An 800 horsepower 2010 Nissan GT-R, built by SP Engineering.Enlarge Photo
When Nissan’s legendary GT-R first hit the U.S. in 2008, the car was universally praised for delivering supercar performance at bargain-basement pricing. With 480 horsepower (in 2009 through 2011 models) on tap, the car could sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds (using launch control), on its way to a top speed of 195 mph.
For some owners, even that’s not fast enough. Enter Alex Shen of SP Engineering (SPE), a tuning firm that had previously worked its magic on exotics from Ferrari and Lamborghini. Seeing an opportunity with the Nissan GT-R, SPE went to work on safely extracting the maximum horsepower from Nissan’s twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-6 engine.
The company starts by replacing the engine’s stock internals with forged pistons and connecting rods, then it ups boost and tunes the ECU with its own maps. Next, the transmission is beefed up to handle the additional 320 horsepower, and finally, the stock suspension is replaced by a coilover setup from HKS.
The price for this added grunt is roughly $29,000, but that also buys you a one-year, unlimited mileage warranty on the engine. If 800 horsepower isn’t enough to amuse you, SPE will also build you an engine bored to 4.3-liters and good for roughly 1,000 horsepower, for an additional price.
Jay Leno seems impressed by SPE’s work, and comments numerous times that the GT-R “is a good-looking car.” We suspect that Leno has been bitten by the GT-R bug, and we wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find an SPE-tuned Nissan GT-R joining the Big Dog Garage in the very near future.