, the absolute pinnacle of the whole GT-R evolution, a car I was handed the keys to for a week.
There was a long wait which spanned a massive five years between when the BNR34 was discontinued in mid-2002, to when the R35 appeared undisguised at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. As soon as Carlos Ghosn took over the reign at Nissan he knew very well that the “R” badge stood for so much and made sure that the new car everyone would be expecting would represent the pinnacle of Nissan’s engineering capabilities straight out of the box. Back in 1999 the BNR34 felt ballistic but in 2007 the 480 HP GT-R was on a totally new level, setting its sights on established supercar benchmarks like the Porsche Turbo. Now, five years on the R35 I am driving not only packs a massive 541 HP punch but has addressed some of the criticism of its apparently lacklustre cabin…at a “slight” extra cost. For close to $185,000, and if you live in Japan (as well as a very few selected other countries) you can go for the Egoist version, which mates that explosive performance with a fully customizable, leather clad interior and few other high-end choice accessories.
My first assessment consisted in spending a night cruising around the streets of Tokyo, hitting up neighbourhoods like Shimbashi, Ginza and Akihabara, where I enjoyed the Eogoist’s luxurious cabin and the car’s docile nature when driven gently as an everyday ride. A few hours of sleep later however I couldn’t have been in a more different place, as I tackled some amazing driving roads on the mountains that surround Fuji Speedway.
It was there that once again I was blown away but how far this car has come, how Mizuno-san – the project leader for the GT-R – has been able to continuously evolve its capabilities. Every time I jump in an R35 the same thought comes into my mind, and that is a car this big and heavy has no right going this fast. But contrary to popular belief, Mizuno has actually used the weight of the car to increase its traction, grip and overall handling to the point that it amazingly masks all that mass. Through the somewhat slippery concrete-topped roads…
…the Egoist seemed to put its luxurious demeanour to one side, allowing that race-bread soul to shine. With the transmission in R mode and the suspension left in normal with all traction and stability controls off the GT-R sliced precisely through every turn, machine-gunned through every gear and catapulted out of every apex with impressive poise and precision. Those big 20-inch Dunlops offer so much grip and the variable AWD system so efficient that all the 541 HP the VR38 develops can be efficiently deployed to the ground. Once you recalibrate your driving style to the Egoist’s capabilities you can start to play around, getting on the power a little earlier to voluntarily kick out the tail. It’s all so progressive the GT-R never bites back…
…it just continues to reward. And then there are the brakes. For your 185-grand you also get the SpecV’s carbon-ceramic brakes which are among some of the best I’ve had the pleasure of sampling. There is still a numbness when cold that plagues all such systems, but when you step on them they offer the most rewarding bite this side of a race car. They are progressive and easy to modulate and even on non-stop hard drives never seem to break sweat, a perfect addition to what is the best factory GT-R in existence.
After annihilating a full tank of hi-octane gas I slipped the transmission into auto and calmly drove down the mountains towards Fuji Speedway, as the seat heaters did their thing. There I would stop for a few pictures…
…and to take a look at the Egoist in detail.
Along with the carbon-ceramic stoppers the Egoist is fitted with the same dry-carbon cooling ducts as the now-discontinued SpecV, offering much better cooling of the front brakes.
The Egoist comes in Ultimate Opal White, a very special 3-coat multi-flex pearl color that while hard to differentiate from normal white from a distance, when you get up close has all sorts of metallic green, gold and purple reflections depending on what sort of light hits it.
The VR38DETT hasn’t been fettled with, the 541 HP that is offered throughout the range was deemed more than enough…
…for this special Egoist version. However…
…boosting the V6′s growl is a full titanium exhaust system, the same that was fitted to the SpecV and the same that you can purchase from Nismo as part of their $66,485 “Club Sports Package.”
Once you begin to notice these important yet subtle differences the Egoist begins to stand out, but it doesn’t end there.
The rear end is spiced up with yet another SpecV addition, the extremely light, dry carbon trunk spoiler. This wing has become such a highly requested part that from this month, with the release of the 2014 GT-R, has been added to the options list, yours for a cool $9,200!
Here is closer look at the lightweight Rays wheels that come with the Egoist, again the same as used on the SpecV and available from Nismo. They offer a substantial weight advantage, shaving over a kilogram from each corner, lowering unsprung weight and therefore contributing to the overall handling and steering-feel improvements. Behind those chunky, almost TE37-like spokes, hide the sliver calipers, the same 6-pot front and 4-pot rears that equip the “regular” cars but sporting a special brake pad compound…
…made especially to be used with the carbon-ceramic discs.
