The Nissan GT-R has been given its annual round of upgrades for 2014 and, surprisingly, the focus is on improving comfort and refinement, not performance. We grabbed an early drive of the 2014 model in Tokyo to find out if it really has gone soft.
• Full Nissan GT-R review
The decision to ‘maintain’ the current GT-R’s performance can’t have been hard – the twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 already produces 542bhp, while 0-62mph takes three seconds flat. If you want more, there’s the extreme GT-R Nismo.
Nissan says it’s fine-tuned the springs, dampers and bushes “to reduce load fluctuation between the four wheels”. To you and I, this means the tyres stay in contact with the tarmac more of the time, improving grip, high-speed stability and smoothing the ride. It works well.
On the rutted roads of our test route, the GT-R’s ride felt far less punishing in Comfort and Normal suspension modes – Race is still best left for track work.
The car is quieter, too, but only when you want it to be. A new Bose stereo (standard on UK models) with active noise cancellation dials out unwanted road noise, leaving only the roar of the exhausts under heavy throttle.
Nissan has recalibrated the steering to increase the power assistance at low speeds, and make things easier around town, while the brakes now need a firmer prod to produce the same force, which translates into improved pedal feel. There are minor visual changes, too. At the front, the LED strips in the bumper are carried over, but there’s a new ‘Z’-shaped LED signature running through the main headlight clusters.
So it’s less twitchy on the motorway, quieter when cruising and more comfortable most of the time. But when the right road presents itself, the GT-R is still one of the fastest things on four wheels; its ability to exploit a gap in traffic, or shrink a straight with a squeeze of the throttle, is unparalleled. Keep things fast but smooth, and the chassis and electronics will flatter you, but it’s not lacking in character – in fact, you’ll never tire of the ferocious acceleration and endless grip.