Nov 02

V35 Nissan Skyline 300GT Sedan


Hi, Pistolpig, Infinite-Garage’s resident Aussie car tester here, bringing you another car review from down-under. This time, it’s a car that some of our U.S. readers are used to seeing garnished with Infiniti badges. It’s the V35 Nissan Skyline sedan.

These come in 2.5L, 3.0L and 3.5L engine capacities. We tested in 300GT form, which means the mid-range 3.0L variety.

In Japan, this was the 11th generation Skyline and a very controversial one, thanks to a wild departure from previous Skylines in looks, technology and feel. Here are our impressions of that car.

Exterior/First Impressions

Approaching the V35 sedan, the first thing that strikes you is the total change from the previous generation R34 sedan. Where that car had a squared off, almost butch appearance (particularly from the front), the V35 is all soft curvaceous edging. There are touches of both 350Z and Maxima depending on where you’re standing at the time of viewing.

The biggest changes, style-wise, from a Skyline “purist” ‘s point of view are the headlight and tail-light redesigns.

The side-by-side twin lights from the front of the R32-R34 generation have gone and been replaced by elongated “pods” containing one set of lights above and behind the other.

At the rear, the familiar “stovetops” have been replaced by more conventional tail-lights on the body of the car accompanied by an “edgier” angled section in the boot itself.

Perhaps the most elegant and least conventional part of the design is the area between the B-pillar and tail-lights. The back of the rear doors have a bezeled edge that descends quite sharply, almost vertically towards the ground and the rear of the roofline descends quickly and then re-rises ever so slightly in a mini “ducktail”.

Overall, it is an interesting looking car, but less brutal and sporty in appearance than it’s forebears.

Interior and Accomodation

Sliding into the driver’s seat of the V35 sedan reveals a large, if not cavernous amount of space. There is adequate room for head, shoulders, hips, knees and legs. The seats are fully electric and the controls on the inner seat top are a nice touch. Through these, there is plenty of adjustment in all directions.

The Skyline seats have long runners and extend back as far as anyone could possibly want. The steering wheel is adjustable through a wide arc of vertical adjustment, but does not allow for reach adjustment. A neat touch is the dash binnacle, which moves up and down with the tilt adjustment of the wheel.

The steering wheel has a grippy, luxurious feel and allows you to drive for hours without any fatigue to your hands.

The dash binacle is constantly backlit in orange, regardless of whether the headlights are on or off. They are easy to read and give a clear indication of all the car’s vitals at all times. The steering wheel contains the controls for the audio system via 2 buttons and 2 small up and down dip switches. One of which is volume, the other track/radio station. These are very easy to use while on the move.

Space for feet is wide and uncluttered once the foot-operated parking brake is released.

Strangely, we noted that the driver’s side of these vehicles (and the related M35 Stagea) has more width than the passenger side does, the centre console being slightly off centre.

The materials making up the seats is a leather/cloth mix and extremely comfortable, while still maintaining support all ’round.

Getting into the back of the car, you notice a lot less useable width than that of , say, a Camry. You wouldn’t want to put 3 adults side by side back here. Drop the middle armrest and treat it as a 4 seater, however, and you’ll discover that the rear occupants are still treated to good legroom and miles of headspace. A bonus is that the rear seats are nicely angled and just as comfortable as the front ones on a longer journey.

The whole interior, front or back, is classy to look at and pleasant to the touch of your hands, up to, and including, the cream coloured headlining.

The boot is of a reasonable size and deep enough to put bulkier objects into. The only complaint here may be the height of the loading lip from the ground, but in this respect the V35 sedan is a lot better than previous Skylines. Unfortunately, like our local Commodore and Aurion, the Skyline sedan does not feature 60/40 split folding rear seats. Instead, it has a “ski hole” that folds down between the rear seats to allow the fitting of longer objects.

There are lots of little storage spots to put your nick-nacks too. There’s the large door pockets in each door, the bin just big enough for your CD collection between the front seats with inbuilt coin holders, a huge glovebox, a sunglasses holder above your head and sensibly placed cupholders front and rear.

There’s a whole raft-load of features and accessories in the GT’s interior. There’s the afformentioned seat-top electric seat controls, dual zone electronic climate control, outside temperature display and a Bose high quality sound system which incorporates am/fm, cassette and a 6 in-dash CD player.

There is also a pop up LCD television screen which can be used to display a compass and elevation meter or performance timing, or it can be used to display the car’s DVD-ROM based GPS system. If you live in a VHF recieving area, than you can also pick up all the free-to-air television stations on it.

Unfortunately, this TV system and it’s accompanying GPS DVD are in Japanese. So speak to your  importer about “Australianising” this. Otherwise, you may struggle, as we did, for hours before you work out how it all works. Luckily, the rest of the car’s electronics are already in English, so no problems there.

