Audi R8 V8 Type 42 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo 997 and Nissan GT-R R35

Supercars for Audi TT money. Why buy a £50k Audi TT RS new when you can have a Porsche 911 Turbo 997, Audi R8 or a Nissan GT-R? Would you pay £50k for an Audi TT? The current RS may be great but it's still a TT. We'd rather have a decade-old supercar – but which one? Words John-Joe Vollans. Photography Mark Riccioni.

John-Joe Written by Monday, 22 April 2019 19:08
Audi R8 V8 Type 42 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo 997 and Nissan GT-R R35 - comparison road test Audi R8 V8 Type 42 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo 997 and Nissan GT-R R35 - comparison road test 2019 Mark Riccioni and Drive-My EN/UK

Additional Info

  • Body: Coupe
  • Type: Petrol

FOR £50,000 YOU CAN BUY A BRAND NEW AUDI TT RS. OR YOU COULD   …BUY A PROPER SUPERCAR INSTEAD


AUDI R8 V8 Type 42 414bhp | 1560kg | 187mph FROM £30,000

NISSAN GT-R 478bhp | 1740kg | 193mph FROM £30,000

PORSCHE 911 TURBO 997 493bhp | 1570kg | 194mph FROM £50,000

AUDI TT RS 394bhp | 1540kg | 155mph FROM £52,100


SUPERCAR STEALS Four seconds to 60mph from £30,000

PLUS OWNERS ON REAL RUNNING COSTS SUPERCAR


Let’s get one thing clear right away, we love an Audi TT. Right from the off it brought stylish and useable performance into the territory of the masses. OK, so the first generation TT was little more than a Golf with a sports-car body, but that was what made it so competitive in its market. Plus the majority of buyers didn't have a clue. Today, however, the TT is no longer just a Stylish MX-5 alternative.


Audi R8 V8 Type 42 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo 997 and Nissan GT-R R35
Audi R8 V8 Type 42 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo 997 and Nissan GT-R R35

Successive generations have got more prestigious and expensive. Audi, seemingly locked in an endless tussle with Porsche, has forgotten what the TT stood for in the first place. Which leads us to the current TT RS. It's a mightily impressive performer that's beyond a doubt, but straying into the territory of supercars should never have been its job. That was a role taken up by its bigger brother, the R8.


Audi R8 V8 Type 42 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo 997 and Nissan GT-R R35
Audi R8 V8 Type 42 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo 997 and Nissan GT-R R35

Set your car-buying sights back a decade and along with the original R8, there are two other ultra-desirable second-hand supercar alternatives. All three of these still require a fair wedge of cash to own but won't be getting any cheaper. All get you to 60mph in around four seconds, and will approach a whopping 200mph top speed. Just £30k could see you sat behind the wheel of a proper mid-engined V8 supercar in a manual R8. If you want your performance with a dash of wasabi - and a truck load of gadgets - then there’s the Nissan GT-R for the same price. Stretch that budget up to £50k and your 911 Turbo dreams come true with a 997.


Audi R8 V8 Type 42 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo 997 and Nissan GT-R R35
Audi R8 V8 Type 42 vs. Porsche 911 Turbo 997 and Nissan GT-R R35

All three of these cars exude supercar sex appeal from every curve and intake, every spoiler and splitter, but which one of these three bona-fide modern classics should you put in your garage?

To find out, we take a trip up to the North Yorkshire moors to really test how these cars behave on some of the best driving (and worst paved) roads in the UK. This isn't a glamorous shoot where we spend our time drifting around a circuit in the desert for hero cover shots or social media shock and awe, this is a real-world test with all that entails.

Car and driver had to endure pouring rain, snow, zero-visibility fog and even random kamikaze sheep, but in the end, one car clearly emerges the victor. Forget historic Nürburgring lap times. These three face a much harder task – a day with JJ on the roads of northern England...



