The R33, considered by many Nissan Skyline enthusiast
s to be nothing more than a "bridge
" generation between two greats -- the R32
preceding it and the R34
following it -- is still more than worthy of the name Skyline. First introduced in 1993 (while the R32GT-R was still selling
), the new look of the Skyline was even more dynamic
than before, clearly hinting at its roots (looking rather similar to the 1961 Skyline Sport
) -- though still appearing at first glance to be a "ho-hum" luxury car
Performance became more apparent for the R33. The base model, the GTS, advanced from a CA-series engine to the RB (the SOHC RB20E to be precise). The RB25DE engine was now used in the GTS4 (four wheel drive, via ATTESA-ETS) and GTS25 models, and a turbo RB25DET for the GTS25t (and the coupe model, the GTS25t Type M). The latter, while slightly short of GT-R quality, was nonetheless impressive, turning out a good 255 horsepower. All of the Skyline models had gained weight due to the larger engines, and precise handling suffered as a result. While speed and power were certainly a plus for the new Skylines -- though not nearly as much as the Skyline R32 -- the focus was more on stability and handling. A revised, stiffer suspension allowed for easier cornering.
The GT-R still used the same RB26DETT as in the R32, and would continue to use the twin turbo monster for one generation yet. Many people thought only the R32GT-R could be the ultimate incarnation of the Skyline. While less popular than the R32 or R34, the R33GT-R improved on the previous GT-R in almost every way. The horsepower output of 276 hp was retained, but torque was increased by a full 12 lb. ft. (up to 272 from 260). ATTESA-ETS also saw an upgrade, the previous 8-bit microprocessor being swapped for a 16-bit one. The familiar Super HICAS all-wheel steering system was also included on the new GT-R.
In addition to the production models, there was also an extra-special model of Skyline. Since the disbanding of Group A (see R32), a new league, called the Japan Grand Touring Car Championships had surfaced, and a specially made R33GT-R was built in February 1996: the NISMO (Nissan Motorsports) modified 400R, a road-going version of the JGTCC Skyline. Only 99 of these specially tuned cars were built. It improved upon the RB26DETT engine, enlarged to 2.8 liters (named the RBX-GT2), now producing a whopping 400 horsepower @ 6800 rpm, and 346 lb.ft of torque @ 4400 rpm. The body was slightly revised as well, with a special rear spoiler, lowered suspension, larger wheels and front fascia with additional air intakes.
While snubbed by many Nissan Skyline die-hard fans, the R33 Skyline is still nothing to be sneezed at. In 1998, it evolved into the newer R34, with the R33 GT-R still being produced until into 1999.
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