Aprilia RSV4 vs Nissan GT-R

Dailies -



When it was released in 2008, the Nissan GT-R shook the world of fast cars to its core, obliterating more powerful competition from more heralded automakers to set a new lap record at the Nurburgring. It did that using not raw power, but advanced electronics that made it both faster and more controllable than any car before. The Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE promises to do the same thing to the bike world using launch control, wheelie control, traction control and quickshift optimized for performance not safety. But, which revolutionary vehicle is faster, bike or car?

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Aprilia USA commissioned Hell for Leather and Tangent Vector to produce this video.

The lap times presented in this video are accurate and the comparison is objective. Both vehicles are 100 percent stock down to the tires (Pirelli SC2s on the Aprilia) and both vehicles are operated by professional racers considered experts in their respective disciplines. Honestly, on a track with only one short straight, we expected the GT-R to be faster.

Wondering what makes the RSV4 so fast? Check out our APRC explanation video.

  • noone1569

    Awesome. Much better than the Bimmer vs Beemer, as they were not stock, not at all.

    • noone1569

      Oh crap

      I forgot the obligatory:

      zomg, I’m paying for advertising content. This is bs. I’m taking my $2 elsewhere. Cycle world here I come.

      • DAVID

        too late!

    • 1

      Yeah, but the BMW vid introduced the drivers to give credibility to the test. Who knows if the driver in the GT-R is even old enough to own a license.

      Starting from opposing sides of the track in the BMW vid created a bit more track parity. I like the way they did that for a few reasons.

  • Myles

    Would be really curious to see how fast s1000rr, zx10r, hell even the old CBR1000rr or 1198r would run on this track.

    If any of those bikes are faster aprc doesn’t mean shit.

    • Archer

      Yes, but then, there would be nothing to sell… except an extremely sparse dealer network, frequent maintenance and twice the price of bikes that can do 99% as much.

      • tomwito

        Yeah the dealer near me got pissed at Aprilia and decided to not sell their bikes anymore. Just Ducati and Triumph but when you talk to the employees it sounds as if Ducati is just as bad if not worse to deal with. Italian bikes are a state of mind.

      • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

        @Archer – what you said. But that’s not the point.

        The point is: this bike is awesome. It’s gorgeous, fast, and if you’re the type of person that’s going to splash out on a temperamental Italian sportbike then this is a great choice.

        • Myles

          Gotta disagree. If you’re going to get a temperamental Italian bike might as well go full temperamental and get an f4. I mean, that shit was in Batman.

          • Joe

            And IRobot.

        • Mr.Paynter

          If I had the cash, I’d buy one, I’ve been in love ever since I saw how small they are in the plastic!

      • Chris

        Frequent maintenance based on what? Valve check intervals are 12.5k. Recommended oil change intervals are 6.2k (although none of the RSV4 owners I know would wait that long).

        Parts distribution on Aprilia is actually quite good in the US. AF1 Racing keeps a solid inventory and parts from the warehouses are typically a week or less for the normal stuff. Dealers often add more delay due to ordering schedules, but they rarely own up to it.

        As far as 1000cc machines on a short track, I would guess that the 1198S w/ TC and the huge torque combined with a soft chassis would do quite well. The CBR1K needs a fair amount of suspension work to be really sharp; the 11’ ZX10’s stock gearing is too tall and reviews suggest a lack of midrange power. The BMW’s extra power/driving force is only a factor over 10k RPM.

        It’s notable that the BMW’s TC system is not as advanced in any area. Additionally, the stock Bimmer suspension has some issues (progressive springs front/rear and inadequate damping for some applications.

        I’m not saying the liter-bikes are not great, but the Factory APRC is a really special machine, as it should be given that the price is north of $20k USD.

  • Roman

    Bikes: Sexy, involving, exciting, dangerous (and faster)

    Cars: Plodding, disconnected, boring, safe (and slower)

    Loved the video, tiny track and all…

    • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

      I don’t have a car license and never drove one but i doubt driving that car would be boring.

      • Roman


        Jeremy Clarkson is never wrong.

        • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

          Enh, never wrong about cars. He’s quite wrong about a lot of other shit.

          • Roman

            For an American, Jeremy’s conservativism is borderline quaint.

          • HammSammich

            Especially his hatred of motorcycles…

            • Thom

              Jeremy Clarkson is a Television parody of his actual self . Get him off camera and away from the media ( with a promise not to quote ) and he’s a pretty damn serious , well rounded GearHead . Same , even more so with James May .

              TV is TV and TV for the most part aint reality .

              Take it all with a grain of salt ( or two )

  • DoctorNine

    It would have been more of a test if both vehicles were given the track alone, and then timed. When driving a car, no sane competitor would give full effort, if doing so would put his line into the bike at speed. A couple places, it looked like the Nissan was backing off.

    In general, given a car and bike which can’t use full power all the time, on a track that is mostly curves, the extra contact patch of an AWD vehicle should make it faster.

    I am certainly no stranger to performance either with bikes or cars, but this isn’t a good test.