 

Audi R8 V8 Type 42

Audi enters the big league with the R8

Did they nail the supercar at the first try? Remember 2006? No, I don’t really either, so here’s a quick recap. Sven-Goran Eriksson, the first foreign manager of the England football team, stepped down after they lost the quarter final of the World Cup on penalties. A whale got lost up the Thames (which happened again in 2018), Steve Irwin died from a stingray jab to the heart, and the hottest UK July temperature (36.5 degrees) was recorded. Seems like a long time ago now doesn't it? Anyway, of more importance to us, Audi unveiled its newR8 supercar at the Paris Motor Show at the end of September.

It's tough to marry the year that saw all these events with the shape that’s coming into focus through the morning fog. My first impression is just how up-to-date the R8 looks. Its squat stance and purposeful bodywork were forward-thinking back then. Despite the intervening 13 years, it now looks contemporary.

It's about five degrees out here with a wind chill that makes it feel more like minus two, so I need very little excuse to clamber inside. Here the deception starts to unravel. Dials, switchgear and design all belong very much to the early noughties. Not that there’s a lot wrong with that but it’s here, with interior comfort and tech, that the passage of those years is most evident. The analogue rev counter and speedo are housed in lovely cam-lobe shaped binnacles, reminding me there's a quad-camshaft, 4.2-litre FSI V8 engine just over my shoulder.

With some feeling returning to my extremities and the dawn fog replaced by persistent rain, I gingerly take the R8 out onto the moors. Within the first mile it’s clear that it's an ergonomic triumph. All controls are exactly where you’d expect them to be and at low speed the ride is only a shade tauter than that found in the RS4. The similarities to the B7-gen saloon don’t end there, because the two share the same engine. As I begin to raise the revs the noise is familiar, albeit coming from the ‘wrong’ direction.

The R8 is very easy to drive. It’s clear that Audi engineers had daily use in the forefront of their minds which, if I’m honest, rings a few alarm-bells. Comfort and ergonomics are usually the last things on the list when penning a supercar. Does the R8’s initially benign nature mean it can’t provide the adrenaline hit we’re looking for? Time to find out...

With speeds climbing I start to feel the road undulating under the R8’s taut but compliant chassis. With SPORT mode disengaged (for now) the R8 soaks up all but the worst tarmac imperfections. It follows the surface without crashing over it. It’s enough to remain civilised when you’re just getting from A to B, but how does it handle some bends?

Because this R8 has the optional magneto-rheological fluid dampers, pressing the SPORT button completely changes the ride... and not for the better. Gone is any compliance, replaced by a crashy and unforgiving feel that’s not at home on these roads. Returning the dampers to default setting saves me a trip to the chiropractor. Pushing the ASR (traction control) button once allows a little more wiggle from the chassis (via the ESP system)while keeping the safety net there in case things get really out of hand, but as I soon discover, this only comes into play if you’re trying hard to provoke the rear. Despite being enabled with quattro four-wheel drive, the R8 set-up is very similar to that found in the Lamborghini Gallardo, meaning you’re given about 70 per cent rear-wheel drive most of the time. With some bends ahead, I start pushing the R8 and almost immediately it rewards. Brake hard and roll the outside edge of your right foot onto the throttle and the speed bleeds off quickly as the tacho needle instantly stabs back up the counter.

Give the knurled knob of the gated manual a solid shove and the ‘click-clunk’ action lets you know, unmistakably, that you’ve dropped a cog. Steering turn-in is synapse-like quick, the front keen to get into the corner. Though this doesn’t come at the expense of balance and stability. The R8 just digs in and follows its line without much fuss. Clearly, I’ve not tried hard enough. Even in these awful conditions the R8 has a huge reservoir of grip.

Tightening my grasp on the perfectly Sized wheel, I sit forward and concentrate. I'm determined to find the limit this time. Even at nine-tenths grip remains astonishing, the car happy to take the corner near-flat without a trace of understeer or even a wiggle from the rear past the apex as the power is piled back on. I’ve got enough confidence in the R8, even in the cold sleety rain, to press the ASR button again removing the computerised safety net altogether. It’s not as heroic as it sounds because there’s just so much mechanical grip here. Only a tight low-speed corner with a shove of throttle causes the rear to step out but it’s simplicity itself to contain.

