The 2010 Nissan GT-R 3.8-Liter Engine Features Two IHI Turbochargers


Nissan’s high-performance GT-R returns for 2010 with 5 more horsepower for its twin-turbocharged V6.

The GT-R uses Nissan’s 3.8-liter, all-aluminum VR38DETT engine. Although this 24-valve, DOHC V6 is loosely based on Nissan’s familiar VQ engine, it has many advanced features, including a stiffer, closed-deck cylinder block; plasma-sprayed cylinder bores to reduce weight and friction; and an unusual wet/dry-sump oil system to ensure proper lubrication in high-g turns. Curiously, it does not use the sophisticated Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL) system from the 370Z; it has variable valve timing on the intake cam only. Each engine is hand-built by a single technician in a special clean-room facility, to ensure precise assembly.

The 3.8-liter engine features two IHI turbochargers, each with its own air-to-air intercooler. The turbines themselves are made of stainless steel, to reduce mass and improve spool-up time. Each turbocharger feeds one cylinder bank, providing up to 10.2 pounds of boost. The turbochargers are integral to the exhaust manifolds, making turbo upgrades more difficult.

The GT-R’s power output has controversial since its debut. In 2009, it was rated at 480 horsepower, which several reviewers discovered was significantly underrated. For 2010, Nissan rates the V6 at 485 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque, crediting the extra horsepower to unspecified engine refinements.

Whatever its actual output, the GT-R has ferocious acceleration, rivaling many sports cars that cost far more. Because it does not use variable-geometry turbochargers, however, there is some turbo lag, with power coming on strongest above 3,000 rpm. Despite its power, the V6 is reasonably civilized; some reviewers actually complain that it is too quiet, lacking sporty character.

The twin-turbo engine is inevitably thirsty, but its 16/21 EPA rating is no worse than the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, and better than the less-powerful Dodge Challenger SRT8. Premium fuel is mandatory.

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