    • Myles

      I would be with you on this, if the gtr didn’t lose by 3 seconds. Midway through lap one the Prilla walked on Godzilla and never looked back.


    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      The bike was just over 2 seconds faster when doing solo hot laps.

      Taking away the straight from the longer track actually was more detrimental to the bike, not the car. Using the larger track with the straight resulted in the bike just walking away before they even got to the first corner.

      Putting advanced TC systems on bikes is dramatically changing the performance capabilities a professional or average club motorcycle racer is capable of.

      • Myles

        So how fast are other Superbikes? How fast is a cbr or gsxr with no electronic aids?

        This test shows that bikes are faster than cars, not that traction control makes faster bikes – or even that aprc is better than the systems provided by Kawi, BMW, or Duck.

        • aristurtle

          I’m guessing that Aprilia paid for track rental, so they don’t feel like showing other bikes. Their perrogative, I suppose. At least one manufacturer is talking to HFL. I have no doubt that every major literbike right now would beat a GT-R around that track.

          • Myles

            You’re right, but HFL’s conclusion is probably false. The whole, “wondering what makes the Prilla so fast? It’s their proprietary traction control suite that’s ONLY available on a 20k bike!” should probably read “Liter bikes are wicked fast, this one’s easier to go fast on but even a cheap Honda will murder a GTR – even on a tight track”.

            I hate to be a stickler, I love the site and all, but it’s a tough pill to swallow. The site is supposed to be ad free and the closing statement sounds like a manu nudging an opinion.

            • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

              APRC allows riders to ride the bike faster. Yaw control etc allows drivers to drive the GT-R faster.

              These vehicles are operated by human beings, not robots and even at a professional racing level, it’s that human that’s the limit on performance. APRC is designed to enable the human to get more out of the machine. I don’t see the problem in stating that fact. Every review I’ve read both on HFL and elsewhere has agreed.

              • aristurtle

                Wes, we know that, but we’d like to see an actual comparison of the traction control that Aprilia is offering vs. what’s coming from Kawasaki or BMW or whomever. You had a writeup on Kawasaki’s offering (I forget the acronym) and it seemed pretty impressive, too. What does this do that Kawi doesn’t, and vice versa?

                I mean, “bike is faster than car at >25% of the price!” is awesome but most of us already suspected that. :D

  • Thom

    So who was driving the GT-R ?

    The reason Im asking is that more than a few of his/her lines thru the corners were to say the least a bit suspect , due either to lack of familiarity of the track / car – lack of ability – or an intentional attempt to let the RSV4 win.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      We need to keep the racers anonymous this time as they have contracts elsewhere.

      Suffice it to say the GT-R driver is very, very familiar with this track and was not sandbagging. You should have seen the shit the two racers were talking to each other before and after. If his lines were “suspect” it was because they’re faster than tradition or because that’s what this car needed.

      • Thom

        So I’ll agree there was no attempt at ” sandbagging ” on the part of the GT-R drivers part , but I’ll still hold to my guns that his lines were ….. incorrect for both the car and the corners in question . Suffice it to say I’ve seen the GT-R in action on many occasions … and maybe its just the video ( I’ll leave room for that possibility ) but from the shots available he went too wide , at too low a speed in comparison to what the GT-R is capable of .

        Having said that , on this short a track I have no doubt that the GT-R even driven by someone who’s an expert with the car ( the GT-R requires some very specific driving skills to get the most out of it , which is why I included the possibility of the driver being unfamiliar with the car ) the Aprilla would of still won .

        Just not by as wide a margin .

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Yeah, I thinking you’re looking for conspiracy where there is none. There’s obviously multiple takes on individual shots, but we spent an entire day lapping the two vehicles. The performance difference was clear

          I’m a reasonable track driver myself and watching from trackside, our driver was good.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

          Thom, sorry to dash your experts theory, but they’re going faster than you think and the car racer was familiar with the GT-R, which most or all auto-journalists will state doesn’t actually require an expert to go fast.

          However, the bike racer had never ridden the RSV4 Factory or an Aprilia at all, nor had he ever been to that track until the morning of the shoot.

          • Thom

            @ Grant Ray

            re; Nissan GT-R

            Best estimates by a few GT-R experts ( including a few from Nissan and NOT Journalists ) is ;

            A decent , well informed/trained driver can get maybe 75% of the GT-R’s potential out of it on track

            A trained professional racer , albeit with minimal GT-R track time might get 85-90% of its potential out of it .

            That last 10% takes someone fully schooled in AWD High Performance Driving as well as a hell of a lot of GT-R track time to get there . the GT-R is an easy beast to go fast in , but pure hell to get 100% out of .

            So , again , hate to quash your theories , but like before you are mistaken . 2 wheels I’ll bow to you . 4 wheels not so much . For some very good reasons I won’t explain here .

            @ Wes – No conspiracy implied ! I already took back the ” sandbagging ” theory as well as giving creedence to the possibility of the Video not showing all that was happening , due not to any conspiracy , but the simple fact of my not being there . Sheesh I hate explaining things online !

            • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

              You realize I’m a car journalist too, right? The driver is experienced with the GT-R and the track. The GT-R was driven within an inch of its life, as was the RSV4. The rider actually crashed it during the course of filming. The RSV4 was noticeably, unarguably, quite massively faster, which surprised us all.

              Like any other video, this one was created using multiple takes. The lap times represent the fastest each vehicle was capable of on the same track at the same time, racing each other.

              • Thom

                Wes ;

                So you’re telling me your GT-R driver fits into category three ( paragraph 4 ) ? I’d be surprised if he does as very few fit that one .

                But …. once again I’ve accepted the Reality vs Video factor( what you see in a video barely shows the details of what actually happened ) . The Aprilla won . Fair and square . How many times and ways can I say that ?

                Now ….. hopefully we’re beyond that .. so here’s a future Car vs Bike comparison suggestion .

                Hows about Italian vs Italian ? Say the Aprilla etc heads up against a 458 Scuderia ?

                Now that I’d like to see ( as well as hope the 458 gets its wheels blown off . I have my reasons ;o )

                • Thom

                  @ Wes

                  As to my Italian vs Italian suggestion , to reference your journalist compatriots over Blighty way ( UK – EVO ) a Ferrari 458 Italia lapped their test track some three seconds faster than the GT-R ( 1:20.3 vs 1:23.6 )

                  Seeing as how thats the difference between the Aprilla and the GT-R , that .. on paper at least shapes up to be one hell of a Motorcycle vs Car smack down .

                • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                  Sure, get Ferrari to foot the bill and we’ll do it.

                • Myles


                  Duck murdered the 458. Almost 2 seconds faster 0-100 and almost 3 seconds faster around a 1.8mi track. Cars that are legal to drive on the street are all slow as hell compared to bikes.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      The part Wes left off is that both racers are outsourced third party professionals with no affiliations to either Nissan or Aprilia.

    • casey

      it sorta looked like that to me too. It’d just be silly to sway the results for a publication though, right?

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        The driver probably has more laps on this track than just about anyone else. You might be catching a bad moment in a specific take, but he was on that fucking car.

        • casey

          alrighty, chalk the assumption up to a bad take. Great video though, good pacing and kept my short attention span.

  • zipp4

    I usually hate these type of comparisons because it has more to do with the track than the vehicle. (i.e. tighter courses tend to favor 4 wheeled vehicles) But this one seemed pretty technical. The RSV4 seems more than capable.

  • casey

    the 2 vehicles that I have lusted after since they were announced going head to head!

    mind == blown

  • stephen

    Thanks for having lots of motor sounds in the vid and not an overbearing death metal soundtrack.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Damn, you mean we forgot to include the Fallout Boy soundtrack???

  • Deryl

    This was great, one of the reasons I like this site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

    Awesome. I smile.

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien


  • Plotts

    Cars are stupid. The End.

  • 1

    The Aprilia videos are ok, maybe it is the Tangent Vector production element adding the techy editing and camera angle. Just seems pretty stock.

    I don’t know I’d kind of prefer to see a real HFL clip with camera work from Grant Ray and more soul in general. Than again would Aprilia dig that?

    Saying that good vid

  • Terry

    I’m just some idiot on the internet who likes bikes, but the GT-R looked like it did pretty good.

    Inconsequential detail I noticed – Do they put “Biaggi” on the tail of all the RSV4s, or was that some sort of special paint?

    • Chris

      The Biaggi tail graphic and tri-color bellypan is unique to the V4 Factory Special Edition.

  • dux

    Good vid – nice info-tainment. Still not a fan of Austria

  • hooligan317

    This bike continues to impress me. If only I wouldn’t look like Andre the Giant on it (6’5″ 220lbs)…

  • HammSammich

    Well, this video received my five year old’s seal of approval, and if it can hold his attention, you’ve got a shot at holding the attention of the average motorcycle rider on the internet.
    His comments:
    “Whoa…that car is fast!” (then, after a moment) “Wow! That motorcycle is faster!”

    Statements, which I think sums this video up pretty nicely.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Value: Aprillia has it by 2 seconds.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Also, you guys can make promotional vidjas all you want, they are all very enjoyable.

  • dan

    Going home on Gowanus Expwy last night about 1130 pm, I cut to the inside of a turn leaning over the bike and see a car moving up fast behind me. Throttle it out of turn hard to straighten up and the car cuts to left lane doing triple digits. A GT-R. We play a little but I like living.

  • rndholesqpeg

    Good to see your stuff getting noticed on motorcyclenews.com

  • ursus

    Cool. I like the speed callouts alot. Can you make the looser explode into quarters next time?

  • Will

    I like how people think getting a shitty driver to Stig a GTR would serve your self-interest any.

    Sure, the GTR might not have been able to stretch it’s legs, but it was a good fight.

    Great sound too.

  • jake tyler

    Nissan Gtr is world famous supercar which is being in the list of most desirable car of every Nissan fan.GTR is a synonym of perfection,a unique combination of artistic design and huge power.