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RE: Nissan GT-R MY14: Review

RE: Nissan GT-R MY14: Review

Wednesday 22nd October 2014

Nissan GT-R MY14: Review

Where to test the latest GT-R update? A wet and windy Wales of course!



How long into ownership of a Nissan GT-R do most people go before thinking "what this car needs, above everything else, is considerably more horsepower!" Owners, you're invited to explain the logic. Because out of the box and full seven years on from when PH first drove the GT-R your first full-bore acceleration run will still do funny things to your insides and inspire colourful language.

Wet road? GT-R still rampantly fast
Wet road? GT-R still rampantly fast
And the stats are still astonishing, the sub-three seconds to 62mph time whole tenths quicker than even a 911 Turbo S while in NISMO Time Attack form it's barely seconds off the 'ring lap time of the 918 Spyder. For an £80K car weighing 1,740kg without its powerfully built driver aboard that's still utterly ludicrous. With the rate of progress in the fast car sphere of late what other seven year-old car could claim similar relevance?

But a slavish obsession with numbers has characterised the GT-R from the start. A mindset seemingly embraced by significant proportion of online advocates, willing to slap down anyone fool enough to question the GT-R's superiority with cage fighter aggression. A stereotype not helped by videos like this.

Which is unfortunate, because there's actually a lot more to the GT-R than its steroid-popping image might suggest.

Revised tyre among the MY14 updates
Revised tyre among the MY14 updates
Powerfully built
But why are we driving a MY14 GT-R when, going by the calendar, obsolescence and confirmation of a new and improved 2015 model year version are probably days away? Frankly it felt like a while since we had and our only experience of this still current version was a brief drive in Japan in the carefully controlled context of a Nissan presslaunch. With the autumnal weather blowing in and the harsh, choppy tarmac of the Black Mountains beckoning a more brutal test of GT-R's continued relevance seemed inviting.

Given GT-R revisions seem to come along as often as iOS updates (but thankfully without unrequested U2 albums) what's actually changed on this one, over the MY13 car? Diminishing returns mean the dramatic leaps in power from the 480hp of the original to 530hp and now 550hp have slowed to a trickle, Nissan summing up the improvements as "recalibrated suspension for more sophisticated ride and better road-holding, enhanced exterior with LED lamp technology and distinctive front and rear design [and] added premium cabin interior with improved quality and trim options."

We asked for specifics, not least on the mechanical changes to the suspension. A spokesman said "it's a closely guarded secret in terms of actual numbers" and "Japan won't disclose that info I'm afraid" but the direction of travel is clear; as the GT-R has matured it's attempted to act as if it has too.

What does it take to make a GT-R sensible? Paint!
What does it take to make a GT-R sensible? Paint!
Respect my authority
Especially in terms of comfort and refinement. In 2009 Nissan was already boasting that "by changing the front spring and damper rates, the ride comfort is improved, while handling becomes even more dynamic thanks to improved responsiveness and more accurate control of suspension movements." In 2012 curious asymmetric spring and damper rates were introduced that "equalised during driving, providing improved responsiveness, smoothness and steering feel, as well as enhanced cornering stability and riding comfort." In 2013 we got "suspension upgrades for improved ride comfort and sharper handling" while for this MY14 car "minute vibrations and road noise [are] reduced, a relaxing, comfortable ride is assured. An additional benefit is improved straight-line stability, with fewer small steering corrections needed to maintain the correct trajectory during highway driving."

By rights then it should now be as refined as a Rolls-Royce Wraith, while still able to chew up 911 Turbos and spit out the bits. So to a rain-lashed, pock-marked road somewhere in Wales to find out if that's true.

Well, it's still no Roller. At low speeds the transmission clanks, the diffs scrabble and chunter at manoeuvring speeds and it feels like you sense every pebble passing under those bespoke Dunlop SportMaxx GT600s - as much as a kilo apiece lighter than those on the MY13. Great for unsprung weight and suspension response, less so if you need to replace a single tyre given it's recommended you do a full set at £1,725 to ensure they're all to the same spec.

You've spotted the new LEDs right?
You've spotted the new LEDs right?
White lines
As the speeds build the engine sounds gruff, the front wheels still have an alarming keenness to sniff out cambers and white lines and there's an odd mix of huge mass and a darty enthusiasm to change direction. We drove a Turbo S in similar conditions recently and even at colossal speed in pouring rain resting pulse rate was barely troubled, the 911 spooky in its ability to feel languid and relaxed even when the numbers on the speedo and conditions outside suggested it should be a white knuckle experience. Not so in the GT-R.

