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2014 Nissan GT-R

07:01AM - 11.07.'13

News Source: autoblog.com

 

There are only a handful of vehicles in existence that can change you permanently – ones that have the power to rewire your concept of speed to fit their definition. Some five years after the Nissan GT-R legally touched down here in the US for the first time, the coupe is still bending perceptions of what it means to be a supercar in the modern age. For 2014, engineers reworked the GT-R's twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine for more power, tweaked the transmission and massaged the suspension for ever more speed. Yes, that's right, I said more speed.

The changes have sharpened one of the best performance buys on the market into a weapons-grade track assault vehicle that just so happens to be street legal. More than ever, this is a car that rankles established supercar players with names like Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche, and does so with a Nissan badge on the hood.

Those chunky, 20-inch RAYS forged aluminum rollers look built to turn the weighted wheels of time.

Aesthetically, the GT-R hasn't changed all that much since the car first bowed, but that doesn't stop onlookers from busting out their cell-phone cameras at every stop light. I've had the pleasure of driving some incredibly expensive and rare vehicles, and none have courted attention the way the 2013 Nissan GT-R does. The car is still downright stunning, and in the flesh, there's no avoiding just how much gravity this thing generates. With all of its weight thrown down low into those wide front fenders and a flared tail end, the GT-R has all the pull of a neutron star. The car rolls down the freeway cocooned in an orbiting cloud of eyeballs.

And much of that draw comes from how clearly the GT-R communicates its purpose. Those chunky, 20-inch RAYS forged aluminum rollers look built to turn the weighted wheels of time, and the gleaming bronze six-piston Brembo monoblock calipers up front peek through the spokes to hint at industrial levels of brake force. The front rotors are a batty 15.35-inches across and 1.28-inches thick. Out back, engineers fitted the GT-R with four-piston Brembo monoblocks that squeeze 15-inch discs. It's the kind of hardware you need to repeatedly bring a 3,829-pound missile down from speed.

As much as its base price has risen over the years, the GT-R is still a "budget" supercar.

Other manufacturers have turned to carbon ceramic rotors to handle stopping duties on their high-end sports cars, but Nissan very wisely stuck with steel on the GT-R. While carbon discs offer all sorts of benefits when it comes to longevity and performance, the bits also add substantial cost. Carbon may be en vogue, but tacking another $7,000 onto the MSRP of a GT-R simply isn't worth it. As much as its base price has risen over the years, the GT-R is still a 'budget' supercar, and the steel rotors found at each corner have no trouble hauling the car down from epic speed repeatedly and without fade. Even after an enthusiastic sprint up and down my favorite mountain, the brake pedal remained firm and confident. That same stretch of tarmac has made short work of substantially lighter vehicles.

Of course, the kids in the minivan next to me in traffic don't know what rotors or calipers are good for, but they do know the GT-R looks radically different than their dad's Camry, and that's enough to send the lot of them into a feeding-time-at-the-zoo frenzy at the site of the wicked Nissan. That burly exhaust note certainly doesn't help, either. Have a listen in the video, below. Inside, the cabin is a weird mix of class and off-the-shelf Nissan bits. If you're expecting to find a coddled luxury cockpit, point your pupils elsewhere. Yes, the seats are a gift from the car gods, offering excellent bolstering and plenty of comfort for long hauls in the saddle, and yes, like the dash, they're swaddled in supple leather. But there's also plenty of Altima-grade plastic sprayed throughout the interior, and the hard stuff squeaks and rattles with every wrinkle in the pavement. Nissan very smartly spiced things up with some real carbon fiber trim here and there, but the GT-R doesn't offer the kind of interior refinement you'd expect from something with a six-figure price tag.

The GT-R doesn't offer the kind of interior refinement you'd expect from something with a six-figure price tag.

But where the materials fall short, the electronic wizardry picks up the slack. The 2014 Nissan GT-R is still using the same multi-function display that first debuted with the model when it launched. It hasn't gotten any less cool in that time. If, like me, you grew up playing the Gran Turismo franchise, you'll immediately recognize the type face. Nissan turned to Polyphony Digital to design the interface, and the display has several user-configurable displays good for serving up a veritable cornucopia of information. Vehicle speed, transmission temperature, differential temperature, lateral g-force, throttle position and brake force can all be summoned at will. Hell, I'm amazed the thing doesn't tell me my body mass index.
 

 
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