Looking for the best suspension for a Nissan Skyline GT-R? Well, whatever the type of build you’re going for, we’ve got you covered.
What’s the point of a beefy engine if your car doesn’t want to go around corners? For that reason, suspension is one of the most important upgrades you can make to your car. Not only can it improve drivability, but it’ll also inspire more confidence when you’re behind the wheel. Not to mention more grip and better handling. Add those things together, and your lap times should begin to tumble.
When it comes to upgrading suspension, it’s not simply a case of ‘one size fits all’. Instead, you’ll want to opt for a different set-up depending upon two things: A, which Nissan Skyline GT-R generation you own, and B, what sort of build you want to turn it into.
So, without further ado, here’s the best Nissan Skyline GT-R suspension that the aftermarket has to offer.
Best Suspension for a Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
What’s it like as standard?
Fresh from the factory floor, the R32 GT-R came with independent double wishbone multilink suspension at both the front and rear. You’ll find a pair of coil springs and an anti-roll bar at either end of the car, as well as unequal upper and lower control arms at the front.
Best street suspension for a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R
We’ll start with suspension set-ups designed for the street, because let’s be honest, that’s where most of us will spend 99% of our time behind the wheel.
Coilovers are naturally the way to go to improve the vehicle’s handling and achieve an attractively low ride height, however you don’t want to go too extreme with a street build. Instead, this sort of project requires a bit of compromise. After all, no matter how much of a hardcore racer you are, you don’t want to give yourself a back ache every morning on your commute. For that reason, it’s best to go with a suspension kit that offers tangible handling improvements without sacrificing comfort entirely.
BC Racing are a good benchmark brand for this sort of thing. Their BR Series of coilovers can fit an R32 and sell from $1214 (£999). At that price point, you’ll be getting a product that you can trust to be reliable (and effective!) without totally blowing your budget. However, if you do have a bit more cash that you’re willing to splash, then we’d recommend going for an Ohlins Road & Track kit. These are arguably the best multipurpose coilovers on the aftermarket, and will set you back $3290 (£2663).
Best circuit suspension for a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R
Let’s say that your R32 GT-R isn’t your daily driver though. What if instead, you’re turning it into a purpose-built track car, designed to be trailered across the country and eat up every closed circuit it encounters? Well, in that scenario, you’ll want something a bit different.
When comfort isn’t really a consideration, you can unlock a whole new world of coilover set-ups. These extra-firm kits are designed to maximize your car’s ability to deal with pesky apexes, while providing excellent feedback to the driver. However, you wouldn’t want to drive with them on bumpy public roads.
One of the best hardcore track suspension kits you can get for the R32 GT-R is APEXi’s N1 Evolution Damper package. A well-known brand from the heyday of JDM tuning houses, APEXi is still active in motorsport today, and that means they’re pretty well set-up to provide you with a top tier track kit. The N1 Evolution system will cost you $2799 (£2440) but for that you get a custom package developed specifically to your driving style and goals – whether that be track days, time attacks, or even drifting. There’s 25-way manual damping force adjustability built into the kit too, incase you want to fettle with things further.
Admittedly, $2799 is a bit steep, but for about a grand less you could bag yourself some TEIN Mono Racing coilovers instead. You get slightly less adjustability with these, but TEIN are still well-regarded enough for you to be confident in this kit’s performance.
Best stance suspension for a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R
For the best results when going for a slammed look that you can actually drive, you’ll want an air suspension kit. If you’re already clued up about these, you’ll know that air kits tend to be on the pricey side. AirRide will hook you up from $2404 (£1979), though you’ll need to pay extra if you want the management system as well.
Airdynamiks are another stance specialist that caters for the R32. Its kit costs a comparable $2340 (£1894), though again, you’ll need to pay about 50% of that retail price on top to get your hands on a management system.
The Best Budget Options for a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R
Up until this point though, pretty much all the options we’ve spoken about cost north of $1000 – but that’s out of financial reach for many of us. So, what if you’ve got less than a grand to spend, but still want to pick up some aftermarket suspension that’ll give you both performance and aesthetic gains? Well, the key is not to scrape the barrel. If you’re paying anything less than 500 quid for a full set of coilovers, then chances are it’s a mod that isn’t worth doing.
