Nissan GT-R Premium Test Drive

2014 Nissan GT-R frontQBy Barbara & Bill Schaffer

The 2014 Nissan GT-R may not have the same cachet of a Ferrari, Porsche or some the other big-name luxury performance sports cars, but it?s still a head-turner as we found out after driving one for a week. Oh, yeah, it?s faster than most of them, too.

An offspring of the legendary Nissan Skyline GT-R, which dominated performance cars in Japan in the early 1970s and early 2000s, the Nissan GT-R doesn?t scream ?super car?, but has a distinctive look that seems to produce more of a questioning look, especially when someone sees the Nissan logo on the rear deck lid. The full-flavored sound of the quad exhaust outlets adds to the mystery too ? after all, this isn?t like a garden variety Nissan Altima or even a sexy 370Z, it?s the GT-R. With worldwide production numbers running well under 2,000 a year, it?s not a car you see very often, so it easily inspires that questioning look.

2014 Nissan GT-R sdieWe quickly discovered one of the first adjustments we should make when starting out was to flip the suspension switch from the normal (default) setting to the comfort setting. There is a definite lack of spring in the step of the GT-R on the two firmer settings, or more like there is no suspension, but we soon discovered that it produces handling characteristics unlike anything we?ve driven before.

Driving briskly on a curvy highway felt like an expert skier must feel carving turns in a steep virgin snowfield, like the ones you see in the movies ? precise, smooth, and fast. The steering is perfect, the brakes astonishing and the acceleration unequalled. This must be the car that best fits the expression, ?like riding on rails.?

2014 Nissan GT-R rearHelping keep the GT-R grounded are some massive 20-inch tires, however, the tires produce a significant amount of road noise. Plus all that rubber on the road is prone to a bit of lateral movement when driven over those wide groves created by all the studded snow tires that are used on the roads for winter driving in our area. But that?s normal for tires like these.

Numbers accumulated from buff magazine testing tell a big part of the Nissan GT-R story ? 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, 193 mph top speed, 0 to 100 mph in 7.1 seconds, 60 mph to 0 braking 116 feet, 1.02 g skidpad and quarter-mile acceleration in 11.2 seconds at 125 mph. That?s supercar territory for ?only? $104,875 including the destination charge, the $4,000 Premium Interior Package and $200 GT-R logo floor mats. The 2014 Nissan GT-R Premium is the fastest car either of us has ever driven, and we?ve driven some of the fastest with names like Corvette, Porsche, Viper and Bentley.

2014 Nissan GT-R frontRUnder the long hood of the 2014 Nissan GT-R is a 3.8-liter V-6 engine outfitted with twin turbochargers that boost the horsepower total to 545, and the torque to 463-lb.ft. That?s amazing horsepower for a V-6 engine. The engine drives all four wheels through a super-fast shifting six-speed dual-clutch transmission. For extra control it has racing style paddle shifters mounted on the steering column, not on the steering wheel. That puts the paddles exactly where you want them when it comes time to shift and not somewhere on the rotating steering wheel.

Supporting this remarkable drivetrain are massive Brembo brakes, Rays? 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, a Blistein? Damptronic Shock absorber system and it?s all choreographed by the Driver Configurable Transmission, Suspension and Vehicle Dynamic Controls, which allow the driver to ?tune? the GT-R to his or her driving style.
2014 Nissan GT-R front

We?ve driven other cars that during a brief interlude of foot-mashed-to-the-floor-acceleration will make the skin on your face pull back like a plastic surgeon demonstrating what he/she could do for you. However, we?ve never had that happen after doing the ?mashing? at 60 mph, but that is exactly what we experienced in the GT-R.

A downside of driving this luxury race car, in addition to the less than smooth ride, is the strange sounds it makes from time to time while sitting at stop lights. In another car we might assume something was amiss, however, we were assured all the sounds were normal, and a part of partaking in the car?s amazing performance.

2014 Nissan GT-R interiorBill had a chance to drive the GT-R on a racetrack in Portugal when it first came out and he remembers it being something of a beast ? not only fast, but a bit rough around the edges and very much like a racecar. The Premium Interior Package on our white metallic test car added a beautiful and comfortable red amber leather interior complete with hand stitched surfaces and deeply bolstered heated seats. The interior, which includes room for four if the rear seat occupants are wee ones that don?t have legs long enough to hang over a seat. Thefront seats are sophisticated looking and very comfortable.

Standard equipment on the GT-R includes Bose? audio, Nissan hard drive navigation with seven-inch screen, push button ignition and HomeLink. It even has a cruise control and drink holders, which are often deleted from performance cars — cited as being frivolous.

2014 Nissan GT-R screenA neat ?toy? is displayed in the navigation screen of the GT-R. Simply push one of the buttons and twist a dial to the left of the screen just a finger away from the 2 o?clock position of the leather-clad steering wheel and the driver can cycle through 11 customizable pages of displays providing numerical and graphic displays of every single thing you could possibly want to know about the way the GT-R is performing — from the temperature of the transmission oil to how fast it is braking or accelerating or how many degrees of turn or the number of G?s you pulled in the last corner. We had to say ?toy? because the system was developed in conjunction with Polyphony Digital, the same people who created the Gran Turismo digital game. It produces a mind blowing amount of real information.

2014 Nissan GT-R centerSThe 2014 Nissan GT-R is not the kind of car we would want for ourselves, however we found it surprisingly easy and comfortable to drive. In addition, even the fuel economy wasn?t bad for a car of this caliber. The EPA rates it at 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 19 combined. We actually averaged 20.1 mpg, even with a few hard ?mashes.?

For someone serious about performance, or who has longed to own a ?super car? the 2014 Nissan GT-R is easily the best value on the market.

2014 Nissan GT-R rearQ