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2014 Nissan GT-R: Driven

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The 2014 Nissan GT-R is the flagship of the Nissan brand and represents one of the greatest price-to-performance bargains of all time. Thanks to a 545 horsepower engine, a quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission and an advanced all-wheel drive system, the GT-R has set multiple track records for production cars around the world.

Despite its ability to blitz most Ferraris and Lamborghinis around a track, the GT-R carries a price that is less than half those competitors.

Nissan has even tried to infuse a large dose of day-to day livability by giving the GT-R four seats and a large trunk.

But where did Nissan sacrifice to keep the price down? Can it match the more expensive competitors in refinement, comfort or technology? I spent 10 days and more than 1,600 miles behind the wheel to figure out if the newest version of Nissan’s ultimate sports car is everything it seems to be.

Exterior

Nissan GT-R: Driven
Nissan GT-R: Driven
Nissan GT-R: Driven

The exterior of the 2014 Nissan GT-R belies the performance potential of the machine. When parked next to any of its competitors, it looks large and ponderous. Pull it from its peers and the GT-R carries a special quality. It looks aggressive with its massive exhaust pipes and sharp wing, but its relatively high ride height and squared profile makes it look a lot like a normal sedan.

One of the benefits of this traditional shape is that the GT-R actually has a usable trunk and decent sight lines. Backing up the car is not as easy as a Maxima , mostly due to that large rear wing, but you can actually turn your head and peer out the back.

Under that large rear wing the trunk space is a respectable 8.8 cubic feet. That is about half the space available in the current Altima . Not groundbreaking by any means, but far better than most sports cars offer.

| Exterior Dimensions | Inches |

Length183.9
Width74.6
Height53.9
Wheelbase109.4
Curb Weight3,829 Pounds

Interior

Nissan GT-R: Driven
Nissan GT-R: Driven
Nissan GT-R: Driven

The interior of the GT-R is 100-percent driver focused. Slide into the aggressively bolstered front seats and grab onto the leather-covered wheel, and you feel connected to the car almost instantly. The entire center console is angled towards the driver, and the comfort of basically every other passenger is an after thought.

There is no overhead grab handle for the passenger, and the rear seats are essentially useless. If the front seat is in the rearmost position, it actually touches the rear seat cushion. Even with my relatively low 5-foot 9-inch height, I know of no human being with legs small enough to slot in behind me when the driver’s seat is adjusted comfortably.

The interior is also the cheapest part of the car. While many touch points are covered in leather, and the magnesium paddles feel like a million dollars, most every other surface is made from questionably cheap plastic. Nissan had to cut corners somewhere to provide so much performance for such a rock bottom price, those corners where cut in the interior.

Our car did feature the Premium Interior Package that added red leather and hand stitched front seats. This helped to increase the overall feel and look, but the interior still needs work.

Another place costs were cut is in the sound dampening material. Make no mistake about it the GT-R is loud. At highway speeds, a normal conversation is difficult with the amount of sound in the cabin. Unfortunately it’s not even good sound. When cruising you can barely hear the engine; what you hear instead is the whine of the transmission, wind noise and ungodly amounts of tire roar.

| Interior Dimensions | Inches |

Head room (front)38.1
Head room (rear)31.9
Leg room (front)44.6
Leg room (rear)26.4
Hip room (front)54.7
Hip room (rear)44.9
Shoulder room (front)54.3
Shoulder room (rear)50.0

Engine

Nissan GT-R: Driven

The heart of the 2014 Nissan GT-R is a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6. Each engine is hand assembled in a special hermetically sealed environment by special technicians.

The result of all the technology and turbo power is 545 horsepower and 466 pound-feet of torque. That gives the GT-R enough thrust to break the 60-mph mark in less than three seconds, and top out just shy of 200 mph.

If there is any piece of the GT-R that shines above the rest it has to be the engine. The acceleration is tremendous. Saying a car will hit 60 mph in less than three seconds is one thing; to experience it is another. It changes your perception of how a car can perform and everything feels slow after using the launch control function.

