Nissan Primera
Nissan Primera GT (P11) 1997 Hatch. Long Term Test. (Infiniti G20 USA)
Nissan Primera GT Road Test. The Nissan Primera GT P11 as a drivers proposition as well as an ownership proposition.

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2009 August

Took the car back to Serres circuit with Toyo R888 205/50-15 tyres and custom coil over suspension. Ambient air temperature was 31C with 20% cloud coverage. Although temperatures were hot a lap time of 1.42.3 was recorded. An improvement of 8seconds a lap of the standard car. The car was very composed and easy to drive on the limit although the high temperatures limited the length of the runs to 3 laps before the tyres went off. A major issue became apparent with the increased grip of the tyres and that was fuel starvation. Left or right hand corners effected the car almost equally. I would say this was costing around half a second a lap. When the tap was over hapf full. Below half full the car was undrivable on the track. A low fuel run with a swirl pot will be interesting.

There some big steps forward which can be made to the car from its current setup. Although the 205 section R888s were an improvement over the standard tyres they were still over come by the weight of the car so an easy gain would be to fit wider tyres, this would be true of any car.

Second would be the reduce the rear ride height so it is more level with the front. An increase in the camber angle on the front wheels will also help turn in and give the tyres an easier time.

Harder springs would also improve the handling but going much harder than the cars is now will seriously comprimise the car for on road use. With the current spring rates it is just about bearable, anything more and it is turning the car into track only tool

So in summary the following areas needs to be addressed before taking the car on track again.

Wider Tyres: 2 second a lap faster
Camber Angle: 1-2seconds per lap
Swirl Pot: 0.5-1second per lap

other optional parts:
Harder springs: 1-2seconds per lap
Weight reduction: 1-2seconds per lap
Turbo: 1-2seconds per lap

Article provided by Street & Circuit, Greece

Background - I have owned this car for two years, the car has 149,000 miles on the clock of which I have covered 50,000. I bought the nissan primera used from a second hand dealership for 2,900 pounds. It had some receipts from previous work carried out. The Primera GT had 2 owners before myself and had been serviced by Nissan up to 56,000 miles.
I use this car as a daily driver.

click here for a Nissan Primer GT price guide.

European Driving.

I have taken this car to Lille twice once with my mate Chris straight after i bought the motor
(just to check is was a "good 'un"), and once with my girlfriend Venia. It's also been to Greece

About the car.

- The Nissan Primera GT comes with a deeper front and rear bumper than standard
Nissan Primeras, it also has side skirts, these make up the Nissan Primera body kit on the GT.

The skirts can cause problems with some garages due to the fact that they are lower than the
jacking points. ATS is a major culprit, as they have twice dented the skirts, although in fairnessthey did repair the damage at no cost. If you own or have just bought a GT I would recommendthat you point out this issue with ANY garage you take the car to where the car will need the wheels removed, including the main dealer.

Reliability - Touch wood I have never had any problems with the car since I bought it.

Fuel Economy - The Nissan Primera GT comes with a trip computer as standard which
displays avg speed, time of journey, mpg, distance to empty, and miles covered. The car
averages around 29-32mpg with enthusiastic driving around town. Motorway driving sees a
return of between 35 and 40mpg.

for Parkers review click here

Servicing Costs - Since the car has been in my possession I have had it serviced at main
dealers at the specified intervals. The main service usually comes to around 200 pounds with
the minor service costing around 100 pounds. The service interval is 9000 miles. I would
personally recommend the main dealer every time. You get a free courtesy car, in my
experience a new micra, and you get a stamp in the service book along with the check list for
the car highlighting all the areas that were checked along with any issues that may need

For owners reviews from Parkers click here

Interior Build Quality - The primera shows no sign of any interior squeeks and all the
electrics work, including the air con. The layout of the controls is logical and they are easy to
see in the dark. The illumination of the instruments is the best Ive seen.
The dash is in black although the materials do not look up to modern standards, with the new
soft touch surfaces being used more and more.

Comfort - The seats in the front are comfortable and very supportive and are set quite low
down. The rear seats have good head and legroom, have head rests and a centre armrest. They have a 60/40 split to the boot. The stereo in the car has been upgraded with a JVC head unit, the sound in the car is the best I have ever heard for sound quality.

Click here for Nissan Primeras on CarDomain

Motorway Driving - The primera gt is very quiet at speed with no parts of the body causing
noticeable wind noise. The only grip would be that below 4000 rpm in fifth the car does not pull well.

A-B Road Driving - The car is by far the most entertaining I have ever driven, and nothing
has come close to touching it for driving pleasure.