Corners dealt with and out on the open and straight moor-top roads the R8 Type 42 can still widen the pupils with its outright pace. You need to keep the revs high; below about 4500rpm there’s not a lot going on, except some belt and fan noise. Over this threshold though the engine transforms. Close in on 8250rpm and the pace and soundtrack become as full-bore exotic as a trip to Soho after dark. It’s very easy to waft about in the R8 with only the merest hint of its prodigious ability evident. Get ‘on it’ and things just get better and better.

This may sound ridiculous considering this car already has 414bhp, but it’s so composed it could easily handle another 100bhp. The V10 version did exactly that two years after the R8’s introduction. Is it committing the old Audi sin of being too competent for its own good though? Not at all. The R8 comes alive when you extend it. That race-inspired engine feeds on revs and the baffled exhaust begs you to ride the power all the way to redline. The gated Getrag 'box is wonderfully reminiscent of the lost era of 1970s/1980s Italian supercars. The R8 is to those old Italian supercars what the MX-5 was to British sportscars. It takes all the greatest elements of the Italian way of doing exotic but loses the over-heating, neck aching, poor visibility and reliability nonsense.


NEED TO KNOW AUDI R8 V8 Type 42

We spoke to John Mitchell of JMR (johnmitchellracing. co.uk) about how to buy a great Audi R8. ‘R8 V8s are now getting to the age where the suspension can become tired. Audi revised it so you can’t simply replace individual worn items. That means a bill for £1500-£2000 if any bits are worn. Listen out for rumbling noises and peculiar vibrations. If the car’s ‘jumping’ at parking speeds, this is a characteristic of the car not a fault. Pirelli tyres make this issue much more pronounced. ‘The R8 is largely well put together but the biggest problem is Audi Black Lung,’ say John. An unhappy byproduct of direct injection, where carbon builds up in the intake. JMR charges £550 for cleaning it all out. ‘The OEM ‘MagRide’ dampers will be getting worn by this age. While replacements are available from Audi, John recommends replacing them with KW Variant 3s. Budget £2200 for KWs.’

WHAT TO PAY

Concours £50,000

Good £40,000

Usable £30,000

Project £20,000

SERVICE COSTS

Annual service £350

Major service £700

I BOUGHT ONE TREVOR WAGSTAFF

‘I’d had Porsches for years but when I saw the R8, it just floored me. It seemed so futuristic. I’ve had my R8 V8 from new and I’ve clocked up 70k miles in it – despite appearances it makes for a great daily driver, and isn’t too expensive to run. Since switching to KW V3s it’s been so much smoother. It doesn’t cost much to run, other than regular servicing. Cleaning the intake has given it a new lease of life. Mine's a keeper, but if an R8 GT were for sale...’

'COMFORT AND ERGONOMICS ARE USUALLY THE LAST THINGS ON THE SUPERCAR LIST'

Grey and black. Welcome to the '00s. Cut-off wheel is great. Rest is a bit VAG parts bin. Like the concept car in I Robot. Christmas-tree DRLs are the R8's only dating feature. The revvy V8 is wrapped up in a gorgeous body. Open gate manual shift raises the bar.

Big stoppers haul speed off impressively. Aluminium chassis and 46:54 weight distribution impress.

'CLOSE IN ON 8250RPM AND THE SOUNDTRACK BECOMES FULL-BORE EXOTIC'



 

Porsche 911 Turbo 997 – the one to beat

Can Porsche's perennial supercar fend off the R8, and is it as forgiving on these roads?


This 997 Turbo is the more focused version that came along in September 2009. We chose it primarily because it was designed by Porsche to counter the other two cars here while addressing some shortcomings of the early model. A new 3.8-litre flat-six, the first entirely new engine for the Turbo in the model’s history, was given direct fuel injection. Together with the displacement hike and variable turbine geometry turbos, the revised 911 turbo made an additional 21bhp. Weight was also reduced and the overall result of more power and less mass was a 911 Turbo with a lot more focus. The driving experience was designed to be more in line with the GT3 than the slightly softer early 997 Turbo. It’s time to see if these changes worked and crucially, whether this 997 can fend off the stiff competition we’ve pitched it against. It certainly brings some visual drama.

