|Our virgin stock Spec-V sits in the driveway awaiting its sacrifice to the racing gods.|
It seems like the B15 Sentra SE-R Spec-V just doesn’t get any respect. Unlike previous models of SE-R powered by the SR20DE engine whose owners seem to love them and drive them until their shells decay into loose piles of metallic oxides, the owners of the new generation of SE-R seem to be eager to get rid of them, trading them in for the WRX, EVO, Si or SRT as soon as their incomes grow enough to afford the payments of these more expensive cars. Perhaps it’s the many recalls and seeming lack of reliability that the rushed to market QR25DE engine suffer from or the car’s nearly universal panning by the automotive press that generates this lack of love. Even though the car has made Sport Compact Car’s 10 Best Rides list several times over the years, the accolades attached to the title have been rather reserved by their editors. Many feel that the Spec-V seems to be turning into a turkey in the eyes of the Nissan enthusiast and does not seem like it’s heading to beloved cult car status in the used market as its forefathers have.
We disagree with this assessment. We have loved the Spec-V ever since we first drove the early pre-production models around Firebird Raceway in Arizona before their release. Sure there were some serious glitches in the early production years but they have been ironed out by Nissan and the car’s reliability is now up to Nissan’s usually solid standards. The QR25 produces a ton of low end grunt and a very wide useable powerband. The 6-speed transmission features a helical differential that really helps you apply the power hard and early out of the turns. If the chassis feels floaty and disconnected in stock form due to the crude suspension and flexy chassis, it can still be provoked to rotate sharply with a combination of trail and left foot braking, something important to do if you want to lap quickly in a front wheel drive car.
|Grandma Paule leads a troop of the neighborhood teenagers in disassembling the car to a bare shell.||A bunch of local Nissan Haters from the Honda Tech forum stop by to help partially destroy the car just for fun.|
Behind the wheel of a stock Spec-V, We have put the hurt on many more expensive cars at the track, often much to my surprise. Grunting through and out of turns, clumsily lurching but pivoting and scooting, the Spec-V makes for surprisingly fast lap times. When equipped with some Nismo parts from the Nissan high performance division’s parts bin, the Spec-V becomes a deadly weapon in the hands of a decent driver. A mix of off the shelf S and R-Tune bits makes the Spec-V a real giant killer, capable of embarrassing the 350Z, yet no one seems to realize this.
Well, MotoIQ hopes to change this car’s lack luster reputation. With the help of Nitto tires, we will be building the ultimate Spec-V and hope to bring it to battle in the harsh arena of Time Attack. This car will be built to run in the FWD Unlimited class. Hopefully this will spark a resurgence of interest in the car. Although this will be a car built for competition, an effort will be made so that most of the parts will be available to the enthusiast. We will try to keep the custom fabrication of many major components to a minimum and we will try to make some of the parts developed for this project available for sale. If you subtract the roll cage and add the interior, much of the technology applied to this car will carryover to the enthusiast. So remember street guys, this car still applies to you.