After posting the anticipation one Up Shift writer has for 2012 Nissan GT-R that will debut at the LA Auto Show this year it wasn’t long before a Corvette fan had a few words to say. And much like the Corvette his points were massively loud and didn’t get anywhere quick.
Now before you start sharpening your sticks allow me to make a few points.
I decided to go to website of Motor Trend, whom every good enthusiast knows, loves some American iron. What I found is that there are some differences that are very small and some very between the two. But it’s the extremes, the biggest and the smallest that made up my mind.
I’m not going to jump on the displacement soap box because it’s a pointless debate in this comparison. What the two power-plants produce however is not. The GT-R gives you 485HP 153 less than the ZR1’s dumbfounding 638HP. The GT-R will only give you 430lb-ft of torque, 174 less than the 604 lb-ft of the ZR1. At 3,814lbs the GT-R has the curb weight of a beached whale some 490lbs heavier than the 3,324lb ZR1. Some of that extra weight comes from the fact that the GT-R has a gas tank that is 1.5 gallons bigger.
Then there the suspension dimensions. Don’t worry, I won’t make you put your thinking cap on. In fact it’s pretty simple to understand. The GT-R has a slightly longer wheelbase and a narrower track width in both the front and rear compared to the ZR1. It’s taller as well. So flat cornering should be thrown out the window next to the lower and wider Corvette.
Up until now you would think that I was making a case for the mighty domestic, but you would be wrong. You see there are many ways to approach the whole idea of building a car and, to use a bit of hyperbole, the ZR1 comes from what I would call the Cave Man school of thought. It walks heavy and carries a very large club. But the GT-R is, in the opinion of many automotive journalists, is simply a phenomenon of engineering. That’s why the GT-R manages 2 miles per gallon more on the highway.
But if you remember I told you this was all about the extreme differences. In all honesty, they are the ones that matter the most as well. The number I came across that was the smallest difference between the GT-R and ZR1 was their respective lap times on the Nurburgring. 7:26.7 and 7:26.4.
Side Note: Rumors put a very nice compound of rubber on the ZR1 for that lap which some questioned but GM says it is OEM stock equipment, and we will honor that claim. However its also been documented that the engineers in charge of prepping the GT-R for its laps said that the car should not have been run because of maintenance that had not been conducted on the transmission and displayed failures after the lap, though no failures could be recorded during the lap.
That having been said the GT-R was not able to beat the ZR1 that day. Instead it had to settle for 3 tenths of a second behind the GT-R. Now try balancing that against the other extreme. The largest difference between the GT-R Premium, as tested, was its price at $83,040. The ZR1’s price $106,880. A $23,840 wallet crippling price jump for just .03 seconds on the score board.
Now I’ve seen a lot of people spend a lot of money to get more speed and more power. Now I haven’t had the chance yet to drive a ZR1 and I think we can all agree you don’t really have to understand that 600+HP would be a blast of a drive and that the car should handle like a dream. But you would have to be pretty desperate or out of your mind to spend almost $24K for what looks like the same outcome.