The timeless lines of the 911 are enhanced by a deep sculpted front splitter and a large rear deck spoiler. Large two-deck intakes in the sides leave you in little doubt that this 911 adds something special to the mix. The cabin has a similar mix of quality soft-touch surfaces, dark leather highlights and exposed metal as the R8, however, it’s overall effect is far less sobering than in the Audi. Perhaps it’s the VAG group switchgear sharing that has the R8 feeling a little lacking. The Porsche parts bin is clearly more sporting, though there’s hardly an Italian level of style and theatre. Now the weather is drying out I can exploit the Porsche's performance right from the off. Within the first few miles it’s apparent that the 911 is stiffer and more purposeful than the R8. The chassis stiffness and suspension both feel a lot less forgiving. The imperfections in the road are translated right through the back of the seat and your fingertips. Even without engaging any of the SPORT settings, this 911 feels up for some hard cornering.

That'll have to wait for now because we’re retracing our steps, meaning the straight open roads are up first. To sharpen up the throttle response I pop the car into SPORT+ mode, and floor it. There’s a brief lull as the throttle bodies open, then a noise like a whale blowing at the surface as the two turbos gulp in a vast amount of air. Then the world around you dissolves into a blur and you’re forced to the back of your seat like you’ve just left the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

This 911 Turbo is brutally fast. Its straight-line pace devastates the senses and that previously mentioned pause before it's unleashed isn't nearly enough time for the R8 to pull ahead. As with the Audi, the Porsche's SPORT+ mode is too Firm for real-world roads, but when the tarmac smooths out you can take advantage of the more racy engine mode.

After dodging the showers in the morning in the R8, my time at the wheel of the 911 is spent in glorious sunshine. Coming up over the moors at frankly silly speeds, the Turbo hasn’t set a foot wrong so far. Corners are coming into view however, and the first chink in the Porsche’s armour appears: its brakes.

Hammer them hard and they provide just enough power to pull me up in time, but the first few times I use them I’m not pushing them hard enough. There are a couple of moments where it looks as if there might be an unscheduled trip into the scenery on the cards. Turning into the first bend at what still feels too fast I’m impressed by the Porsche’s tenacious grip. The steering feel is ideal – it pips the Audi’s – plus the front end is even keener to point for the apex. There’s firm reassurance through the wheel as the forces load up. Get back on the gas early and the 997 Turbo squats a little, forcing the huge rear tyres into the road with traction akin to Velcro.

The next few corners turn into a lesson in exceeded expectations. Each and every bend I think the frontwill push wide or the rear will squirm, and every time I’m proven wrong. The grip generated is just so high that in the dry you’ll have to be doing something very dangerous to overwhelm it. Stability control only really shows its tell-tale dash flicker in tight corners when I get greedy with the throttle. Just like the R8, the Porsche has monumental mechanical grip. This Porsche feels like a Cup car on slicks – it really does cling on, and on, and on! It’s almost a given that a 911 will handle, but this one steps chassis dynamics and control up several notches on its predecessors.

There are a few niggles however. This is a car that’s better at gaining speed than losing it, though even after several big stops, the brakes don't fade. But there’s a reason why the carbon ceramic setup was on the options list I suppose.

The chassis is best deployed in SPORT mode, which on these roads today is the sweet spot. In this setting you can really feel the weight pivoting just behind the driver’s seat. It gives the impression of a mid-engine layout rather than a rear one. No doubt exacerbated by my near total aversion to exercise, I get out of this 997 Turbo with more aches and strains than I had when I got in. A few hours of hard driving puts quite a bit of stress on the neck. I feel as if I’ve had a small car accident and amsuffering the mildest form of whiplash ever. The huge Gs exerted on you during flat-on acceleration, plus the lateral loads, really do give you a workout. You don’t have to drive it like you stole it, of course. When you ease off and put all the systems back into the normal settings, the 997 does a decent job of pulling off the old everyday supercar thing that all 911s are famous for. This is going to be close, but before that, let's see what the GT-R's got.