If there is one place Nissan could improve the 3.8-liter V-6, it would be the sound it makes. Thanks to those massive turbochargers, the sound of the engine is muffled, and that great barking exhaust note you expect from a 200 mph car is all but absent from inside the cabin.

| Engine Specifications |

Engine Type3.8-Liter twin turbocharged V-6
Horsepower @ RPM545 @ 6,400
Torque (LB-FT) @ RPM463 @ 3,200-5,800
TransmissionDual Clutch 6-speed
Drive FormatATTESA E-TS All-Wheel Drive
Fuel Economy (City/Highway)16 MPG / 23 MPG
Acceleration (0-60 MPH)2.7 Sec, Est.

Transmission

Nissan GT-R: Driven

The transmission of the 2014 GT-R is a custom, dual-clutch, six-speed automatic with three driver selectable performance profiles. The transmission can be operated in a full automatic mode or can gears can be changed manually using the steering-wheel-mounted paddles shifters.

The shifts are smooth when handled in automatic, but when you use the paddles shifts are lightning fast and brutal in all the right ways.

The transmission does have some issues in low speed traffic crawls. It can be a bit thunky between first and second in a traffic jam. It also hates to be cold — but who really likes being cold. I had the car over the Christmas holiday and during a cold morning, the transmission feels like an old truck with a bad syncros. Once things warm up its fine, but it can feel like everything is broken for the first few miles.

Brakes and Suspension

Nissan GT-R: Driven

The brakes on the GT-R make up one of my favorite visual aspects of the car. The huge cross-drilled discs fill the 20-inch forged alloy wheels, and Brembo calipers that are painted a stunning gold color clamp them. The color combination works well on my white car and it makes the brakes stand out.

Those calipers are more than just good looks; they bite down with unrelenting force. Even during hard stops from ludicrous speeds, the pedal was firm and confidence inspiring. I didn’t spend anytime on a track, but during some fairly furious back road romps, the brakes showed no signs of fade.

The suspension of the GT-R is another system that benefits from three driver selectable settings via the same switchgear as the transmission. In my time with the car I found the R setting to be the go-to. Regardless of setting the ride is incredibly stiff over bumps and imperfections in the road, but the “comfort” setting would allow an uncomfortable amount of lean in the turns. Since expansion joints and bumps were terrible in any setting, I chose the “R” for the added cornering stability.

Price

Nissan GT-R: Driven

Price is the strongest feature of the Nissan GT-R. The current base model rolls into showrooms with a base MSRP of just under 100-grand — $99,590. The destination charge is $1,000.

My test unit was a base Premium model with only two options; carpeted GT-R logo floormats and the Premium Interior Package. The floor mats are only $285, but the interior package adds $4k the price tag.

Grand total for our car after all options and charges is $104,875.

Competitors

Ferrari 458

Ferrari announces U.K. pricing for 458 Italia

Despite costing more than twice as much as our tester, the 458 is the cheapest Ferrari sold that can keep up with the GT-R in ride, speed and performance. That extra money does buy you a nicer interior and an infinite amount more brand cache though.

Corvette Z06

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The newest Corvette Z06 doesn’t have an official price yet, but the best bet would be between $75-$95,000. Thanks to a new 600+ horsepower, supercharged V-8, the Z06 has the power to keep up with the GT-R, but only a true head-to-head test will tell if that extra grunt will help the Corvette outhandle the GT-R’s impressive torque vectoring AWD system.

Conclusion

Nissan GT-R: Driven

The GT-R is a unique machine. It ticks all the performance boxes, but it leaves a lot to be desired in the areas of refinement and comfort. After 1,600 miles I felt a bit battered and I grew weary of the overly harsh ride, but every time I dropped a few cogs on the transmission and hit the accelerator every care went away.

They say you can cure a lot of sins with speed and power; the GT-R proves that point to me.

Quibbles and backaches aside, I was intoxicated by the raw power and fury of the GT-R and I would happily take it another 1600 miles without hesitation.

Photos © 2014 Christian Moe

LOVE IT
  • Incredibly fast and powerful
  • Spacious trunk increases usability
  • Rock bottom price
LEAVE IT
  • Too loud at cruising speeds
  • Suspension too stiff
  • Interior full of cheap materials


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