If you are reading this in the USA, Nissan might seem like quite an exciting car brand. It sells the new Z, for starters: a simplified sports car with a twin-turbo V6 engine, manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. Or you could buy the not-so-new (and definitely not simplified) Nissan GT-R: a four-wheel-drive brute that has been scaring supercars since 2009.
Sadly, corporate emissions targets mean the Z won’t be sold in the UK – and the GT-R has been discontinued for the same reason. What that leaves, if you are determined to buy new, is a fairly insipid range of hatchbacks, crossovers and SUVs. The electric Ariya can be brisk in a straight line (0-62mph in 5.7 seconds for the e4orce version), but don’t expect any real excitement.
For that, you’ll probably want a used GT-R: the Japanese answer to a Porsche 911 Turbo. The tuning potential of Nissan’s VR38DETT engine is legendary, and not only to players of the Gran Turismo video games. British company Litchfield, for example, offers upgrades ranging from 590bhp to 775bhp. However, these are complicated cars, so start with a standard example if you can – and don’t get too carried away.
The GT-R’s status as a performance icon is assured, but other Nissan sports cars have missed the mark. Scroll down to discover why David Twohig thought the Z32 version of the 300ZX was only ‘Almost Great’.