The tuner’s 20th anniversary represented by the LM20
British tuner Litchfield, led by Iain Litchfield, has celebrated its 20 years in business by releasing a very special Nissan GT-R. The odd thing is, it sort of looks like a bargain. When you see that it costs £96,995 perhaps that needs a little clarifying.
As with any vehicle like this, it’s all about the numbers. A standard GT-R has 570bhp, more than enough to make your insides move about under extreme acceleration. That really would be more than enough for a great many owners. Heck, just owning one puts you into pretty smug territory. But for some that smugness needs further expression.
You could of course pay an almost identical amount to the Litchfield version and buy a GT-R Track Edition Engineered by Nismo. That £93,875 buys you a factory car after all, and a more potent car than standard. Yet that has over 100bhp less than the LM20.
Litchfield GT-R LM20
Engine: 3,8-litre, V6, twin-turbo, petrol
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch auto, four-wheel drive
Top speed: 203mph
MPG: 23.9mpg combined*
*Official figures for standard MY17 GT-R
The LM20 has 675bhp and, for Litchfield, that is sensible, conservative territory, as the eponymous owner explains: “We say about 800bhp is about a sensible level. Beyond that you’re just chasing issues around the car so that’s about the limit if you’re going to keep the standard transmission and other bits.”
Got that? An 800bhp GT-R is sensible. So this 675bhp version is frankly ultra conservative. And, continuing the sensible theme, it carries a full warranty and has a plethora of upgrades and enhancements to just about everything – exhaust, suspension, brakes, engine, bodywork, and so on and so forth.
And there’s another number you’ll notice as soon as you start to really nail the acceleration from low speed. Torque is up from 469lb/ft to 615lb/ft, a big increase and one readily apparent. It builds much more aggressively than in a standard car, with the turbos seriously churning drive through all the wheels. And then that enormous bass thrust is overtaken as the revs rise.
Higher up there’s an insane amount of power and sound, and if you chase the upper reaches you’ll be rewarded with pulverising performance with a soundtrack to match, one that sounds both fast and absolutely furious.
What really impresses though is the completeness of the LM20 package. From the Bilstein Damptronic shocks to the NASCAR-spec springs, from the 400mm Alcon rotors on 400mm disc brakes to the braided hoses, this is a thought-through, track-focused missile that you can tune for the road. The handling is bang on the nose sharp and precise, adjustable, playful, fearsome, and the ride is fairly supple for such a car.
It’s an enormous amount of fun in a faintly scarily thrilling way. This is Godzilla without the chains and to be in control of it is an experience you won’t forget. But, and there’s always a but, there’s another number we need to consider.
It’s that one in the LM20 name. Yes, it represents a celebration of how long Litchfield Motors has been in operation, but it’s also the production target. They’re only going to make 20. Of course you can buy the bits and make your own, but if you want the real deal then you’d better make sure they’ve got your number.