The competition between Detroit muscle and foreign technology is inevitable in the sports car market. But unlike the obvious nature of the rivalry itself, the results of head-to-head battles of foreign and domestic sports cars are not quite as explicit as they used to be. While foreign automakers had a leg up on technology for a long time, it seems the U.S. is starting to stir up doubt in the long-accepted superiority of foreign sports cars. Although Corvette fans have been aware of this for some time, Edmunds Inside Line recently proved once again the viability of America’s favorite sports car in the market when they pitted a ‘12 Z06 Centennial Edition against the potent ‘13 Nissan GT-R Premium. Hold onto your hats as we explore the battle thanks to a tip from Mitch Talley at CorvetteBlogger.
If you’ve ever explored InsideLine.com, you know that Edmunds likes to be on the up-and-up when it comes to the latest automotive news and technology. So when we heard they were once again putting a Corvette to the test against a Nissan GT-R, we weren’t the least bit surprised. Back in 2008, Inside Line pitted a 480 HP GT-R against a 638 HP Corvette ZR1 with the Corvette prevailing, so a rematch was about due.
This year, the stakes were a bit higher since the ‘12 Z06 Inside Line chose didn’t have a 150-horse advantage.
The Centennial Edition car came prepared with Brembo brakes and Michelin Sport Cup tires thanks to the Z06 Ultimate Performance package, as well as Magnetic Ride Control suspension, Performance Traction Management technology, power-adjustable heated sport seats and navigation on top of the already popular LS7 V8/rear wheel drive combination. With $25,260 worth of options on top of the standard Z06 price, the test car brought a respectable 505 HP and 470 pound-feet of torque to the track for $101,760.
The competing ‘13 Nissan GT-R also brought plenty of technology to the competition. The Japanese sports car was tweaked from the previous model to have an extra 15 HP and 15 pound-feet of torque, giving the car a respectable 545 HP and 438 pound-feet of torque. These new power numbers come from the revised twin-turbocharged V6, which now makes use of larger intercooler ducting and better intake efficiency. The ‘13 model also makes use of a beefed up six-speed dual-clutch transmission. As tested, the all-wheel drive GT-R was only slightly less expensive than the Vette at $100,820.
While both cars look rather capable on paper, the proof was on the pavement as to which competitor was truly better.
After the GT-R produced a 0 to 60 MPH time of just 3.1 seconds (2.9 seconds with a standard rollout) and a quarter mile time of just 11.1 seconds at 123.3 MPH, it didn’t look good for the Corvette. But the Corvette was still able to produce a respectable 3.8-second 0 to 60 MPH time (3.5 with a standard rollout) and an 11.7-second quarter mile time with its speed reaching 122.3 through the traps.
The Corvette’s fate changed in the slalom. While the GT-R made it through the orange cones at 73.7 MPH thanks to a slightly stiffer suspension, the Corvette was able to weave its way to victory at 74.4 thanks especially to the sticky Michelin tires. With the car’s Performance Traction Management technology active (PTM-3 with stability control), the Corvette’s speed was even greater, hitting 74.7 MPH.
The Corvette maintained its superiority on the track as well, laying down its fastest lap time of 1 minute and 22.7 seconds. Although not far behind, the GT-R did pace slower with a best lap time of 1 minute and 23.8 seconds. Lack of brake fade also factored into the Corvette’s track win, leaving the GT-R to deal with its spongy pedal once the hot laps started.
Overall, both cars were very close competitors. It was really the way the cars were on the road that threw the Corvette over the top. While Inside Line thought the Corvette’s interior was a bit “cold” compared to the Nissan, the Corvette’s comfortable yet functional Sport Seats got an honorable mention, as did the car’s “plush” Tour mode.
Competition was tough, but our beloved American sports car prevailed. Congratulations goes out to Chevrolet for a well-deserved win.
Be sure to check out more information on the Corvette vs. GT-R all-encompassing competition at InsideLine.com.