‘FORCING THE HUGE REAR TYRES INTO THE ROAD WITH TRACTION AKIN TO VELCRO’


I BOUGHT ONE JONATHAN SMITH

'I previously owned a 991.2 C2S but it was a bit tame in regards to its driveability. wanted that silhouette that was on my wall as a kid. The 997.2 turbo is the only car I’ve owned that demands total respect; it’s useable day-to-day, but with power delivery this brutal, you need to pay attention. I love it. Every passenger screams when I floor it. I've never taken it to the point where it scares me though. It’s everything I always dreamed a 911 would be.'

Porsche's parts bin is much richer.

The noise doesn't have far to travel. You really have to work to make it stop. The 911 is stable, smooth and blisteringly quick. The 997's outright pace is breathtaking. Hanging over the rear axle, even if it doesn't feel like it. Engine cooling vents a Turbo giveaway. The much improved 997-era PDK. Audi's 19-inch rims aren't cheap to repair.

NEED TO KNOW PORSCHE 911 (997)

We spoke to Sid Malik of Porsche Torque (Porsche-torque.com) for guidance.

‘Watch out for corroded cooling pipes – the front crossover cost £1080 to replace. ‘The variable-vane turbos have electric actuators, which fail. They can be replaced individually (for £840 a pop); each of them needs to be coded to the vehicle too.

‘The front and middle radiators can leak and air conditioning condensers can fail, leading to leaks. ‘You have to look right into the corners for debris,’ says Sid. ‘Another sign is the smell of coolant and steam.’ Condensers are £720 a pair, while replacing all three radiators costs £1200.

The centre radiator can expand outwards, dislodging the fins. That’s £300 by itself.

‘Turbocharger to Exhaust manifold points can corrode.

‘Inner & outer tie rods can fail, and the track rod ends need doing too. You’re looking at £727 to fix, including wheel alignment.’


SERVICE COSTS

Annual service £276

Major service £696

WHAT TO PAY

Concours £90,000

Good £55,000

Usable £40,000

Project £30,000



 

Nissan GT-R R35 

Can “Godzilla” stomp on the Germans?

The R35 worried Porsche into a re-think


These three supercars all arrived in their makers' respective showrooms within a two-year period beginning in February 2006with the 997. The R8 and GT-R remain in production today but over the intervening decade have been heavily altered to keep them up-to-date. Despite this and the aforementioned nips and tucks in production, the GT-R feels as if it has been around forever, no doubt due to it remaining almost identical throughout production. A shape that was wild in 2007 has now become acceptable, even old-hat. Styled by Hirohisa Ono, the silhouette was inspired by the huge battle robots in anime series Mobile Suit Gundam.

The GT-R is certainly a palate-cleanser on the inside after the slightly staid and restrained Germans. Polyphony Digital, the team behind Sony Playstation phenomenon Gran Turismo, was responsible for the GT-R’s prominent multifunction display in the centre of the dashboard. The interior seems to continue with the Playstation theme, as it sadly looks like it’s been made out of recycled Dual Shock controllers. If you were a Teenager when this car was released then you’ll no doubt be hugely impressed with all the flickering displays and toggle switches, but now it all looks and feels a bit cheap. To be fair to the GT-R it was a lot cheaper when new than either the Audi or the Porsche, so this had to show somewhere. Let’s just hope it doesn't translate to the drive.

Trying to find a comfortable driving position proves a little trickier in the GT-R than it did in the other two. It feels as if I’m sat on top of the car rather than in it. The R35 is a big car in all dimensions, and it’s noticeably taller than today's competition. Once the seat has been punted back and forth a few times I get into a comfy pose and go through the starting procedure. I take what looks like the same key as a Qashqai and slot it into the dash, then put my foot on the clutch and hit the big plastic START button. There’s a pleasing growl from the engine bay, which is a relief because the V6 twin-turbo was in danger of being the least characterful of our trio. The afternoon sun is turning golden as I get out onto the moors in the GT-R. The first few miles are surprisingly civilised.

