Rear wheel drive turbo manual with a LSD. What more could you want?
Before I bought this car I knew what skylines could do, but having owned the car for roughly two and a half months all my expectations have been blown away. The engine runs like a swiss watch and delivers scare your girlfriend level of performance even in standard trim. It does not have the GTR's 390 NM of torque, but seeing as how the car only weighs in at 1380 KG, it can truly deliver.
When I picked the car up it was standard apart from running on 235 40 R17 tyres and wheels. The wheels definately make the car feel anchored to the road, and aided by the excellent suspention geometry and the HICAS four wheel steer the car can truly upset some famous physicysts and defy the laws of gravity, until you push it too hard and start drifting that is. Cornering is excellent, but I still have not pushed the car to it's limits, I'll leave that experiment for the racetrack. I can only imagine what the car would handle like with aftermarket shocks (tuning firms like HKS have aftermarket gear developed specifically for these cars, and pretty much all other skylines). The factory ride can be rough, espcially on New Zealand's shocking roads.
The standard brakes are good, my friends can't believe how quickly the car can grind to a hault, in saying this a upgrade to stronger pads is a good idea, nothing wrong with making a good thing better!
The heart of the beast as stated before is excellent. The engine can push 300 KW at the wheels before internals need to be upgraded, the turbo on the other hand is ceramic and if it's exposed to pressures above 12-15 PSI then the compresor wheel can shatter and you will need a full engine rebuild. My car has only a K&N air filter at the moment so it's basically stock, but this mod alone adds a good 10-15 HP and a noticeable improvement in responsiveness from the engine. The turbo happily winds from 2500 RPM up to 5000 RPM, and from 5000 RPM to the 7000 RPM red-line the car goes ballistic because the turbo's second boost setting kicks in. Only problem is when you drive like this the gas needle goes down at about the same rate as the engine rev's up. Amazingly there is almost no turbo lag at all thanks to the engines high compression ratio and it's 2.5 litre displacement. All this equates to a 0-100 time of approximately 5.5-6 seconds (with a passenger in the car) running on 98 octane gas. 180 KPH comes up in 4th gear at about 4500 RPM (wasn't paying too much attention to the speedo at that speed) and the car cuts out at 190 KPH. (this can be removed by chipping the ECU).
These cars are rapid and despite it's age (eight years) the car does not have a spot of rust on it and the paint is in top order.
Best of all it cost me $18,000 NZD (about 6000 pounds), so I sure do get that warm fuzzy feeling when unsuspecting people in their exotic euro's or Ford/Holden muscle cars end up studying the back end of my car.
You don't need a GTR or GT-T to have a fast skyline and the money you save on buying a older model frees up cash for power mods (company's in NZ can build you a 300-350 KW @ the wheels, RELIABLE motor for about $7000-$8000 NZD, that includes stuff like the fuel system and ignition, etc.). That is my course of action as I'd rather not force more boost into a 94000 KM engine, a full rebuild that delivers reliable power is the way to go.
So I unless you blatenly missed the whole point of my review I thouroughly recommend the 97 GTS25 T Type M, or any R33 for that matter. They have the sexiest shape (GT-T's look to boxy and plastic, but that's just my opinion).
So if you see a nice example, and in paricular if it is unmodified (modified cars have most likely been thrashed) don't buy it tomorrow, buy it today :-)