Your hips feel above the axles in a GT-R, rather than in-line with them and it still feels tall and bulky. It tips aggressively into bends but then feels like it wants to understeer out of them. But a counter intuitive driving style has always been part of the package and the more you man up and lean on the technology the better it gets, squatting into that characteristic cornering pose and the rear axle as much dictating the direction of travel as the steering wheel. And by god does it pull hard, Nissan thankfully maintaining a sense of turbocharged thrust by resisting the temptation to have all the torque thumping in at low revs. The torque band is generous, stretching from 3,200rpm to 5,800rpm and boost rushes in with a thrilling disregard for the famously hefty kerbweight. By the standards of PDK, S Tronic and other dual-clutch transmissions the GT-R's six-speed unit is less refined and more mechanical in its shifts but that suits the car and every tug of the right paddle unleashes another hit of bonkers acceleration.

Kind of appropriate lights look like afterburners
Kind of appropriate lights look like afterburners
Subtle? Really?
It's a lot more exciting and involving than those who dismiss the GT-R as a mere video game of a car would credit. Indeed, where a 911 Turbo feels aloof and detached the GT-R demands real involvement and focus and, in this context, reassuringly old-school. As is the thirst, the one area the Nissan hasn't been able to keep pace with compared with more modern rivals. There's more nuance to the control weights and calibration than many would expect though, a benefit of that evolutionary development model. And with drivetrain in 'R' and dampers in comfort you've got a set-up that now works well on a bumpy British road and makes the most of the inherent traction. Fast but totally in command of weight shifts and mass the way you can deploy full power mid-corner, over crests and through standing water is testament to those myriad incremental improvements.

That optional paint even goes some way to making sense of those claims of increased maturity, the GT-R's utterly unmistakable physical and aesthetic presence as distinctive as ever, especially with those trademark lights glowing like afterburners. No accident this is the car's most recognisable angle either, given it's the one generations of gamers have burned into their retinas.

Could still use an explanation of why people feel it needs more power though. Over to you...

A little taste of GT-R


Previously on PH... Nissan GT-R timeline
Nissan GT-R first drive
(December 2007)
Nissan GT-R 2012: More for less (fuel)
(November 2011)
Nissan GT-R vs BMW M5
(February 2012)
Nissan GT-R Track Pack vs Porsche 911 Turbo
(May 2012)
World Domination and the Nissan GT-R
(May 2012)
Nissan GT-R looks to the future
(August 2012)
2013 Nissan GT-R, now even more so
(November 2012)
Nissan GT-R MY14 and NISMO driven
(November 2013)
Nissan GT-R NISMO vs Mercedes C63 Black Series
(August 2014)


NISSAN GT-R (MY14)
Engine:
3,799cc V6 twin-turbo
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 550@6,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 466@3,200-5,800rpm
0-62mph: 2.8sec
Top speed: 196mph
Weight: 1,740kg
MPG: 23.9mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 275g/km
Price: £78,020 OTR (£79,770 as tested including Vermillion Red paint £1,750)

 

 







Author
Discussion

sanctum

Original Poster:

191 posts

100 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
That GT-R Fly-by video must have been speeded up because it looks like it's doing indecent speeds over a public road..........

macky17

1,777 posts

114 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
sanctum said:
That GT-R Fly-by video must have been speeded up because it looks like it's doing indecent speeds over a public road..........
Perish the thought, I'm sure they'll all go to hell for that.

"a counter intuitive driving style has always been part of the package" - for me that was always the problem with my GTR ownership experience. I don't want to feel dependant on the technology to the point I'm ignoring everything I've learnt and trusting the car to sort things out. In that sense, the GTR is like a computer game, isn't it?

If only they'd make it genuinely lighter without doubling the price for the privilege. A 1500kg GTR would be utterly wonderful.

British Beef

1,042 posts

90 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
Still formidable performance for the money, 2+2 practicality and 4wd for winter driving.

How is the service interval on the MY14 car, as the earlier ones were every 6000 miles I think (?)

macky17

1,777 posts

114 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
British Beef said:
Still formidable performance for the money, 2+2 practicality and 4wd for winter driving.

How is the service interval on the MY14 car, as the earlier ones were every 6000 miles I think (?)
So it's a good daily driver? Yes, I'll give you that.

Later cars did have longer intervals.

liner33

6,531 posts

127 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
Think you can turn the diff off at low speed ie for parking etc which is an improvement for the MY14 according to a mate who owns one

I want one really badly, but just cant quite get there frown
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Gecko1978

1,672 posts

82 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
Around 4 years ago I drove one of these at a track day and like the Impreza I had at the time a number of things stuck me. The car is a better driver than I am the technology at play made it posibble for me to drive much faste than I did earlier in the day in a Gallardo which I am guessing had more than 50+ BHP on the GTR, but it felt more fun (GTR that is) as you could throw it about an the car looked after you. Maybe you could do same in the Lambo but it being a 180k car etc I just felt intimidated and so drove it like I now drive my Zafira with the kids in. Also people complain about the interior etc again like the scooby it was a bit naff but then again I bought the scooby because it drove well not because it had soft plastics and nice looks (it had neither).