The looks and the legend of ‘Godzilla’ make you think that it’s going to be an unruly beast that tries to kill you at every opportunity. In reality the R35 is just as tractable as the R8. Off boost this thing will cruise around like an X-Trail. Pausing for a moment to figure out what all of the car’s settings do, I decide to flick the centre console switches and see what happens. The left-hand toggle controls transmission shift speed, the centre one damping and the right traction control. I start out with everything set to R (the most extreme setting) and go hunting for some corners.

With R-mode engaged it feels as if someone has dropped some Nitroglycerine into the fuel tank. Throttle response is as sharp as a race car and the chassis feels as if it’s been stitch welded. The compliance and comfort have disappeared but stretching the engine into the top third of its rev range, I couldn’t care less. This thing has a hell of a straight-line punch. It’s not quite a sledgehammer slap to the chops like the 911, but certainly gives you more gut punches than the R8. As I press the throttle through its long travel the GT-R keeps pulling until I either run out of road or nerve.

Trying to wrestle with Godzilla in R mode proves a little too taxing at speeds approaching three figures, so I ease off and return the dampers to COMF. Now the R35 doesn’t follow every camber change, or shudder as it dives into a divot. It’s much more suitable for a fast road thrash. Even softened off, the way the R35 changes direction is hugely impressive. For a car that weighs as much as a Range Rover Classic I wasn’t expecting to be able to flick this Nissan from left to right like a Caterham. Okay, so that’s exaggerating things a little, but the R35 is every bit as agile as the Porsche. I can see why it got Stuttgart so worried. Does the GT-R feel as driver-focused as the Porsche though?

On a quick cross-country blast, it certainly doesn’t feel as if all that clever tech underneath is taking over from me, but rather it’s flattering me and giving me the confidence to go even faster. Traction lights flash at me a lot more in the R35 than in the other two, mostly to show how hard the VDC (vehicle dynamic control) is working to shift torque around to the axle and wheel that can use it best.

Does this technical reassurance soften the adrenaline hit? Yes, and no. What it does do is raise the bar of grip so high that you never really feel like you’re pushing the GT-R’s limits until you’re at speeds that would see your licence shredded.

It’s always a little odd to criticise a car for being too competent, but in this case it’s so easy to drive at high speed that it does take the edge off. Even with a little extra wiggle room dialled into the traction system, there’s still a near unflappable mechanical safety net underneath that. Of course, Nissan never intended for you to be content with factory power. There are GT-Rs out there running 1000bhp and many that comfortably top 600bhp in only medium states of tune. The chassis and engine are up for these kinds of figures and these machines must produce hyper-car worrying performance, but in a stock GT-R, things just feel a little too contained and managed to be truly raw and exciting. So the GT-R comes close, but still lacks the punch of the Porsche and it also fails to pull off the all-round usability of the R8. On top of this, it just doesn’t feel as special as either of the Germans.


I BOUGHT ONE JULIAN SMITH

'The R35 is an adventure. This car has never missed a beat. It has had a service every 1800miles that cost between £350 and £800 at Nissan Romford. Tyres cost £1200 from the Dealership which tend to last about 10k miles, but this is due to my driving. Day to day you have confidence in the Japanese parts which just work. I do check the oil, coolant, tyres and brake pads each time I use it and in 8 and a half years I’ve only added 1ltr of oil and less than 500ml of coolant..'

‘OFF-BOOST THIS THING WILL CRUISE AROUND LIKE AN X-TRAIL. BUT THEN...’

Was Porsche's retort enough toward off Godzilla? Plastic interior betrays age – and cost. Tail-lights remind you of its bloodline. Almost a little too ripe for tuning in standard spec. Electronics straighten out corners. A rare flourish of non-monotone. The GT-R holds its own here – but is it too accomplished? Cue PS3 start-up music.

