Dear Top Gear,
Where can I buy a Nissan GTR R35 in the Philippines and what is your opinion about this car? I basically studied this car on the Internet and I need to ask some opinion from professionals about this car.
We're really glad a die-hard enthusiast with the resources to burn for such a fantastic car has finally decided to write in!
Here's the low-down on the GTR:
1.) There has never been a car that offers so much all-weather, all-conditions performance that is so very easily accessed and utilized such as the Nissan GTR. Other cars may be faster, have more elevated performance or probably more satisfying BUT these cars will cost more, require a far higher driver's skill to access and will not be as user-friendly if the conditions are less than perfect. It's almost a steal that Nissan would offer the GTR at the current SRP of about U$74,000 dollars more or less. Locally, you can find some old-stock or even slightly used GTR's for about P6.5 million to P6.7 million but these are very rare to come by and are quickly snapped up. Your best bet is to buy the 2010 model year GTR which sells for about 7.2M. The 2010 model very slightly has more power (474hp vs 470hp) but more importantly, has the traction control/stability control and transmission software algorithm reprogrammed to make a faster getaway from rest. And the new programs help protect the admittedly questionable-at-times GR6 twin-clutch tranny.
2.) For servicing, Emperor Motorsports seems to be the primary hub for servicing the Nissan GTR. Autoplus Sportzentrium also as extensive experience (relatively speaking) with the R35 GTR so that's another place to have your vehicle serviced.
3.) Right now, no Nissan dealership to my knowledge has the factory-aprroved Nissan Consult III ECU reader that can scan and clear error codes for the Nissan GTR's ECU for both the engine and transmission. Consult II, which is what most dealerships have, can only do basic scanning for the engine alone but cannot determine fault codes in the GR6 transmission. There are a number of 3rd-party ECU scanners like Cobb Tuning's Accesport which can scan the GTR's transmission ECU but have limited success in doing so.
4.) If you do get the GTR, don't ever try the launch control. LC usually breaks first gear and causes the oil seals to wear, causing tranny leaks. Pieces of the oil seals contaminate the highly specialized gear oil, causing the solenoids that shift the gear to fail. In India, there has already been one guy that opened up the GR6 transmission and cleaned the solenoids and got the tranny to work again properly but that's about the only case I've heard of anyone opening up their GR6 tranny.
5.) Watch the oil temps of the GR6 transmission. If it exceeds a certain oil temp, flush your engine oil immediately. Elevated oil temps of, I believe, 140 degrees celsius can wreak havoc on your tranny. Emperor Motorsports and Autoplus sell a gear oil for the GR6 of higher quality and can withstand slightly more heat and offer greater longevity but a full oil change will set you back around P40,000 (yes, that's 40 grand) for 11 liters of oil (if I remember the packaging correctly). Either way, you have to change the gear oil, with normal use, after 20,000 miles or so as per Nissan's manual.
6.) The engine is bullet-proof but when it is modified, sometimes fault codes pop up. This is often the case with HKS' GT570 kit which ups the power from 470hp to 570hp. This, kit by the way, costs about P350,000 from what I remember, in case you want more power. By using Cobb Accesport reflashed ECU programming, tuners say you can get as much as 600hp.
7.) The brakes have been known to fade when used hard. Garage-R Singapore, an HKS master dealer, says they got the GTR R35's brakes to warp after two laps at the Sepang GP circuit. Here, some local track guys who have tried the GTR in BRC say the brakes start fading after three to four laps of hard use. That's because the GTR is one heavy car!
8.) The special compound tires for the GTR (Bridgestone and Dunlop tires) are very expensive but perform way better than any tire out in the market that will fit the GTR. There are currently no aftermarket tires offering the GTR's size that can outperform the stock tires.
9.) All the tuning parts for the GTR are so much more expensive compared to other Japanese cars.
If you can live with these conditions, then you'll find the GTR a fantastic car to drive. I've driven one three times already and I always get off the driver's seat wired up, sweaty, with my heart pounding!
Dear Top Gear,