The 2019 Isle of Man TT Senior winner loves big engines and old vans. Good lad
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Nissan GT-R Nismo
The Top Gear car review:Nissan GT-R Nismo
Final thoughts and pick of the range
Normally when a car company says ‘our car has no rivals’ we scoff and immediately think of five, because that’s usually wishful thinking from a car company who knows it doesn’t make the best car in its class. But with the GT-R Nismo, it genuinely is out there on its own.
There are other track special super-coupes, from Porsche, AMG, and others, but in having a front-engined layout with a well-appointed cabin and space for four, and four-wheel drive for all-weather dependability, the GT-R Nismo is a true outlier. A Jag F-Type SVR wouldn’t see which way it went. So is it perhaps closer to an E63 or M5? Tamura-san says the E63 is a great car, but not a benchmark, because it’s more of an everyday car with extreme performance added on, not a ground-up performance car.
The Nissan is rougher around the edges on first impression: it graunches and grinds and rumbles around town. But on a track, it morphs into a laser-guided weapon. And on the road, it’s so monstrously capable you can quite see why people get hold of one then immediately need to tune it. There’s a sense of ‘and where is the limit, exactly?’ to this extraordinary veteran’s superpower abilities.
Leave your ‘it’s only a Nissan’ prejudices at the door. The most sorted, most honed GT-R ever is a fantastic example of what can happen when engineers are left alone to tinker and perfect their art. You’d think that by now, it’d be diminishing returns, but back to back, the latest GT-R Nismo walks away from a three-year old version. That’s the pace of progress. It’s a GT-R, only more so, and the performance car world is a richer place for this gruff supercar-killer existing, and getting up the German aristocracy’s noses.
Our choice from the range
This is the one we'd pick...