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R&T mag: 911 vs (USDM) GT-R vs Z06

thedguy

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http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=31&article_id=6593

porsche 911 turbo said:
Points: 380.7
Lap Times: 2:02.1

It's easy to see why people feel that there is no substitute for a Porsche after driving the 911 Turbo. This car seems to have it all, incredible performance, a high level of comfort, meticulous German engineering and the aura that comes from having a rich racing heritage. But it takes more than past laurels to win an R&T comparison test, and the 911 Turbo, which has won a share of them, found itself in the middle of a dogfight this time.

That Nissan engineers used the 911 Turbo as their benchmark is no secret. At every GT-R event we've attended, a Porsche 911 Turbo was always lurking in the background, presumably used by Nissan engineers as a target vehicle. They equaled the Porsche's 480-bhp 3.6-liter flat-6's output. This allows the 3710-lb. 911 Turbo to run to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, good enough to match the Corvette and GT-R, but not enough to beat them. The race to the quarter-mile mark is virtually a dead heat, with both the 911 Turbo and Corvette getting the job done in 11.7 sec., and the GT-R coming home a hair-width behind.

"The 911 Turbo pulls like a proverbial freight train when on boost, but there is a slight bit of lag when compared with the GT-R's engine, best described as a gradual ramp-up power, as though the 911 has larger turbos than the GT-R," Bornhop said.

In the handling department, we came away somewhat disappointed with our silver Porsche. One would expect that with all-wheel drive, the 911 Turbo would gobble up sweepers and mid-speed corners, but it understeered significantly entering tight turns and oversteered through the faster stuff. Some of us felt that the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires might be a factor, while others pointed to the softly sprung suspension. Whatever the reason, the Porsche simply wasn't as sharp as the GT-R on winding mountain roads or at the racetrack.

"There's no denying that the 911 Turbo has a surprising lack of grip, despite awd. It predominantly understeered, seriously chewing up the front tires, and was quite tail-happy when trying to put the power down exiting corners," Monticello remarked.

The 911 Turbo did shine on the open highway. Its interior was easily the most luxurious of the three, with comfortable and supportive front seats and lots of leather. The Porsche ranked high in the category of "the car I would most like to drive across the country." On the negative side, there was excessive road noise at highway speed, and the small buttons for the radio/navigation/climate control made operation difficult while driving.

The 911 Turbo's price tag of $135,470 immediately puts it at a disadvantage in this test...the reality is that's the price one pays to drive, and be seen driving, Zuffenhausen's best. But when it comes to just the numbers, Japan's new super coupe has caught and surpassed the German thunder car, meaning that now, when you say Porsche, there is a substitute.

z06 said:
Points: 384.2
Lap Times: 2:02.2

In terms of best bang for the buck, the Chevrolet Corvette has long been the king of the hill. And with the high-performance Z06, it ruled the valleys, shores and flatlands as well. But has the time come for America's sports car to give up its throne?

No doubt, the Corvette's credentials are impressive: Producing 505 naturally aspirated bhp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque from its 7.0-liter V-8, the svelte Chevy packed the strongest punch of the group, while being the lightest on its feet, tipping the scales at a lean 3350 lb. It kept pace with the others to 60 mph, and then managed to set the fastest trap speed at the quarter-mile mark (123.7 mph), besting the 911 Turbo by 2.5 mph and the GT-R by 7.2. This just goes to show that although the Corvette couldn't get off the line as quickly as its awd competitors, once it got going, nothing here could touch it.

"I'll take a normally aspirated engine over a turbo any day, at least when it's this good. The Z06's engine has crazy power all the time, at any rpm, in any gear. And the sounds...come on, it's an American V-8, need I say more? It's the kind of power you can truly call 'neck-snapping,'" Monticello said.

The Corvette experienced a little more difficulty keeping pace with the others when the road started to bend. Despite the excellent grip provided by the fattest tires of the group ? 275/35ZR-18s front and 325/30ZR-19s rear ? and its state-of-the-art yaw-control system, the Z06's rear end danced around through low- and mid-speed corners. It did well to keep up with the Porsche at the racetrack, but the Vette had difficulty staying with the 911 Turbo and GT-R through sections of Highway 155 where the road is dusty and slick. But on a clean driving surface, the Corvette demonstrated why sports cars are traditionally rear-wheel drive, posting a neck-wrenching 0.99g around the skidpad and a 70.6-mph romp through the slalom.

"Anytime you put 505 bhp to the rear wheels, it presents a challenge. But GM has done a pretty good job here. With the traction/yaw control set to Competition Driving Mode, the Z06 allows more yaw than you might expect. Grip is good, but the car does like moving around a bit. It's more difficult to drive than the others, but very satisfying when done well," Bornhop said.

Despite lacking two rear seats, the Corvette proved an exceptional tourer. It exhibited an even ride, and the seats were comfortable though lacking in lateral support. The cockpit remains relatively quiet, with the engine being the loudest element, and that's a good thing.

We all agreed that the Corvette is the best-looking of the bunch. Its low, wide stance instantly implies that it means business. And when you consider its price tag of $79,595, the Corvette Z06 is still one of the best deals on the planet...only now, it may have company.

