There’s no doubt that any of us wouldn’t want either one or both of these sitting in our garage one day, they are the pinnacle of automotive engineering and really push the meaning of what a “sports car” should be.
In my recent trip to the United States, I was fortunate enough to experience driving both these cars at a private racetrack in Las Vegas Speedway. It was crazy just thinking about getting behind the wheel of one of these beauties but belting it around the track? That was an opportunity just too hard to pass up even if it did cost me a small fortune.
In Sydney, such experiences like this does not exist. The closest thing is taking out these cars on a cruise for a few hours on slow public roads. Sure that’s something, but you’d really want to drive these cars in their element… on the track.
I was spoilt for choice, there was just way too much to choose from that it took me an eternity to make up my mind. Finally, agreeing with common (and financial) sense I only chose 2 cars out of the possible 16 (including an Lamborghini Aventador).
The GT-R was a no brainer because it’s Godzilla and it destroys everything in its path. And the Ferrari because I never understood what all the fuss was about this pony (besides the stunning looks), and it was the polar opposite to the GT-R.
Where the GT-R leaps off the line with its all wheel drive fury, the 458 surges forward after composing itself. Where the GT-R growls fiercely with it’s twin turbo V6, the 458 sings with its V8 symphony. You get the point, they’re different. Just how different? Well, it was time to find out and boy I was in for a surprise…
Pitted head to head, these 2 cars are quite similar in straight line power as the “World’s Greatest Drag Race” demonstrated in their YouTube clip (the GTR won the ¼ mile drag race with the 458 only ½ a car length behind).
For those who love numbers, here are their useful stats:
2012 Nissan Skyline R35 GTR Black Edition
Engine: 3.8L Twin Turbo V6
¼ mile: 11.2sec @ 196kmh
Top Speed: 315kmh
2012 Ferrari 458 Italia
Engine: 4.5L V8
¼ mile: 11.3sec @ 202kmh
Top Speed: 325kmh
First and foremost I have to mention that the car was not in “Race mode”, so traction control and VDC were left on which was out of my control.
I don’t know if my impression of one of my favourite cars was hampered by the above mentioned settings but it can all be summed up with one word, underwhelmed. Perhaps I had too many expectations from the stats and all the videos and reviews, I expected a beast unleashed with my eyeballs being forced back into my skull at every angle of the throttle. But I got none of that. My foot was flat to the floor from a slow rolling start and down the straights – nothing. Flying through the corners with all 4 tyres screeching – still nothing.
The feeling sitting inside of the GT-R is unbelievably smooth and comfortable, I know I’m going fast but with the power delivery so linear and cornering a tad heavy the whole ride is simply, well… boring.
Strangely enough I feel more G force on acceleration and in corners in my S15 Silvia!
You can see from my video that I’m nowhere near as ecstatic as I should have been considering I’ve always dreamed of owning this car in the not too distant future.
The video says it all… WOW. This car was not what I expected, it absolutely blew me out of the water. Maybe it’s because I like low riding, stiff and loud cars but now I know why this car costs as much as my house (well not really, $450,000 for something you can’t live in doesn’t sound like a good deal).
The acceleration was brutal and the sound that accompanied it was beautiful. The car was tight and nimble around corners thanks to the RWD layout and felt raw, it was a challenge keeping it all together that I was drenched when I finished my 5 laps. The GT-R on the other hand I didn’t even break a sweat.
All this translated into the fastest lap time, a few good seconds ahead of the GT-R.
It was an absolute blast driving the Italia, I wanted to go harder around every corner and take it to its limits. Even inside the cockpit I felt at home; squashy, cluttered and noisy.
I should mention the 458 was in “Race mode” although traction control was definitely on or else it would have been more of a handful.
All in all, it was a great experience. I love the track and I love fast cars. I feel let down that the GT-R didn’t live up to my expectations but I’m hoping it was due to the soft settings. The Ferrari completely made up for it though, and changed my view on these cars completely. Never had I knew the potential of these cars on the track, for me I had always assumed they were straight line warriors or show pony’s.
Being a JDM car enthusiast, I would never forsake my love for the GT-R for a Ferrari. But hey if someone wants to give me a 458 I’m not one to complain…
What cars would you choose???
Thanks to Exotics Racing in Las Vegas!