The GTR to me is the enthieasts choice it says to hell with the badge I just want to drive a fast car an have fun and I accept I am not F1 level in the skills department. Also its got 4 seats an a boot and its a nissan so you expect levels of reliability to be similar. At £80k its still v expensive but since a 911 is a 100K car now and a V8 ferrari is closer to 200k the nissan really does bring high perforamce to the masses (ok not the masses but its still more attanable than a car that costs as much as a house)

I just hope the 2015 16 17 18 etc GTRs offer similar levels of pricing an performance

vrooom

3,729 posts

192 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
why all gtr look like its riding on bump stop?

MarJay

1,984 posts

100 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
The weight is very much a problem. Instead of seeing how much they can pack into a GTR, Nissan ought to be seeing how much they can take out. I'm sure this would help in acceleration, cornering and fuel consumption. Instead it seems like the author of this really struggled to find something to actually write about compared to last years car. Maybe Nissan are planning a huge update next year with a 1400kg kerb weight and new styling? Here's hoping.

C.A.R.

3,251 posts

113 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
Excellent. Still need to see one in the original R34 Bayside blue though, there's a few cars I've seen which have been resprayed and it looks superb in that colour.

Terrible picture but-


And always loved the irony of the internet warriors stating that the GTR is 'not a drivers car' because of the technology involvement, but the only people who actually go out and buy a 4wd, supercar-baiting sportscar are going to be enthusiastic drivers!

Edited by C.A.R. on Wednesday 22 October 13:15

ferdi p

966 posts

97 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
sanctum said:
That GT-R Fly-by video must have been speeded up because it looks like it's doing indecent speeds over a public road..........
I agree, especially with all those local schools & packed pavements!

simundo777

66 posts

96 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
sanctum said:
That GT-R Fly-by video must have been speeded up because it looks like it's doing indecent speeds over a public road..........
Yawn....

toppstuff

11,411 posts

172 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
Bloody epic cars, these.

I am a massive, massive fan of them. I would take one over any 911 Turbo in a heartbeat.


jakesmith

1,883 posts

96 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
Awaits the inevitable "It's like a playstation game, the interior is cheap, it's more expensive than a used 997 Turbo' comments

OldBob

289 posts

84 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
Just to ground peoples claims, even with published 0-60 times sub 3, a standard MY14 GTR is not quicker straight line accelerating than a 991 911TurboS.
But is about half the price new and well specced and better at lots of other things...

Edited by OldBob on Wednesday 22 October 13:38

E65Ross

19,745 posts

137 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
MarJay said:
The weight is very much a problem.
rofl

Yes, because it's so much slower than its lighter rivals.

Gandahar

4,883 posts

53 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
E65Ross said:
MarJay said:
The weight is very much a problem.
rofl

Yes, because it's so much slower than its lighter rivals.
If you look at Porsche 991 Turbo S videos on the internet against the GT-R it normally wins due to lower weight and rear engine traction, there is a good one somewhere by Car.

Edited by Gandahar on Wednesday 22 October 13:55

OldBob

289 posts

84 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
E65Ross said:
MarJay said:
The weight is very much a problem.
rofl

Yes, because it's so much slower than its lighter rivals.
It depends what you want to do with it.
As a road car performance wise it's not an issue at all and it works very well as it is.
As a casual track day similarly it will destroy most cars out there unmodified, whilst eating consumables at a frightening rate though because of the weight.
As a track weapon, which it can be, the extent depending on the level of mods then there are a number of things that make a difference to it's performance as per this thread:
http://www.gtr.co.uk/forum/304545-gtr-sprint-its-n...
That all said there is a great after-market support and supply network that can transform it for the particular user needs and it is relatively inexpensive to fettle with cost/performance wise.

Sampaio

377 posts

63 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
E65Ross said:
MarJay said:
The weight is very much a problem.
rofl

Yes, because it's so much slower than its lighter rivals.
It's called handling. Also, mpg.

Gecko1978

1,672 posts

82 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
E65Ross said:
MarJay said:
The weight is very much a problem.
rofl

Yes, because it's so much slower than its lighter rivals.
indeed 2.8 to 60 really is slow and if it just handeled a bit better....oh wait lol.

Its a fantastic car its fast and turns corners like it knows where its going before you, its not a Ferrari or a 911 but then not everyone wants one of them.

toppstuff

11,411 posts

172 months

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
quotequote all
Sampaio said:
It's called handling. Also, mpg.
It handles fantastically. IMO it is more enjoyable and engaging than a 997 Turbo, which I have compared it with. Isn't really any thirstier either.

So, no, the weight isn't a problem.