I used to regularly drive on the A40 between Carmarthen and Abergavenney. For those of you who have driven this route, or would like to drive it, the best time i have achieved is 59mins obeying all the speed limits in residential areas. The car suffers from minimal weight transfer in quick direction changes and corners with little body roll. The car does not understeer at all, once into a corner a lift of the throttle will bring the rear into play in a predictable way allowing easy adjustment of the car through the corner. The car will maintain its composure and line regardless of the road conditions and if you do go to fast into a corner a dab on the brakes will tighten the line of the car.

Town Driving - The car has quite long gearing so in stop start traffic Id rather have a Micra.

Ride - The Primera gt has quite hard ride although not uncomfortably so.

Performance - As mentioned in motorway driving there is quite a big difference in power
above and below 4000rpm, although it is not noticeable unless you have your foot to the floor.
The engine likes to rev and pulls cleanly through the rev range with good power. By todays
standards the Nissan Primera GT is by no means the most powerful, but in all honesty I am
happy with it, as it is a good compromise with fuel economy.

For companies that supply performance parts for the Primera GT click here

Handling - As I mentioned above the Primera GT is very predictable at the limit, and will to a
certain extent help the driver out if he or she pushes to hard, although the car does not come
with any stability control like more modern cars.

Brakes - The ABS system is very good and it does exactly what it is intended to do.  My one
gripe with it would be is that it does seem to cut in a little early braking over rough surfaces
when it is not required. The primera stands up to continuous hard braking very well and gives
plenty of notice when fade is starting to set in. The car brakes from high speed with no hint of

High Speed Stability - I have had the primera GT up to 152mph (indicated) this was down a
slight hill, at this speed however the car is in the red for revs. The car at this speed
showing signs of instability in the form that it would take an extended period of time to settle
after bumps in the road. For normal driving the car will reach 120mph with very little effort and
if your prepared to wait it will go on to 130+ on a flat road. At 130mph the car is pulling

More reviews of the Primera at CarSurvey

Long Distance Driving - I have taken this Nissan Primera GT to Greece on two occasions a
one way distance of 1400 miles, the Primera GT caused me no aches and pains and it kept
me, warm, relaxed and entertained for the whole way. On the first trip I covered the leg
between Calais and Lyon in 5 hours, a distance of 500 miles.

Value For Money - The car cost me 2900 pounds and all the servicing approx 1500 pounds. I
have found the car to be exceptional value for money and I still cannot think of a car that
comes close to offering so much style, comfort and performance for so little money. in my
opinion I believe the Nissan Primera GT is an absolute steal at current prices.

Image - The car does suffer from a bad image, for whatever reason. I am a regular reader of
EVO Magazine and the car does not get a mention in the Knowledge, it would help if it did get
a line in this section of the magazine. If the car is not worthy then the Peugeot 405MI16 must
be one hell of a machine!

Track Driving- I have recently taken the Primera GT on a circuit for the first time. The circuit
was at Serres in the Macedonia region of Greece. My only other time on the track had been
with a Mk2 XR2 so I was expecting an improvement!

I was anticipating the slight roll experienced during driving on the road to be exaggerated
during track driving, this was not the case. There was no extra roll than I had experienced
before which for my reckoning, goes to show what an excellent set up the Primera GT has out
of the factory.

The circuit itself was quite twisty with a long straight of approx .25 of a mile. With the whole
circuit being 1.98 miles in length. The primera dealt with the abuse I gave it amazingly, the car
was entirely predictable on the limit with it being easy to adjust with the throttle.  Even when I
entered a corner too fast a lift of the throttle was all that was required for the car to tighten its
line and scrub off speed to a manageable level.

A major handling weakness was highlighted during my time on the track with the

First of all, the Primera GT is undertyred from the factory, although this is not so much of an
issue in daily driving this became a real handicap to fast lap times. The suspension did
everything that could be asked of it but the width of the tyres were not up to the job. The
Primera GT was fitted with Avon ZV3 for the track session and as you can see by the photo,
they deteriorated badly.

For better lap times I would suggest fitting wider tyres as the first modification. Following this I
would recommend uprated suspension to gain extra traction out of the corners. During the
corners the standard suspension was fine but getting traction out of slow corners was a real

The Nissan Primera stood up to 17 lap session of punishment without any sign of brake fade,
and some this must be put down to the green stuff pads that I have fitted to the Primera.

All in all another episode of Nissan Primera GT ownership that has left me even more in awe of the value for money that this car provides.

To give an idea of how quick the car was I managed a best lap of 1.48.2 with formula 3
cars lapping the same circuit in 1.10 and Renault Clio Cup cars in race trim managing a
1.30.6. I don't know how this stacks up for a standard road car but I couldn't fault the Primera
one bit for the enjoyment it provided and the ease in which it was to drive around the track at
consistently high speeds.