The Nissan GT-R barged into the performance car party a few years ago, all aggression, muscle and acting like a bit of a hard nut. Over the following years it has gained power, and even more aggression – until now.
That's because the 2014 GT-R has been tweaked to make it more amenable to more people – to which end the suspension settings have been altered to make the car more comfortable and reduce road noise, while the interior trims have been upgraded to make the whole thing a bit easier to live with.
What's the 2014 Nissan GT-R like to drive?
Let's just say there's been no softening of the way the GT-R delivers its 542bhp – it still feels like you've been strapped to the world's largest firework when you accelerate hard.
On twisting country roads, the GT-R is at its absolute best if you use the steering wheel-mounted paddles to flick up and down through the lightning-fast gearbox, because you're always in the right gear at the right revs for the car to bullet its way towards the next hairpin.
The GT-R is no featherweight, but it disguises its heft well and changes direction quickly, responding sharply to steering inputs. It stops, turns and accelerates like few other road cars, helped by the superb traction offered by its four-wheel-drive system.
So far, so GT-R.
No, the big news is that the suspension changes made to add refinement have been a success. The 2014 GT-R deals with a scruffy, pockmarked road surface like no GT-R before it. In the past, if you drove over a packet of crisps you'd be able to tell what flavour it was, but that isn't the case in the 2014 iteration. Yes, it's still firm, but there's a degree of compliance that makes the car genuinely easier to live with.
Road noise would appear to have been reduced too, although we'll need to drive the car in the UK before making a definitive verdict on that.
General refinement remains much as before, so the engine sounds purposeful if not especially melodic, and the transmission generates all manner of clunks and clicks from somewhere beneath you. General cabin noise has been reduced by the use of a noise-cancelling system in the Bose audio set-up – and this works whether the radio is on or off.
What's the 2014 Nissan GT-R like inside?
The interior changes are mainly to the type of materials used, and include a new, higher-quality Pale Ivory leather trim and some minor tweaks to the plastics.
Everything else is pretty much as before, which means the dashboard looks a bit like a Casio G-Shock watch, and some of the switches are recognisable from lesser Nissans. Still, it all works well, and the bits you interact with on every drive (namely the steering wheel, gearshift paddles and brakes) all feel like well-engineered items.
There's decent space for two, and while two more people can sit in the rear seat, they won't thank you if they have to spend too much time there. It's probably best to view the rear seat as extra luggage space.
Farther back, the boot is a reasonable size, so you can put your weekend's baggage in there and the shopping on the back seat – easy.
Should I buy one?
The GT-R may no longer be the staggering bargain it once was, but nonetheless it still gives you a huge amount for your money.
Not only does it have the sort of performance that will make Porsche owners think twice about taking it on (and probably Ferrari owners too), but it also does it with a five-figure price that starts with a seven.
On top of that, it comes with pretty much every piece of tech you could want, including climate and cruise controls, heated and electrically adjustable seats, new LED lights front and rear, a huge Bose sound system, and of course a readout that can tell you absolutely everything about the way the car is performing.
So it looks like the hard nut of the performance car class is growing older gracefully. It's just that bit softer and easier to live with these days – and it's all the better for it.
What Car? says...
Engine size 3.8-litre V6 turbo petrol
Price from £77,995
Torque 466lb ft
0-60mph 2.7 seconds
Top speed 196mph
Fuel economy 24.0mpg