All of these upgrades warrant that little “Egoist” emblem under the rear GT-R badge…
…except there is far more to this top of the line R35 than its exterior upgrades.
A big chunk of that $185,000 comes from the high-end, leather-clad interior that is available in 20 different color combinations. The press car I borrowed from Nissan went for one of the flashiest ones available, red for the dashboard and various other trims against grey for the seats, transmission tunnel…
…and the doors. Both the seats and main door sections are covered in diamond quilted stitching to offer a softer more padded surface…
…with the lower part of the doors, the headliner and pillars covered in grey and red suede, areas you just can’t help but fondle more often than not.
Event the sills are upholstered in tight leather and finished off with a GT-R badge. Every time I got in and out of the Egoist I had to make sure I wouldn’t scratch this particular area with my heels, but even when I accidentally scraped the bottom of my shoes along it, it seemed quite resistant to scratches.
The quality of the leather, the stitching and the overall fit and finish is on par with cars in this high price bracket…
…and it seems to fit in great with the unique design of the R35′s interior. The center console is another area that Nissan has improved over the years, replacing that scratch-prone and rather cheap looking rubbery finish of the first cars with carbon fiber…
…and now even redesigned knobs for the A/C and A/V system controls.
Rear seat occupants get the same soft leathery treatment and can entertain themselves by running their fingers along the suede headliner and dry carbon subwoofer enclosure! Top of the line all the way!
Even the rear parcel shelf is covered in the same red suede as the headliner!
For those that crave the best of everything from their GT-R the Egoist is the perfect car. It further extends the long list of capabilities the R35 boasts by combining two opposite qualities; luxury and performance. It may not be for everyone, and Nissan knows that, but it’s there for those that can appreciate it.
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
I have never understood nissan's obsession with the gtr. They could send their time on their real sports car not this asinine race cheat sedan. This is why I hate the GTR, EVO and STI. They are race/rally sedan cheats, that don't stand on their own. They throw power and awd at sedans to win races, not with the intent on making a good car. Most of my favourite cars are purposeful planned car that were designed from the beginning to be what they are. Nissan has lost it's mind with this and the juke R. Why they could not put this engine(minus the awd) in the z34 instead is beyond me (i am sure they could have made it fit or at least a TT version).
ColtReid I'm confused by your (really strong) opinion. I'm getting the impression that you favour RWD traditional sports cars but... high-tech AWD is the best way to put high power to the ground. RWD has its place for enthusiasts and racing classes, but AWD is hardly cheating. As to why they didn't put the VR38 TT into the Z34 is simple- price point. That's just not the 370's market. The GTR was made for the near-supercar market, the Z34 is made for the sports coupe market. The Skyline GTRs, Impreza WRX STIs, and Lancer Evolutions were simply the pinnacle of that model of car, which happened to be AWD, because that was the best way to maximize performance. They are perfect examples of manufacturers designing a car from start to finish to be the best of its lineup. I don't see why you think RWD and two doors (all GTRs are coupes, btw) are the only things that make a good car.
By "cheats" i meant that they are more like homologation specials than regular models. Not that they were cheating. sorry about the confusion. Other than r35 all of the evo ,sti, gtr cars have been homologation cars or least in that spirit if not technically (I think). Which means they started the design process as regular cars and were given way too much power .This is anything but a coherent start to finish design. They were not designed to be sport cars they were design in the case if the lancer to be a regular ff sedan. Everyone compares these homologation car to regular cars not knowing that they were not designed and would never have that much power if not for being homologation cars. Japanese car companies as of late have been seemingly afraid to give any of their better cars the power to succeed in this marketplace of extreme power. It is frustrating to see good cars suffering from lack of power.(FT86,Miata,RX-8,S2000,etc) When silly cars like a lancer is given 400hp (fq-400 u.k model). The first GTR got pwnd once mazda came out with the RX-3SP so bad they did not make a another for a long time.
