April 09, 2005

●Nismo Skyline GT-R Z-tune [Part I]

Well it doesn't get better than this! One Nismo Z-tune, full tank of gas and 2 hours of fun on the Ashinoko Skyline private road. Nismo has been developing this car since 2000 when it first made an appearance at the Nismo festival by winning the Tuner's Battle. Back then the car was running 600PS and was more like a stripped out performance machine than an actual road car. As the project developed the car was slowly tuned into a more easy to live with road-car which saw the disappearance of the roll cage and the addition of a leather interior, A/C and of course a catalyst to comply with toughening emission standards.
The Z1 engine was de-tuned to the 500PS Z2 variant (which equips the final car). After being tested for years and at the Nürburgring 24h race (slightly different spec) it's safe to say that with its GT block, crank and conrods (from the victorious GT500 RB powered Skylines) this engine is bullet proof. In fact it could handle a hell of a lot more power...but keep in mind Nismo has to offer a reliable car for the 20 lucky customers that will get their hands on the ¥16,900,000 Z-tune.
So how does it go you might be wondering...
As I set off on my test it took me a while to explore the engine's capabilities. This is because I spent at least 5 minutes with my mouth open, in total amazement of the suspension-chassis-brake combination. I have driven a few GT-Rs in my time, a lot more powerful than the Z-tune but as I have always believed, power is not everything. Put it down to the Sachs racing suspension, the revised geometry with harder bushing, the front 1.5 way LSD I don't know what...this Z-tune feels so in touch with the road, the grip is phenomenal and the steering feel is simply awesome bettering a standard BNR34 by a mile offering far more information and weighting up strongly yet progressively when tackling those cambered mountain corners. The brakes...perfect. No other word can sum them up better. They are noisy as hell, bite down in anger at the first millimeter of pedal travel (which can make for jerky heel&toe downshifts) but who cares when they work so well. With S-tyres these Brembo brakes (6-pot front & 4-pot rear) offer 1.6 G of braking force. The ABS was reprogrammed to take into account the increased braking power.
The Z2 engine feels just as special. It revs and responds effortlessly while being totally refined from low rpm. Coming from an ATS twin-plate carbon clutch (fitted to my car) I found the Nismo Coppermix twin a bit unrefined when setting off at low rpm but miles better than the old twins they used to sell. Floor the throttle and the thing takes off. You need at least 4,250 rpm to get any substantial shove (about 1Kg/cm2 at this engine speed) but all hell brakes loose once you hit 5,000 rpm (1.4~1.5) and it doesn't give up accelerating until the fuel cut-off just under 8,000 rpm.
I wasn't expecting such a peaky delivery but I soon began to get used to it. Due to the very stiff suspension (14kg/mm springs front and rear & hard damper settings) not really suited to the bouncy mountain roads I found myself short-shifting 2nd (6,000-7,000rpm) in a few places and getting caught off boost in 3rd...you really have to hit 8,000 rpm if you want 3rd to pick up well. This is a circuit oriented car after all but it drove beautifully on tight mountain roads...although a bit more low-down grunt would have been spot on.
Levels of grip are outstanding. The Attesa E-TS Pro has been reprogrammed to offer a lot more front torque transfer than a standard GT-R. This became evident straight away as I tried to get the back end to drift out, something my car does easily and safely like all GT-Rs. The Z-tune rear end does not budge! Floor it in 2nd at the apex and it just goes around like it was on rails...only time it got remotely out of shape was under hard braking going into a corner. This increased front-end power shift was confirmed by the front torque dial on the MFD which would light up green all the way to the max every time I would get on the power. I would have preferred a bit more adjustability under power but I feel that at these performance levels and on such tight and bumpy roads I would have run out of "talent" and done something stupid!
Check back in a few days for a few more pictures and details from the day.

Posted by dino at April 9, 2005 12:00 PM
Trackback URL

Trackabck URL of this entry:

Please post your comments.

Save this data?

(You can use HTML.)