It’s crap. I don’t think any car company has made me more angry, in recent history, than Nissan. They claimed the car would be revolutionary, and that us Americans would finally get to taste the sweet fruits that are Japanese super cars. When Nissan showed the first concept car of the new skyline, I was in love. The styling was exotic, edgy, and seductive to say the least. The rumors were flying about the engines that might go in the car, and the horsepower number soared where few others dared. For once a car company seemed to embrace the public clamor around the car, and the production car is not far from that concept. All that hype, the 40 billion spy photos, posts every automotive forum and news site fed the skyline flames. After all of that even I was so excited I could not contain myself. But once it was all said and done, Nissan lied to me and everyone else! Now, this is not to say the car is not stunning, because its one of the best looking cars out there. The car is also very advanced, with a newly developed 3.8L that is driven to impress, better turbos to get every last horse power out of that motor, and last, its superb all wheel drive system that will surely rip your face off the first time you launch the car.
I ask you to dig a little deeper into the skyline culture and tell me what you see. Take the R32 GT-R, it was simply a skyline with a lot more power, an all wheel drive system and that’s it. The interior was very spartan, not much better than todays yaris, and it was one of Nissan’s top of the line sports car at the time. Looking a little forward in time comes the R33, and you see the same thing. Mediocre two tone cloth seats, in a mundane interior, but the car was a rocket! The technology advanced some since the R32, the car grew in size a little, but the cars continued to sell. If we jump another generation to the R34, which even I lusted over, we see the same trend. The car is stunningly simple, masculine and sexy at the same time, with the power to back up the good looks. Again the cars interior is nothing short of a single step up from Nissan’s economy cars. There was no leather wrapped dash, no 16 way power adjustable seats, nothing amazing at all, save for the cool computer mounted in the dash. But again, more power, a better all wheel drive system, and a good looking car made the car sell.
Now back to the new skyline, and its spec sheet, which seems impressive at first. 473 horsepower, 433 pound-feet of torque, Carbon fiber propshaft, 0.99 lateral G rating, which is all amazing in its own right until you make it down to the Weight, 3836 lbs. WHAT!? Please tell me that’s a typo? How can the new affordable super car from japan be 4000lbs? The R34 is only a few inches smaller and weighs 500lbs less! I could expect 4000lbs from Bently, Aston, Benz or any other over the top car company, but not Nissan. In fact the R35’s main rival, the Porsche 997 Turbo, is 300lbs lighter, even if it is the smaller car. However, in the Porsche you get, the leather wrapped dash, the supple and supportive seats, the wheel that you can hold for hours, all for 300lbs less. Yes, maybe I’m harping a little on weight, but that’s where the performance is these days. Why outfit a car with 20in wheels, when you can fit 18’s on the car and save 60lbs? Why not shave some weight with a little carbon body work, something, anything to save a little weight. Take the other affordable super car in the skylines price range, the new C6 z06. 505 horsepower, 485 pound-feet of torque, a bunch of carbon body panels, and the interior is nice, but not amazing, all for the minuscule foot curb weight of 3130lbs. The performance of the c6 z06 is already proven, and the car never received half the press that the skyline is getting. I’d venture to say that the reason the z06 is so amazing is its weight. Sure, it has another 30 horsepower over the skyline, but we’ve all seen in track tests that 30 horsepower is a small margin if the car excels in other areas.
While I applaud Nissan’s effort for bringing the first skyline to the states, its too late for me. I’m over my fan boy fawning for super cars from big Japanese names that, I’ll most likely, never see in the US. Granted the segment of cars where the Nissan slotted the new skyline is a growing one. Porsche, Ferrari, and the rest should take notice of this segment before its to late, since there is a growing number of people who are looking for performance without all the trimmings that normally come with it. Other manufactures are playing the super car game with cheaper cars that are just as fast as anything out of Stuttgart or Modena. With fewer bells and whistles, you can still be fast as stink, and clearly the Nissan is fast. There are videos on YouTube of it crushing a 997 turbo, there is the blisteringly fast time on the Ring. I see the new skyline as a 400lbs man running the 100 meter in 9.9. Sure its quite a feat, but just imagine how fast he would be at 350lbs? Nissan, save some weight for me, hold the trimmings and give me a real skyline!