There’s a long list of things that make games like Need for Speed unrealistic. Pedestrians are things that exist in the real world, drifting does not restore your nitrous, nor can you weave through lanes without causing significant danger to those around you (not that I’ve tried or anything).
However, there’s one small detail that exists in the cyber world that defies reality more flagrantly than any other. Every Nissan R34 GT-R in the world of games comes with an addition at the end of it’s name: “Z-Tune”.
Unbelievable, Unrivalled, Unobtainable (Until Now)
Regardless of how accessible it may be in the minds of EA’s developers, the real life Z-Tune GT-R is more a thing of myth. Just 20 were made to commemorate 20 years of NISMO’s tuning history, one of which (chassis #001) famously sold for as-near-as-makes-no-difference $1 million last year.
Now though, another one has emerged from the self-filling money pit that was its garage and hit the market, this time for a cool £352,000. That’s about $720,000, or for a little perspective, about 5 times what you’d pay for a modern GT-R today.
Producing 500hp and 398lb of torque thanks to Nissan’s GT500 race-derived engine (every one of which was hand built from scratch), the Z-Tune boasted around double the power over the standard R34 AND superior handling thanks to a more front-biased stability control system.
Put simply, it was about as close to a modern GT-R as you could get, and it was even priced similar at the time.
However, despite being bred for raw performance, unlike many of its Japanese compatriots the Z-Tune didn’t skimp on the luxuries. Alcantara and leather adorn the interior, the increased weight compensated for by swathes of carbon fibre laced across the body and driveshaft. This was during a time before it actually became vogue to do so.
The GT500 race car also had an influence on the major vehicle panels such as the hood, which featured that famous indented design not only to look badass, but also to work with an enhanced cooling system to stop the massive engine from roasting itself.
Any garage that holds a Z-Tune GT-R is a guaranteed money maker. Nonetheless, cars like this are made to be driven, and you were to take this out on the track, I’d put money on tears of both joy and anguish being shed simultaneously. Incredibly good looking, and an outstanding driving machine, the Z-Tune is the ultimate unattainable JDM goal.
Now I think about it, maybe Need for Speed has it’s place after all.
All images from Top Gear