GT-R said:
Points: 386.6
Lap Times: 1:56.9

We knew coming into this test that Nissan's GT-R was good; we just didn't know how good. Our world-exclusive first test of the U.S.-spec GT-R marks a significant occasion because it's the first time anyone has driven the car with its newly revised suspension tuning, and the first time the GT-R's performance is being compared head-to-head with its rivals'.

Where the GT-R shined brightest was at the racetrack. You can see from its lap times that it handed both the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911 Turbo their respective lunches, working its way around Buttonwillow's challenging Race No. 13 configuration about 5 sec. faster than the others. We were all impressed with Nissan's twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6 that produces 480 bhp at 6400 rpm and 434 lb.-ft. of torque from 3200 to 5200 rpm, mated to a rear-mounted 6-speed twin-clutch gearbox. The IHI turbos, mounted to the exhaust manifolds for quick response, provide 11.8 psi of boost, helping the GT-R reach 60 mph in 3.4 sec., and get to the quarter mile in 11.8 ? right there with the others despite its test weight of 3960 lb.

"The power from the GT-R's engine is phenomenal. Not because it has so much of it, but because it's delivered in such a smooth, naturally aspirated fashion. The smaller turbos of the GT-R spool up more quickly than the Porsche's, giving the effect of no lag. Its engine note, however, doesn't stir my sensibilities the way the Z06's and the 911 Turbo's do," Monticello observed.

The GT-R's handling was in a league by itself. The suspension felt more compliant than the Japan-spec model's, yet still provided unbelievable stability through all variety of corners. Just when you think you feel the rear end coming out, stay on the throttle and let the ATTESA E-TS awd system do its thing. It'll immediately transfer as much as 50 percent of the engine torque to the front wheels (the torque split for normal driving is 2/98), stabilizing the car without sacrificing speed. The Nissan's handling balance is so spectacular that it registered 1.01g on the skidpad and romped through the slalom at an impressive 73.4 mph, about 3 mph faster than the others (and faster than the Ferrari Enzo).

"The GT-R responds best when thrown into corners with gusto. Under braking with a bit of turn to the steering wheel, the GT-R's back end will come into play to help you tighten the corner line a bit, but never so much as to make the car unstable. Steering effort is light, and the awd system takes much of the drama out of exiting corners," Bornhop remarked.

The GT-R also performed well on the open road, though we gave the nod to the Porsche 911 Turbo in this department. That said, we could easily live with the GT-R on a daily basis. The ride is solid, it's the only one here with a conventional trunk, and the seats are comfortable. The Dunlop SP Sports get noisy at highway speed, but other than this and an occasionally clunky low-speed shift, the GT-R is a capable daily commuter.

"There's plenty of room for a big guy and a back seat that can be used by shorter folks on the occasional run to lunch. The ride is on the harsh side, even with the suspension setting switched to full comfort. The various screens of the monitor are neat, though some of the materials here could be better. But could I spend all day in the car? You bet," Monticello said.

As for the car's styling, we like it, although there are others who feel that it looks too robot-like. But the bottom line here has little to do with the car's looks and everything to do with how it performed. Simply put, the GT-R is the most potent automobile to ever come from Japan, and will surely have manufacturers in America and Europe rethinking their ways. If it weren't for the car's $69,850 asking price (an estimated $72,880 for our test car) ? and the fact it wears a Nissan badge ? the GT-R might well be considered the most exotic car on the planet.

It appears the GT-R lives up to the hype. I'm still a bit surprised Nissan could make a 2 ton car with less power keep up with the z06. Just goes to show Chevy's suspension engineers still have some learning to do. Though we'll see how much they've learned when the ZR-1 comes out.

I've heard some say the particular course they chose is better suited to cars with low speed handling, where the z06 lacks and the GT-R is far better. :dunno:
 
Just goes to show Chevy's suspension engineers still have some learning to do. Though we'll see how much they've learned when the ZR-1 comes out.

It's not so much the suspension, as it is the GT-R's impressive AWD system and super fast 6 speed automatic transmission.
 
The 911 Turbo is said to less competent at low speeds though. And arguing about how one car is better suited to one track is a pointless argument, I'm sure people will argue that any track is suited towards a specific type of car. And the GTR has a 6-speed not a 7.
 
These results didn't surprise me at all. :p

and now, let's see the haters comments. :mrgreen::rolleyes:
 
You can go to http://www.buttonwillowraceway.com/ and see the track map for configuration 13. As mentioned, it's not a high-horsepower course. The times they ran are comparable to those you can get in my Spec Racer Ford, which only has 100hp to the rear wheels. If they'd run configuration 25, I think the results would be very different.

Steve
 
What's really surprising is that the GT-R is almost 4000 lbs!!!! That's an absolute sin when talking about agile/nimble manuvering sportscars...but then again the GT-R is only a GT car and not a pure sportscar...which is even more crazy as it laps 5 seconds faster than a C6 Z06....the track machine??? WTF?

I dunno....this is too incredible. We'll have to wait for more numbers to come out to get a better overall picture. But so far it HAS lived up to the hype....yikes.....
 
