Nissan GT-R tuned by Litchfield Motors. First Drive

What is it?

Essentially an old R35 GT-R made much more extreme by the team at Litchfield Motors. The 4.25 package can be fitted to any variant of the R35 GT-R from CBA in 2008 all the way to the latest EBA 2021 variants. 683bhp and 854nm is squeezed from the 3.8 litre VR38DETT Bi-turbo charged V6. The weight is also down slightly from the standard 1750kgs. Partly in thanks to Lightweight TSW forged alloy wheels, non run-flat Michelin PS4S and massive Alcon brakes. However most of the weight you can argue has been removed from the cabin. 20kgs per seat saved by fitting the Tillett buckets. A 0-60 sprint of just under 3 seconds and a 10.6 1/4 mile time are now within your reach, if that’s your thing of course. The “4.25 stage” package will cost you around £5000 plus an exhaust, brake kit and bucket seats. With new parts this package as tested would be around £12-15,000 factoring in the Alcon Superkit cost as new and the Titanium exhaust.

What’s it like?

Surprisingly refined is my first thought. The chunky Michelin’s some 265 and 305mm wide work in tandem with revised suspension from a later DBA GT-R to absorb bumps while retaining composure. A good thing too as there’s no give whatsoever in the carbon buckets. The power is monstrous, you literally decimate a British B road whilst it’s trying hard to light up those massive Michelin’s. The power hike has changed a lot of dynamics known to the R35. Long gone is the front end push, thanks to thicker Anti-roll bars, the extra torque means you can steer the car from the rear. Often catching power oversteer with little provocation. The chassis is confidence inspiring in R mode and very comfortable in.. well Comfort mode. However past 70mph it feels a bit too soft and lacking body control. So for the fast road use I’ve been using R mode for traction, gearbox and suspension which has been the optimum. The best part of this new GT-R package has been the brakes, I found the standard Brembo’s easily cooked with long pedal travel despite fairly light use. But then the R35 is a heavy car. With the RS29 pads your pedal feel is consistent yet the bite remains sharp even with high temperatures, it really rewards you for driving it hard. However there’s definitely a few things I don’t like. The buckets are a nightmare to get in and out of and there’s a slight rattle from the frames. The Tilletts also make the rear seats even more pointless than before, as they’re now inaccessible as well as unsuitable for anything other than a young child. However they’re best used for decoration or leaving your coat on in the winter. The Pagid RS29 pads are a fast-road and track compound and have a habit of squeaking unless they’ve been hot, so pulling up to a junction can sound like an old bus. An addition I would like is a fire extinguisher just for peace of mind and to complete the track-refugee vibe. Overall this feels like a more complete upgrade from the standard car than Nissans first attempt at the “track edition” in 2012.

Should I buy one?

It depends what you’re looking for from a car. The GT-R is old now and it’s starting to feel it’s age, especially in the cabin. Exhaust drone is very common with a 4.25 tune and with the best will in the world, the ride quality is very harsh for everyday use. However a lot of this can be rectified cheaply with sound-deadening behind the rear seats and behind the rear 3/4 panel trim. With that being said you’re more than capable of frightening a 720s McLaren pretty much anywhere, on any road surface, so that’s pretty cool for around £40,000 all in. A Litchfield tuned R35 would demolish most competitors within a similar price point and lightly fettled. Most notably the BMW M4 which would be severely lacking in pace and composure given any kind of wet weather. However the equivalent Audi and Mercedes cabins put the Nissan to shame.

Published by Sam Busby

a big nosed bearded idiot who likes to write about cars. Lucky enough to have owned a few quick ones too.

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