‘WEIGHS AS MUCH AS A RANGE ROVER CLASSIC BUT CAN BE DRIVEN LIKE A CATERHAM’

NEED TO KNOW NISSAN GT-R (R35)

We spoke to Daragh Rice at Garage-D (garage-d.com) ‘If you’re looking at a car with marginal tyres and brakes, but a bargain price tag, it might not be the dream deal you might imagine. ‘You’ll be looking at £2000 for the discs and pad replacement,’ says Daragh. ‘Replacement tyres start at around £1000 a set.'

‘Some early cars are showing signs of corrosion,’ says Daragh. The rear subframes are particularly at risk, as well as mounting brackets for the bumpers and diffuser. ‘Gearbox operation should be nice and smooth, if on the later software’ advises Daragh. ‘Any signs of wear is bad and is more common on modified cars because the torque tolerances are so fine. Reconditioning one costs £5000, with a new one from Nissan costing £20,000. ‘If you hear a loud rumbling noise at idle, it’s likely that the bell housing needs replacing. Nissan did many under warranty.’

WHAT TO PAY

Concours £45,000

Good £30,000

Usable £27,500

Project £20,000

SERVICE COSTS

Annual service £180

Major service £600



 

The Drive-My-Classics view

All three push the petrolhead buttons, but one is already a classic


This is honestly the tightest motoring contest I've ever had to judge and it took days to work out. All three of these cars are exceptional performance machines. You will have to pay twice their value to get something new that provides as much fun on the road. Despite this, there are two inseparable contenders and one that's trailing.

Nissan really did put the cat amongst the pigeons with the GT-R. To come out of nowhere with a supercar that's a genuine rival to the 911 dynasty that's lasted for more than 50 years is an astonishing achievement. The old nonsense about the tech doing all the driving for you is just that: nonsense. The tech in the R35 pulled off the same trick as the R34 Skyline – it flatters and helps you drive quicker, it doesn't take over. The driving position isn't as good as the Porsche's, which in turn isn't as good as the Audi's. Despite doing a good job of ignoring it, there's no escaping physics, the GT-R is heavy. The interior might appeal to those who predominantly do their performance driving in the living rooms on their PlayStations, but to the rest of us, it just feels a little tacky. The R35 is good, but there are better cars here...

The 997 Turbo is a remarkable machine. It will take your breath away when you first bury the throttle and hang on. It's like a sucker punch from Mike Tyson. You never quite get used to it either, unlike the Audi's performance which very soon becomes normalised, the 997 Turbo can still give you a sudden hit of adrenaline when you weren't expecting it. If you want a supercar for weekend thrills alone, then you have to choose the 997 Turbo.

The Audi takes a mature approach with its performance delivery. It's by no means dull, but it just doesn't tax the driver in the same way as the other two and yet is very nearly as fast. It comes down to personal preference whether you want to constantly be aware you're in a performance car because it's loud, scary and edgy, or whether you want a car that can go ten-tenths on the circuit and then get you home in perfect comfort. For me, the slowest car here turns out to be the best. But can I have one more go in the other two, just to be sure?


TECH DATA
SPECIFICATIONS NISSAN GT-R G35 PORSCHE 911 TURBO 997 AUDI R8 Typ 42
Engine 3799cc, 6-cyl, DOHC, turbo 3800cc, 6-cyl, DOHC, turbo 4163cc, 8-cyl, DOHC
Transmission AWD, 6-speed auto AWD, 6-speed manual AWD, 6-speed manual
Power 471 bhp @ 6400rpm 493bhp @ 6000rpm 414bhp @ 7800rpm
Torque 434lb-ft @ 3200-5200rpm 479lb-ft @ 1950-5000rpm 317lb-ft @ 4500-6000rpm
Weight 1740kg 1570kg 1560kg
PERFORMANCE
0-60mph 3.5sec 3.7sec 4.6sec
Top speed 193mph 194mph 187mph
Economy 23mpg 24mpg 20mpg

 

‘THE R35 IS GOOD, BUT THERE ARE BETTER CARS HERE...’



