Viewers of Episode 13 of The Grand Tour might have been surprised when they saw Richard Hammond’s Porsche 918 Spyder take down the mighty Bugatti Veyron – but nothing could have prepared us for what followed next.
Fresh off the back of his win, Hammond lined the 918 up for a race against one of the local’s cars – a suspiciously low and racey looking Nissan Patrol. Despite every fibre in our brains saying it simply wouldn’t be possible, the Patrol promptly smashed Hammond and his Porsche 918 into oblivion. So… how did it manage to do that?
In standard form, the Nissan Patrol is a rugged off-road vehicle sort of in the same vein as the unbreakable Toyota Hilux – it offers tough, dependable motoring on or off-road. Under the bonnet you’ll find a 4.8-litre straight-6 engine putting out 285hp (212kW) through a 5-speed manual or automatic gearbox – but as you might have guessed, the Patrol we saw on The Grand Tour is far from standard.
It is no secret that Dubai locals love modifying their vehicles – and when it comes to the Patrol, there’s a few different modification options available for those chasing more power. Some like to fiddle with the engine ECU’s programming, swap out filters, replace the exhaust, camshafts and pistons – to increase the output somewhere north of 600hp. Or alternatively, some owners choose to turbocharge their engines for up to 1500hp of tyre-frying fun – but the owner of the Patrol featured on the show took a slightly different course…
Yep, that’s right – the Patrol’s 4.8-litre straight-6 engine and 5-speed transmission were both thrown out, and in its place sits a 3.8 L VR38DETT twin-turbo V6 engine and 6-speed DCT transmission from a Nissan GT-R. According to reports, the initial ‘GT-R engine meets Patrol’ conversion was performed by Nissan themselves in Japan, before the vehicle was shipped half-way around the world to the Middle East.
Upon arrival, the ‘Patrol GT-R’ underwent further engine modifications (the exact specifics are unknown for now) and the end result is an SUV which produces a mind-blowing 1900hp (1416kW) – that’s more than 6-times the amount of power the Patrol came with as standard! It also sits on lowered suspension which appears to have been set rather soft, to allow the racing slicks to bite into the asphalt for better launches.
In comparison, the Porsche 918’s hybrid powertain produces a total of just (!?) 874hp (652kW) – albiet in a much lighter and aerodynamic hypercar body. But even this wasn’t enough to save Hammond from a thrashing at the hands of the Patrol GT-R – which is arguably one of the greatest ‘sleeper’ vehicles we’ve seen in recent times.
Which begs the question – money no object, what would be your ultimate ‘sleeper’?