More supercar bang for your buck

We get under the hood of the new Nissan GT-R to assess whether it’s a force to be reckoned with

ANOTHER year, another new version of the Nissan GT-R – but if you think you already know everything there is to know about Japan’s most unconventional supercar then you’re in for a surprise.

If anything, the Nissan GT-R is more of a whale – it weighs a lumbering 1,740kg, which is a lot for a supposed supercar. Bulkiness aside, there are real, palpable changes here. And the good news is the Model Year 2014 GT-R is definitely the best one yet.
You’ll need to look closely to spot the difference from the outside – the most obvious updates are the headlights, which now feature full LED technology and an illuminated “lightning flash” motif. On the inside, Nissan has listened to customer criticism and improved the quality a touch, but it’s still going to be sneered at by anyone used to driving a Porsche. The rear seats, for instance, are still a joke.

So where’s the “ah-ha” moment? It’s certainly not under the bonnet, as the 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 is largely unaltered, meaning you’ll have to make do with a mere 550 horsepower, as before. Nissan hasn’t even bothered to quote a 0-62mph time for the new car, leaving us to assume it takes the same 2.7 seconds as the previous version.

Still, 2.7 seconds is faster than a McLaren P1. Regardless of whether the 2014 GT-R really is that quick, anyone needing more power than this on a regular basis also needs their head examined; police officers, appearances in court and driving bans are a greater concern.

As such, Nissan has concentrated its efforts on updating the chassis, making the GT-R an altogether more comfortable beast. In a world obsessed with chasing ever more ludicrous performance numbers, this is rather refreshing. Suddenly your wife or girlfriend – Nissan tells me something like 97 per cent of GT-R buyers are male – will no longer need to dream up excuses for avoiding going out in That Car with you. Suddenly you can contemplate that continent-crossing road trip without pre-booking a chiropractor at the finish line.

Don’t mistake this move for the GT-R going soft. This is still a taut bowstring of a car, complete with ultra-complex four-wheel drive system, paddleshift gearbox and the ability to change direction like a housefly on methamphetamine. Recalibrated electronic dampers, a new set of springs and other highly sophisticated detail changes mean you now arrive at your destination feeling less, well, dominated.

Other life-enhancing tweaks include additional sound insulation to improve high-speed refinement and lessen the inevitable mechanical grumbles from a drivetrain enduring a great deal of stress. The steering and brakes have both been massaged to be friendlier at low speeds, too. It’s no street-savvy Micra, but it is more manageable than before, without trading away its character.

And this car does have character. It’s an immensely capable, almost incomprehensibly fast machine, and even though the latest 911 Turbo is more than its equal, the price difference – some £50,000 – makes Porsche snobs look rather silly. The Nissan GT-R remains a force to be reckoned with: nothing else on sale gives you more bang for your buck.

CJ Hubbard works for motoringresearch.com

THE FACTS:
NISSAN GT-R MY14
PRICE: £77,995
0-62MPH: 2.7 secs
TOP SPEED: 96mph
CO2 G/KM: 275g/km
MPG COMBINED: 23.9mpg

THE VERDICT:
DESIGN Two Stars
PERFORMANCE Five Stars
PRACTICALITY Two Stars
VALUE FOR MONEY Four Stars

Related articles