Two cars led the 90’s sports car trend. The Nissan Skyline GT-R BNR32 and the Mazda RX-7 FD3S released in 1991. So how are they alike and different?
Two cars from the Heisei era of Japan
The two cars, the Nissan Skyline GT-R (BNR32) and the Mazda RX-7 (FD3S) were both sports cars introduced at the dawn of the Heisei era.
The great ancestor of the RX-7, the RX-3, was the car that prevented the Skyline 2000GT-R KPGC10 from winning 50 consecutive races at the 6th Fuji Tourist Trophy in December 1971. I am pretty sure that there are many people who saw the rivalry between these two because of this episode.
Although they were both sports cars, the Skyline GT-R was more power-oriented and the RX-7 was lighter with more agility. Let’s look at the characteristics of the two cars.
Nissan Skyline GT-R BNR32 (Introduced August 1989)
The eighth-generation Skyline was introduced in 1989, and the GT-R model was also included in the lineup.
This was the first time the GT-R name was revived since the fourth-generation Skyline GT-R, known by the catchphrase “Ken and Mary’s Skyline”, “ken-meri” for short.
The R32 GT-R came with an RB26DETT 2.6-liter inline-6 twin-turbo engine boasting a maximum output of 280 hp mated with a 5-speed transmission. The car also featured an innovative technology called “ATTESA E-TS”, which brought the car a great performance with the four-wheel drive system. 5-link suspensions were mounted on both front and rear.
Its body style was based on the 2-door coupe model with featuring additional wide fenders to accommodate wider tires, a special front bumper, and a larger rear spoiler.
“When the R32 GT-R was announced, I immediately ordered one. I think it was the most popular car at that time. The car had great power with comfort features, and I thought that we were entering the new Heisei era with this new type of a car.”, says an owner who previously owned an R32 GT-R.
“As for the RX-7, to be honest, I didn’t really care for it. I couldn’t accept its slender and naive image, and at the time I thought that the GT-R was the most powerful car. I didn’t have much of a driving technique, so I guess I was more concerned with my self-esteem that I was driving the best car rather than the car’s performance itself.
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In 1993, the R33 model was introduced, but Nissan continued to sell the R32 GT-R until the introduction of the final “GT-R V-spec II” model in November 1994. Since then, the GT-R moved on to the R33 in 1995, the R34 in 1999, and the R35 in 2007.