About the only thing missing from the features list is Cruise Control. We are finding this more and more with imported Japanese cars. We spoke to Shui at The Import Factory about this and he informed us that very few Japanese people option Cruise Control on cars when new. For those of you planning to cruise up and down Australia’s interstate freeways frequently, it would be worth spending the extra time to find one with cruise, or to have an aftermarket cruise control unit fitted.


The 3.0L VQ30DD V6 engine fitted to the 300GT is of the same family as the 3.5L found in the Nissan 350Z. As such it is an alloy blocked, alloy headed, double overhead cam design with 4 valves per cylinder, variable valve timing and direct injection.

It produces 191kW of power at 6400rpm and 324Nm of torque at 3600rpm.

In automatic form as tested, the 3.0L is tied to a 5 speed auto with tiptronic like functionality.

Driving around in the Skyline for a while, we discovered this combination to be creamily smooth, devoid of shock during gearchanges and never lacking for overtaking power. The delivery is smooth and fast without being breathtakingly quick. The automatic doesn’t hunt excessively and changes are barely perceptable in auto mode.

Start shifting manually and the car does what it is told, when you tell it to, with precise, quick changes that instantly up the ante. This makes a pleasant change from most automatics of the era, which generally refuse to respond when given the order.

The 3.0L loves to rev and when pushing hard reaches redline in each gear easily and without fuss or protestation.

The V35 weighs more than the previous R34GT model but, thanks to the sophistication of the engine, actually proved to be quite a bit quicker in a straight line.

From a standstill, we recorded the following acceleration times for the Skyline sedan :

0 – 100km/h in 7.21 Seconds
0 – 400m in 15.22 Seconds

It’s no ball of fire, but the 300GT is an acceptably fast vehicle for the day to day drive and impressively quick compared to other vehicles in the same size/engine class.

Ride and Handling

The chassis of the V35 is superbly set up and it is in the ride and handling department where this Skyline sedan really shows it’s true colours.

This car rides magnificantly over even the most broken of tarmac and yet never becomes floaty or unwieldy. The 300GT always feels very controlled and well dampened no matter the situation or road surface. Plush, yet in charge, the Skyline truly is a revelation in ride for those of us used to locally sold and delivered cars.

Handling wise, the V35 shows massive amounts of neutrality on corner entry, with not even a whisper of understeer. It follows this up with masses of mid corner grip and poise. The driver can then choose at will whether to stay neutral or provoke some oversteer on the corner exit.

While doing all of that the Skyline manages the massive double act of being devioid of roll and yet still offering a plush cosseting ride. It is never upset by mid-corner bumps and wallows in the road.

It is all so effortless and yet responsive and exciting at the same time. The Skyline sedan is truly a world class chassis effort. It is far more enjoyable than the local competition and far more controllable than the Skyline Coupe of the same era. Truly an outstanding chassis.

On the Road

Upon entering the 300GT, you notice almost immediately that the V35 sedan has large glass areas with A pillars that are relatively non-intrusive in this day and age, offering excellent vision wherever you may be sitting. This comes into play while driving the car, whether it be in a shopping centre car park or around a mountain highway. There is a constant airy feel to the cabin and good vision of everything happening around you.

Sound insulation is second to none and there is nary a sound from either the engine, nor wind. The only notable noise is the sound of the tyres going about their business under the car and even then, this is fairly subdued.

The Skyline’s ventilation is excellent through the “roll adjustable” air vents. The Dual Zone Electronic climate control does a fantastic job of heating, cooling and demisting at all times, even with disparate temperatures side to side.

The low beam headlights of the car are excellent. While the high beams are excellent in terms of distance projection, they are lacking in terms of light to the sides. Which is less than ideal when trying to spot stray animals at night.

Fuel Consumption

Thanks to the 5 speed automatic fitted to the 300GT and the more effortless nature of the engine, it is reportedly marginally better fuel consumption wise than the 250GT.

Over the course of our test, the 300GT used an average of 8.6L/100kM. Impressive for a car of this size and capabilities.


This particular vehicle was advertised at $14,990 driveaway.


An overall excellent all-rounder that manages to do most things very well without being particularly spectacular in any one area.

It certainly does everything one grade higher than our locally made family sedans. It combines the smoothness, quietness and fuel economy of an Aurion with the rear wheel drive sporting dynamics of an XR6 Falcon and the ride quality of a Caprice. It does all of this while being smaller and more “chuckable” than any of those.

This Skyline lives up to it’s GT badging. GT as in Grand Touring. There could hardly be a better car for driving on a long journey over varying terrain than this one.

The V35 may be very different in character to the previous generation cars before it. But as upset as the purists may get, in overall terms, it is a superior car and at the prices these sell for, they’re a bargain.