 

All these cars will appreciate some more than others

Great to drive and set to make you money. Too good to be true?


 

As I hope we've demonstrated on the previous pages, all of these supercars provide driving thrills by the boot load. When you're looking to move them on, they could also reward your investment. Though there are, of course, some conditions. You have to buy the right car in the first place and keep it in top condition, neither of which comes cheap. However, get everything right and you could have your years of ownership rewarded with a small windfall.

To help you steer through the mirky world of secondhand car sales, we went out and talked to the top marque specialists in the UK. These guys live and breathe buying and selling fast cars and know what will be desirable in five years' time. So, if you're thinking of taking the plunge into the world of modern classic supercars, let us be your guide...


PORSCHE 911 TURBO 997 Jonathan Franklin

Jonathan is head of sales for London-based Porsche specialist Hexagon Classics and runs his own 997 Turbo as a daily commuter.

‘My own Gen I manual Turbo was bought because these cars are so useable. If you get one with low mileage and good history they won't lose any money. The same can't be said for a newM4 that's around the same purchase price but will plummet £20k in the first two years.

‘Servicing isn't cheap of course, but come sale time it should cover most of your outlay if the car is still good.

‘A number of customers have come to me to source black or grey Gen I Turbos with the Metzger 3.6-litre engine and a manual gearbox. These are likely to be the most desirable in the future as they're the purest driver's cars. There's no manual in a Turbo S.’


WHAT WE FOUND

2007 Porsche 911 Turbo 997

Price: £56,995

For sale: Private seller

Mileage: 38,329

History: Full Porsche dealership (Calcot)

Details: GT Silver, 6-speed manual, Cobra tracker fitted


AUDI R8 (V8) JOHAN LEURIDAN-HERRERA

Johan runs Cambridgeshire specialist supercar dealer, JJ Premium Cars.

‘The Audi R8 V8 4.2 has been holding its money for the past few years with entry level into a well maintained 2008 plate at around £40k. For this money you can expect 40kmiles and a good specification. There are a lot of higher-mileage (60k+) cars out there for as low as £30k but these should be avoided if you want a quick return on your investment. If you want to buy with the long term in mind then I would recommend spending more for a low-mileage manual car with the following options; silver exterior with carbon blades, magnetic dampers, Bang & Olufsen sound and satnav.’

WHAT WE FOUND

2007 Audi R8 V8

Price: £36,950

For sale: autologix.co.uk

Mileage: 55,000

History: Full history; part Audi then specialist

Details: Freshly serviced, 6-speed manual, magnetic dampers, 6-month warranty


NISSAN GT-R (R35) OLIVER WRIGHT

Oliver buys and sells premium cars for Essex-based firm Imperials, and had this to say about the GT-R.

‘The Nissan GT-R is celebrated for its performance and value for money, you certainly get a lot of ‘bang for your buck’. Now, over ten years since its release, it’s reached a price point that’s accessible to a lot of people. You can buy an early vehicle with sensible miles (30k miles) for less than £35,000.

‘If I were to purchase a GT-R at this price point, I would be looking for an unmodified example in a dark colour like Titanium Grey Metallic or Kuro Black. Unmodified cars retain better residual values and are rare to find. However, if you are inclined to modify, I’d be searching for a car which has a tuning kit fitted by a recognised brand such as Litchfield.

‘In terms of spec, they're all very similar but I’d aspire to have the Premium Edition because you get the Recaro, full leather bucket seats, rear park assist and a rear facing camera.’

WHAT WE FOUND

2010 Nissan GT-R Black Edition

Price: £28,850

For sale: Private seller

Mileage: 84,000

History: Full service history from specialist Litchfield Motors

Details: Stage one tuned (550bhp) MY13 gearbox upgrade, summer car


 

John-Joe

Owner of many (too many) cars, this month JJ was speechless that one of his passed its MoT on the first try.

210 Points

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