However, some trusted brands do cater for more cost-conscious car enthusiasts. TEIN are a great example of this. Their Street Advance Z package provides damping adjustability and a twin-tube structure for $771 (£624). Or, for more control over your R32’s ride height, TEIN’s Flex Z package can be had for $993 (£804) instead. Of course, these won’t offer the same end results as higher-tier products, but at least with a company like TEIN you can be relatively confident that the low price point won’t come back to bite you.
Peripheral Suspension Parts
Suspension isn’t just about springs and dampers. If you want to maximize your R32’s handling capabilities, you’d be wise to sort out its bushes and anti-roll bars as well. The R32 comes with rubber bushes from the factory, but by now they’re bound to be rather tired. You could simply replace them like for like, or, if you don’t mind trading a bit of comfort for performance, you could even look to swap them with firmer polyurethane ones from the likes of SuperPro. Upgraded anti-roll bars are also crucial to counteracting body roll. Cusco supply these for $315 (£255) apiece.
Best Suspension for a Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R
What’s it like as standard?
In standard guise, the R33 GT-R’s suspension looks almost identical to the R32’s, albeit now part of a longer wheelbase and with stiffer camber at the front. However, upon release, the R33’s size – and consequently, the way it handled – was a slight point of contention for enthusiasts. Realistically, a stock R33 GT-R isn’t quite as bad as people make it out to be, but suspension is nonetheless one of the first mods you’ll want to do to improve its dynamic traits. So, here’s our advice on how to make that happen…
Best street suspension for a Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R
Ohlins offer their Road & Track set-up for the R33 GT-R as well as the R32, so naturally it takes the top spot here as well.
However, if you’re looking for something different, HKS’ Hipermax S package is well worth a look. Priced at around the $1800-mark (£1500) depending upon supplier, HKS Hipermax S coilovers aim to maximize comfort while still offering solid performance gains.
Alternatively, you could go for a MeisterR ZetaCRD set-up. These can be used for occasional track days, but like the HKS package, are best suited to public road use instead. You still get 32-point damping adjustability though in order to tailor the ride to your specific preference. Available for $1245 (£1008), these are on the more affordable end of the premium-quality spectrum.
Best circuit suspension for a Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R
The similarities between the R32 and the R33 suspension set-ups mean that some aftermarket options will cater to both cars. For example, the APEXi N1 Evolution track kit mentioned above is also available for the R33, though it’ll cost you an extra $100 (£82) compared to the R32 version.
Alternatively, if you’re after a *slightly* more affordable set of circuit coilovers, the MeisterR GT1 package is worth a look. Manufactured and designed in the UK, they’ll set you back $2283 (£1879). The GT1 package’s party trick is its bespoke Staggered Digressive Valve technology, which promises to retain the car’s quality of steering response and control while providing excellent damping over uneven track surfaces.
Best stance suspension for a Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R
Sadly, air suspension is no cheaper for the R33, so if you want to stance your car while keeping it usable, you’re looking at a cost of at least three grand.
KS Racing will sort you out for $6600 (£5432) if you want their full kit complete with digital management system. On the cheaper end of things, AirRide provides an R33 suspension kit without the management system for $2404 (£1979). If you want to add the management system into the package though then the price will start to creep up towards that of KS Racing.
The best budget options for a Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R
We sang the praises of TEIN’s Street Advance Z and Flex Z coilover packages when referring to cheaper options for the R32, and since they also supply similar kits for the R33, we’ll shout them out again here.
Peripheral suspension parts
The same advice about bushes and anti-roll bars applies with the R33 GT-R too. However, if you want to take things a step further, Nengun will sell you a range of peripheral Nismo suspension parts; including arms, links, and tension rods – all of which are stronger and more durable than their stock equivalents. Each Nismo set costs between $250-$500.
Best Suspension for a Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R
What’s it like as standard?
After a slight wrong turn with the R33, for many people the R34 generation of Skyline GT-R signaled a return to form for Nissan. The comparatively shorter platform of the R34 made for a slightly better handling package fresh out the box. However, even the mightiest of JDM hero cars can begin to feel a bit soft when you really push it hard. Don’t get us wrong, the R34 makes for a great drive even in stock guise, but if you want to maximize its potential, the aftermarket suspension industry has you covered.