The Evo in many generations was NOT meant to"The best of their lineup". The AWD turbo sport car the 3000GT/GTO was the meant to be best at that time. It is disheartening to know while Mitsubishi was playing with the evo they were letting the 3rd and 4th Eclipses waste away. Instead of continuing the awd turbo eclipses( a car meant to be sporty) they wasted resources on the evo. The first evos were made by sticking the galant vr-4 drivetrain into a lancers. Clearly not their original plan.
ColtReid The GTR was designed from the ground up to be a full-on AWD sportscar, passing early prototype phases and concept iterations traced back to 2002. It has over a decade of history behind it so i have to say you quite misjudge it comparing it to other hot AWD sedans which as you say, and to this i fully agree, began their life as humble FFs like a Lancer or an Impreza. The GTR is simply not a part of this range of cars.
It might not have been clear but i did note the r35 as the exception.
"Other than r35 all of the evo ,sti, gtr cars have been homologation cars or least in that spirit if not technically (I think)"
Very classy GT-R! I like that the Japanese have no qualms about calling it the "Egoist" version, haha
is it just me or dont you just hate it when people watch these Car programmes on TV and the belive EVERY single word that comes out their mouth?!
And what happened to the Spec-V, they seem to be around that much as its already dis-continued, and replaced with this beast!
Such an awesome car, saw one on the way home next to a Black Evo X, got excited and almost forgot to brake for the traffic lights!!!
man for that price its a steal as the rrp of the standard gtr here in aus is 170000 i'd sure love one!
It's not for everyone, it's for the wealthy, it's a luxury version...guys this is a 185000 Nissan GTR...one-hundred-and-eighty-five-thousand dollars GTR!The people who have that kind of money just don't buy a Nissan, there is no market for a car like this!The interior aged pretty badly, the exterior was never a point of attraction: the only thing that made the GTR a success was the outstanding performance for the money.Let's analyze a bit the market, shall we: for that sum you get in Ferrari, Aston, Porsche, Bentley and even McLaren territory, if you are lucky.Now you can tell me everything you want, but no JDM hardcore enthusiast can be so much into a brand to ignore this.This will be a huge failure for Nissan, as the Spec-V was: luxury ,as well as racing, needs a heritage that Nissan doesn't have.On the other hand, a RS/GT3 inspired version would be a huge success, cause weight is the limit of the R35.
I really can't get my head around the R35 styling, frankly the LED's just look tacky. But there is no denying it performance. Maybe one of the tuning companies in Japan will put a R34 shell over the R35 frame?
Brocky_X An interesting idea, although I think we might first see an RB26 & R34 driveline dropped into an R35 (kind of like the BenSopra GTR minus engine)
I can't stand the general australian motoring enthusiasts (read: GM loving bogan) attitude to japanese cars (particularly the GT-R, and the 86/BRZ) here is an example (http://news.drive.com.au/drive/car-of-the-year/drive-car-of-the-year-toyota-86-gt-20121126-2a2tj.html#comments) (scroll down to comments). the recent article on the GT-R improving it's ring time was much worse but that article has now gone. basically the theme is this: jap crap (amazing how much that term come up) and that all the japanese do is copy the hard work of others (apparently the GT-R is a copy of a 911 turbo, i see little similarities but anyway).
anyway thats my rant of the day, not really into the egoist, in my opinion the early GT-R's looked by far the best (without stupid LED's and with the old wheels)
Gareth36 Common Gareth, you can't put all us Aussies into the same boat. I personally love anything Japanese automotive. And I love sticking it to the bogans, when their brand new V8 is out done by a 14 year old japanese car with 2 less cylinders.
I also love the fact that an Evo done up as a race car will generally put down better times that the V8 supercars.
Brocky_X I wasn't saying that was everyone's attitude just seems like a large percentage thats all, it's a shame australia hasn't got the same import scene as NZ.
I might actually watch some v8 supercars next year, hopefully nissan and mercedes will put on a good show. loved a line i read in the paper regarding the nissan - "the engine will have to be checked to ensure no unfair advantage as it is lighter and has a much more free flowing head" .....haha
Gareth36 Brocky_X Ever since seeing the GT-R back in 2007 I've always called it a mini-Veyron. With the 2014 R35 now managing 2.7 sec 0-100 km/h, as Mizuno san said, if you want to go faster than that with a production car you better start saving up as it's only the Veyron that manages it LOL
ummm so basicly.....nissan isz producing a VIP style GTR.....i LOVE the GTR but bored face...
I am always amazed about the random French words that make their way into Japanese products... "egoiste" means selfish / egotistical... I get it, but still an odd name for a trim level... speedhunters_dino Have you gotten any indication from Nissan as to the expected longevity for the carbon discs ? I can imagine that changing them out will cost a small fortune, but then again it seems that more and more LeMans teams seem to get by the whole 24hr race on the same set of rotors, so in day to day driving they might actually last a LONG time... Curious ...
ericbauer I know one SpecV owner which had to change rotors, and ended up going for regular steel discs. I think they cost around 2 million yen but will have to check on that. I think it's the same price you pay for any Brembo CC rotor be it Ferrari, Porsche, Audi etc...
Egoist is German for selfish, German words are far more popular in Japanese car culture then French.
I would love to see some of those interior shots up large and in person... when did you guys say book 2 is coming out?
I know that it is the most expensive r sold on a number basis, but do you happen to know what a 32 gtr cost in japan at the time it was sold? I know that here in aus they were 105k, and at the time that was roughly the same as a 911 turbo. Funnily enough I went to that comic store in akihabara last week pictured in the second shot after I had wandered electric town
777 Was just about to post that question, but specifically on the R34. Granted the GT-R is supposed to be a step up, would be interesting to know the cost vs cost taking into account inflation.
777 The R34 GT-R V-spec in 1999 was around $80,000 in todays money, but a lot cheaper if you consider the yen/$ exchange was around 120 (now 78!).
Jochem It's a tough one to answer. It's a car I would probably never consider buying myself as those sort of extras don't appeal to me...but to some out there, it's obviously worth it. At least Nissan is addressing every possible type of customer....well minus one. I personally want to see them make an "RS" version of the GT-R like Porsche does for the GT2 & GT3. The SpecV was a futile attempt that was barely faster than the stock base car. The FIA GT3 widebody GT-R is the perfect basis for this - so let's just hope they come up with something more aggressive looking, lighter, with a spartan interior, more power and heck even 2WD if they felt adventurous!
LouisSoon Jochem There is a story in the making, I'm almost there...few more bits and pieces and a bit of spare time and I'll get there...;)
speedhunters_dino LouisSoon Jochem Yeah I agree with Jochem, would love to see a feature on your GT-R :D Looking forward to it :D
CrisCiunganu LouisSoon Jochem You will be seeing a lot more of it from next year. I've kind of neglected it haha
speedhunters_dino CrisCiunganu LouisSoon Jochem
Thats nice to hear! there are only two things i know about your R34, the little black box you tested with Tarzan/Tazan (?) and this mounts from Spoon. It seems to be a well thinged build.
Got to say I'm not a fan of this car. For me dry carbon ducting/wings + diamond quilted leather just don't mix. If it was an out and out luxury car then leave the racey carbon bits for the SpecV, likewise I wouldn't want a fancy interior in a SpecV. This just seems like a mismatch of everything they could charge a premium for, to attract people with too much money who just want "the best" car to brag about. Non of this matters though, as from Nissans' point of view it makes perfectly good business sense, hopefully they'll use the money to go racing :).
Robo_No1 Well I think the name sums it up perfectly "Egoist" it's for the man that must have everything and then some, even if it makes little sense to others:)
speedhunters_dino Yeah, I decided not to make comment on the name, it seemed like an easy target lol. Besides, knowing my luck it would be a Japanese word for something I didn't understand anyway haha!
I will admit i don't know much about fashion. But when i saw that interior colour combination i threw up in my mouth a little.
Loved the article.
Sam...it's like those reds that Porsche does sometimes and those grays that BMW has as well...black on black or black on dark silver is far better.
I hated the styling of the R35 when it came out, but it's really growing on me now even though i don't like any of the additions they've done (i don't like the new front fascia with the leds and the weird larger grille opening, and the little vents beside the exhausts, while likely functional, look SO tacky and just remind me of the days when every civic you saw has "z3 fenders")
ComJive Looks are subjective, I have never particularly liked the way it looks, but it is growing on me. One you drive it however, you don't care how it looks lol
Pointless in my opinion. Does the driver who actually buys a GTR want this? Like your not buying this type of car to have the interior looking like that fancy sitting room in big houses that nobody actually sits in. Would a rich person who has no interest in using the car for what it is made for want to be in a Nissan just sayen.
DomoKun Its aimed at the people who have considered buying one but went else where for better appointed luxury levels.