R35 Nissan GT-R Buyer’s Guide



A GT-R is an easy car to modify when it comes to the engine’s power output. Looking around one can find a lot of cars that are modified or were modified and now put back to stock. If a stock car is desired then it is a good idea to get a mechanic to examine the car in order to see if there are any signs of parts replacement. If you are looking to upgrade your Nissan GT-R many companies offer one stop packages that bump the output up to 600 hp, 700 hp, 800 hp, 1200 hp or even more.  With a lot of aftermarket support some of the fastest cars can even give the Underground Racing Twin Turbo Lamborghini a run for their money. This guide will only cover the basic, more common GT-R modifications.


The stock Nissan GT-R exhaust note is fairly quiet. The 2012 exhaust is differs slightly from the 2009-2011 version, but close enough to be called the same. Through two turbochargers, four catalytic converters, a resonator and twin mufflers the tone of the 3799 cc VR38DETT is muted to the point that many owners crave more sound. A good starting point is to swap out the midpipe (aka Y-pipe). After the midpipe, owners usually opt for a cat back exhaust swap. Then the next step in line is to replace the downpipes. The downpipes are a tough swap because the studs holding the downpipes to the turbos often snap. If they snap removing the broken stud requires lowering the engine or yoga positions involving a drill and tap.

The stock GT-R exhaust mid-pipe contains two catalytic converters and a resonator which connects to a rear section with a dual muffler design.

This image shows an aftermarket exhaust option from AMS. The two shorter pieces are replacements for the turbocharger downpipes and the larger is a replacement mid-pipe.

Cobb AccessPORT

The Cobb AccessPORT for the Nissan GT-R has been the ECU tuning tool of choice for the GT-R community since it was released. There have been some other ECUs and companies that have shown up, but nothing has had the flexibility and the support of the Cobb AccessPORT. Installing a Cobb AccessPORT will generally void your powertrain warranty, although some owners have had transmissions replaced even after an AccessPORT install. Nissan has the ability to see if the ECU has been reflashed. If you purchase a car that has a Cobb AccessPORT installed make sure you get the actual hand held tuner. If you purchase a used Cobb AccessPORT make sure it has been uninstalled from the car because if not, you just pudrchased an expensive paperweight.

Front Lip

The GT-R is a low, high performance vehicle. Did that make sense? Low as in the front lip manages to catch on things like driveways, parking blocks, curbs, etc. The front lip from the Nissan dealer is also a fairly expensive part. I have heard quotes for replacement of $1200-$3000 from customers. The condition of the lip is something to look at prior to purchasing the car. There are some options to help cover up or minimize damage to your front lip. One is to replace the stock lip with an aftermarket option of a more durable material. Another is a skid plate that mounts beneath the factory lip, such as one offered by STILLEN.

Some vehicle owners cannot resist the temptation to keep pulling forward in their parking space until the sound of scraping the front lip is too much to bear.

License Plate Bracket

No one likes drilling holes into the front bumper of their brand new Nissan GT-R, but if your state requires a front plate that is possibly your only option. However, STILLEN sells a very popular tow hook license plate bracket that requires no drilling. For installation just remove the tow hook cover and screw in the plate bracket.

There is no need to drill holes in the GT-R bumper to mount the front license plate. There are kits available to use the tow hook mounting point instead.

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