2014 Nissan GT-R Driving Impressions
It is here the Nissan GT-R comes into its own and outruns most supercars worth twice as much. The car clearly has cut corners in terms of looks and interior to keep its price tag reasonable but nothing has been spared when it comes to performance.
Nissan claims the GT-R can do the 0-60 sprint in just 2.7 seconds, quicker than just about anything other than the Bugatti Veyron. It has a top speed of 196 mph and no matter how much you drive the car, you never get used to the immense power available. Shifts from the column-mounted paddles are crisp and quick. Personally, I would prefer the paddles to be mounted to the steering wheel, as under hard cornering finding them can be troublesome and clumsy. Turn the transaxle to the Race setting and shifts sharpen and spread further up the engine's broad power curve.
There are three settings to chose from: Normal, Comfort or Race for the suspension, transmission shift points and the Vehicle Dynamic Control system's various algorithms. The suspension settings are noticeable with Race mode being a little too stiff for regular city driving. Turning it to Comfort takes a subtle edge off and provides a mildly more compliant ride, making longer journeys quite tolerable and keeping all your fillings firmly intact.
The car's traction control system is easy to use and almost too inviting every time you cross path with a stop sign. Simply put all three settings in to Race mode, press the brake pedal and mash the gas and the car hovers at roughly 4500 rpm. Release the brake and away you go with a slight squeal of the custom Dunlop, nitrogen filled tires. The distribution of power is balanced and utilizes the magnitude of grip available to its fullest capacity.
Take the car to the racetrack and challenge the car's dynamics and you sense the understeer, notorious with the GT-R. We did this at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The 2013 GT-R is noticeably better than the 2012 model, but in slow corners the car is still set up cautiously. This is likely a smart idea by the Nissan engineers given the abundant drivers with less than spectacular driving skills.
With the power down, the rear can slide out from under you in a mere instance but is always controllable. In general, the stiffer springs and more rigid body construction of the 2013 GT-R yields a livelier handling machine. It feels more on its toes and precise like an agile NFL running back. Cornering grip is outstanding and the massive brakes are firm and fadeless as they bring the car's velocity down at a mesmerizing rate.
The GT-R works equally well as a cruiser on the highway, as we learned driving around Indianapolis. Switch to the comfort settings, slide the gearbox into sixth gear and listen to the twin-turbo whistle and you find yourself in what feels like a docile animal. The sound from the quad-exhausts is actually rather quiet. One expects an obnoxious, boy racer type growl from the enormous 3.8-liter V6 but instead you experience an almost too subtle rumble. It doesn't have the refined scream of a 458 Italia, or even the deep gurgle of the big V8 Shelby GT500. It exists somewhere in the middle, in a gray area that begs to be heard just a little more prominently.
The rattle of the gear changes is quite noticeable from the clutch in the transaxle and a decent amount of wind noise is present, but none of which are too distracting or intrusive.
Unsurprisingly, the fuel efficiency of the GT-R is not spectacular coming in with EPA estimates of 16/23 mpg City/Highway.