Best street suspension for a Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R
Ohlins’ $2490 (£2015) Road & Track kit is also applicable to the R34 GT-R, so it gets another mention as our top choice.
Alternatively, JDM icon brand HKS provides a range of options for this car. The Hipermax R set-up is the pinnacle of HKS suspension technology, offering features such as lighter springs, improved shock fluid and 30 steps of rebound adjustment. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to $2580 (£2124) though, you could spend around half a grand less on a HKS Hipermax S kit. This is a slightly older design that isn’t quite as cutting edge (for example, it lacks pillowball mounts), but is still highly capable for street use.
A third option is BC Racing’s premier ER series. BC Racing ER coilovers are comparable to HKS Hipermax offerings, and will cost you $2223 (£1799).
Best circuit suspension for a Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R
If you’re serious about circuit driving, or even official time attack events, you’ll be glad to hear that there’s a wide range of high-end track suspension kits for the R34 GT-R.
For example, the Nitron NTR R3 kit has been designed for serious grassroots/semi-pro motorsport, so should be more than capable of handling some track days. Given that these are designed for circuit-only builds, expect the ride to be fairly unforgiving on the street. They aren’t cheap either. This coilover kit sells for as much as $4822 (£3903).
Don’t worry if you can’t stretch that far but still want to get serious with your racing lines. Nitron themselves sell a slightly more restrained ‘R1’ kit for $3657 (£2960), while Ksport offer tailored R34 GT-R suspension kits for circuit, asphalt rally, drag, and drift builds! The road rally, drag, and drift coilovers tend to sell for around $1600 (£1295).
Realistically though, if you’re only doing a few track days every so often, upgraded street suspension like the options mentioned in the previous segment should do the trick nicely.
Best stance suspension for a Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R
If you want to achieve the perfect stanced look with your R34 GT-R, AirREX is the company to go to. Their premium kit is hardly cheap at $4647 (£3825), but crucially it provides impressive performance capabilities for when you aren’t parked up.
If nigh-on four grand is too much though, Airdynamiks will hook you up for $2340 (£1926), though don’t expect as much adjustability or indeed as much poise through the bends. They sell a kit for the R33 GT-R too, in fact.
Best budget options for a Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R
BC Racing are a highly reputable suspension brand, and if you can’t afford their premium ER coilovers, maybe you’ll fancy the BR kit instead. Although admittedly not as capable as the ERs, you still get important features like 30-way damper adjustability for a price of $1214 (£999).
We haven’t forgotten about TEIN either. These budget heroes are able to help with your R34 GT-R build too. The Flex Z coilover kit mentioned in the R32 and R33 segments is available for the R34 as well for $770 (£623).
Peripheral suspension parts
There’s plenty of supporting suspensions mods to go along with your fancy new coilovers. Cusco will sell you aftermarket anti-roll bars for around $315 (£255) apiece, or Whiteline will do you a front and rear combo pack for $600 (£461). Camber arms, track rods and bushes are all part of Hardrace’s catalogue, meanwhile.
The R32, R33, and R34 generations of Nissan Skyline GT-R all feature the HICAS four-wheel steering system (not to be confused with ATESSA E-TS four-wheel drive system, which all three cars have too).
The purpose of HICAS is effectively to reduce the amount of AWD understeer that the Skyline has to deal with through corners, however it does have its downsides. By now, your Skyline’s HICAS system may be faulty, given its age. Or, even if it’s still working as it should, you might not like the way it feels to drive. Some owners feel that the system makes the car a bit too twitchy and unpredictable when you’re really pushing it.
Happily, if you want rid of HICAS, Driftworks offers a full Eliminator Kit. This removes every part of the Nissan rear steer system, replacing it with fully adjustable, heavy-duty rod ends and toe control arms giving precise adjustment and more confidence inspiring handling.
Finally, it goes without saying that whichever generation of Skyline you have, and whatever type of build you’re striving for, you should always get a geometry alignment carried out after installing new suspension parts or aftermarket wheels & tires. Your average garage should be able to ensure that everything’s straight, but if you want to dial in some custom camber or toe set-ups, then head to your nearest specialist instead.
For some extra background info on suspension matters, feel free to check out the following resources: