First Drive: 2014 Nissan GT-R
First Drive: 2014 Nissan GT-R. Click image to enlarge

Article by Paul Williams, Photos by Paul Williams and courtesy Nissan North America.

El Toro Drive Centre, Newport Beach, California – There was something ironic about being shuttled to a performance track at the Nissan 360 global event in a mild-mannered, right-hand drive, Japanese-market Nissan Cedric taxi. It was even weirder because I was driving the taxi, but that’s another story.

Access to the High Performance Course concluded the two-day Nissan 360 extravaganza that featured examples of every vehicle made by Nissan, Infiniti and the newly revived Datsun in all of the global markets they occupy, plus historics and concept cars. In all there were 114 vehicles.

Most of these – except for the historic cars and all but one of the concepts – we could drive on closed circuits and even out on public roads. And let me tell you, Nissan makes a huge array of vehicles, ranging from cute and tiny Moco microcars to 30-passenger Civilian buses.

But this was the end of the show; the grand finale, as it were. This was where the mighty GT-R and the race-version GT-R GT3 could strut their stuff, and for added entertainment (as if more were needed) there was a GT-R powered Juke (the Juke R) to further make the point that Nissan has some bona fide gearheads on its payroll; the type who believe that stuffing a 545-horsepower engine in an unsuspecting Juke would definitely be worth doing.

First Drive: 2014 Nissan GT-RFirst Drive: 2014 Nissan GT-R
First Drive: 2014 Nissan GT-R. Click image to enlarge

Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let us out on public roads with the GT-R, let alone the GT3 or the Juke R, so we were confined to the El Toro drive centre for this particular phase of the event.

The GT-R, as you may know, is often referred to as an affordable supercar. Affordable is relative, of course, as $106,930 (plus $2,300 delivery) is still millionaire money for most people. But supercars obviously aren’t cheap, some costing many times the price of a GT-R for similar performance, so the “affordable” moniker is apt.

But what makes the GT-R a supercar? As I say, it’s the performance. The previously mentioned 545 hp twin-turbocharged engine combined with a dual-clutch, six-speed transmission and all-wheel drive propel this vehicle from 0-100 km/h in an outrageously low 2.7 seconds according to Nissan, with handling and braking to match. Top speed? 300 km/h.

The experience behind the wheel is nothing short of exhilarating; the GT-R featuring just about every performance technology that Nissan has at its disposal. It can be a handful; a mean machine (it certainly looks the part, at least from the front), and it’s built to go very, very fast.

First Drive: 2014 Nissan GT-R
First Drive: 2014 Nissan GT-R. Click image to enlarge

For 2014, the GT-R continues to be available in two trim levels: Premium and Black, and is equipped with a further refined engine and chassis following significant engine modifications for the 2013 model year (improved intake efficiency, reduced airflow resistance, improved exhaust emissions efficiency, 15 hp and 15 lb-ft torque increase). The latest refinements include improved high rpm throttle response, a lower centre of gravity and reduced body flex.

Specifically, the engine receives new fuel injectors for enhanced torque response in the 4,500 – 6,000 rpm range plus improved throttle and acceleration feel at mid and high rpm. Oil pressure is stabilized in high performance driving situations with the addition of an oil pan baffle which also reduces friction and contributes to increased responsiveness, according to Nissan.

Connect with