We know the GT-R is quick, but 5 seconds!!?? :eek: OMG!! I'm in the LOVE camp and I still can't get over that!
 
What's really surprising is that the GT-R is almost 4000 lbs!!!! That's an absolute sin when talking about agile/nimble manuvering sportscars...but then again the GT-R is only a GT car and not a pure sportscar...which is even more crazy as it laps 5 seconds faster than a C6 Z06....the track machine??? WTF?

I dunno....this is too incredible. We'll have to wait for more numbers to come out to get a better overall picture. But so far it HAS lived up to the hype....yikes.....


These reasons are why i'm slowly starting to respect the GTR

instead of a couple sure-fire go fast goodies ( such as more power/less weight for starters)

nissan decided to make it faster with technology and nothing else, which is pretty cool


really though, its faster because it changes gears faster. its never far from peak power, it reads the road and adjusts itself accordingly for bumps/corners and everything like that

you've gotta respect a car that can literally defy what everyone thinks is possible with a given weight and given amount of power.


and they are smart for planning a lighter more powerful version too. the other bases are already covered for them now.


I wouldnt buy a GTR, but i'm starting to like them more
 
it reads the road and adjusts itself accordingly for bumps/corners and everything like that


How do you mean? The AWD system isn't as active as everyone thinks it is, like an evo. ATTESSA ET-S is pretty simple in comparison, most of the time the GT-R is 2/98 front-back. When things get out of shape based on rear traction and a series of yaw sensors and accelerometers the car can shift power forward up to 50/50. It's designed to be as RWD as possible and ONLY bring in the fronts when they're absolutely needed.
 
How do you mean? The AWD system isn't as active as everyone thinks it is, like an evo. ATTESSA ET-S is pretty simple in comparison, most of the time the GT-R is 2/98 front-back. When things get out of shape based on rear traction and a series of yaw sensors and accelerometers the car can shift power forward up to 50/50. It's designed to be as RWD as possible and ONLY bring in the fronts when they're absolutely needed.

well yeah you've got it right,

I just meant theres a lot going on inside the car to keep it planted
 
;) :thumbsup:
 
whoa, 5 seconds is massive on a track that short.

I think they should atleast have a track where there's an equal amount of low and high speed corners, hairpins, chicanes and straights.

If you chose a track with mega straights I think the Porsche could win...

TG track anyone? :mrgreen:
 
We know the GT-R isn't the fastest in a straight line at higher speeds, the idea of a track test is to compare handling. And did you check the map? I think there's a fair variety of bends.

Surely the Z06 would be best suited to a track with mega straights, it has the most power and the best power/weight ratio. Either way 5 seconds is a lot to make up.
 
It's not so much the suspension, as it is the GT-R's impressive AWD system and super fast 6 speed automatic transmission.

The suspension is still some of it. The AWD on the GT-R is a bit of a band aid (more so on the older cars than on this one), but the z06 obviously could use some suspension tuning. I know they have axle hop issues as well as many articles stating that their handling characteristics are described as "brute force." Basically lots of rubber and light weight.

With that much of a weight savings over the GT-R and it's massive amount of rubber, unless the tires are crap, it should theoretically have little trouble keeping pace with the GT-R. It's 800lbs less weight to lug around for crying out loud! You give any racer that much advantage, plus a 20hp gain and I'm more than willing to bet they could win a race.

There is still one consolation for the Z06, it still is rated as being funnest to drive. The GT-R does the work for you, can make anyone fast, the z06 requires a bit of skill.
 
5 seconds is a lot. It seems even on a faster configuration the GT-R would be well ahead.

A slower track means slower exit speeds from corners. Thus, it's easier to overpower the drive wheels and get a poor exit -- and this is exactly what the GT-R's nifty AWD system solves. A faster configuration would not be to the GT-R's advantage because it would place more of a premium on total cornering grip, and there, the extra weight would be very much noticed.

Still, it's a very impressive car. Except that it's so doggone...well...ugly.

Steve
 
but the z06 obviously could use some suspension tuning. I know they have axle hop issues as well as many articles stating that their handling characteristics are described as "brute force." Basically lots of rubber and light weight.

I've read that most of those problems have been sorted out with the newer models.
 
A slower track means slower exit speeds from corners. Thus, it's easier to overpower the drive wheels and get a poor exit -- and this is exactly what the GT-R's nifty AWD system solves. A faster configuration would not be to the GT-R's advantage because it would place more of a premium on total cornering grip, and there, the extra weight would be very much noticed.

Still, it's a very impressive car. Except that it's so doggone...well...ugly.

Steve

What I meant was, even with a faster configuration 5 seconds a lot to make up. With the GT-R being the fastest through, and out of, the corners its basically just a case of the Z06 running it down on the straights. If the GT-R was 2 seconds ahead on a faster track I would still consider that a relatively big margin.

The interior is where they really screwed things up, but if you're comparing to the Z06 somehow it still comes out on top.
 
A combination of a short and twisty track, and a a well known former NISSAN FACTORY DRIVER AND RACER.........excellent combinations there.
 
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