2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition First Test
Now an Every-Other-Day Supercar
"Do you know how rare this car is?" a curious gentleman asked as I inched out of the Motor Trend parking garage in the Solid Red 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition. Little did he know that it's rarer than most, because while it looks just like other GT-Rs, it's definitely not the same.
Unlike in previous years, the 2014 GT-R does not receive any power or torque upgrades, so its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 produces the same 545 horsepower and 463 lb-ft of torque as it did in 2013. That's not to say that Nissan left the VQ38DETT alone -- the engine receives new injectors that provide more torque on the high side of the rev range and an oil pan baffle that stabilizes oil behavior and pressure when the car is being driven hard. The six-speed, twin-clutch gearbox and Atessa all-wheel-drive system remain unchanged.
In lieu of adding power, engineers paid extra attention to the 2014 GT-R's suspension, spending more time at the Nurburgring with GT-R development driver Toshio Suzuki at the wheel. Based on his feedback, Nissan added specialized gas pressure shock absorbers and higher spring rates to stiffen the suspension for a more compliant ride and a more stable feel in out and of corners. (The Track Edition receives further tweaks to the adjustable Bilstein dampers and even stiffer spring rates.) Nissan also relocated the front suspension link bushing and fitted a new front anti-roll bar. It didn't take a day at the track to feel the difference in ride quality -- the improvement was evident five minutes into my drive. "Still sounds like a dump truck, but a quieter, softer dump truck compared to the 2013 model," noted associate photography editor Michael Shaffer.
Cosmetic changes for 2014 include carbon-fiber air inlets in the front spoiler that feed the front brake cooling guides, and the rear brakes also get cooling guides. Not only do these carbon-fiber air inlets help with the braking situation, they also look pretty sweet on the GT-R's slightly revised mug, along with the HID headlights and LED daytime running light strips. Like the Black Edition, the Track Pack throws in a handmade dry carbon rear spoiler and 20-inch metallic black forged Rays lightweight wheels shod in run-flat nitrogen-filled Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 DSST CTT tires.
Despite missing the rear seat (the one major difference between Track and Black), the 3881-pound Track Edition GT-R is just 6 pounds lighter than our 2013 Black Edition long-termer. It hustled from 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds -- a tenth of a second faster than the Black Edition and two-tenths quicker than a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C, just to name two supercars that breathe the same air. In fact, the only car we tested in 2012 that tied the 2014 GT-R Track Edition is a 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S we compared against our 2013 long-termer.
The new Track Edition is also a tenth of second quicker through the quarter mile than the 2013, getting there in 11.0 seconds going 125.1 mph; the Black Edition finished in 11.1 seconds at 124.8 mph. Both completed the figure eight in 23.0 seconds, however, the Track Edition did it with a 0.93 g average while the less racy edition posted a 0.91 g average. The biggest improvement in the GT-R's performance was its stopping distance, with the red rocket coming to a screeching halt from 60 mph in just 94 feet -- 11 feet sooner than the Black Edition.
Instead of rear seats, this track-tuned coupe has two hollow spaces covered with a quilted cloth. Though many would say the setup is a little half-baked, I can see where Nissan was going with it. It looks more sophisticated than the Ford Mustang Boss Laguna Seca's X-Brace and makes the cockpit feel a bit more livable. A leather panel separates each hollow space from the cabin floor. Running in between them is the same center armrest with two forward-facing woofers, part of the 11-speaker Bose sound system found in all GT-Rs. Although the Boss's X-Brace does look sportier -- as a track car should -- the rear space in the GT-R isn't completely useless as it is in the Ford; the holes cradled some belongings I didn't want thrown around in the trunk during a curvy drive.
Additionally, the GT-R Track Edition gets exclusive blue-trimmed, high-grip front seats with "special" leather and fuzzy gray fabric that looks like velour. For a vehicle as exclusive and expensive as this, full leather seats without the gray fabric would've been more appropriate, though the plush seats did a good job at keeping me planted in high speed corners.
The Track Edition rings in at $116,710, about $9000 more than the Black Edition and nearly $19,000 more than the Premium GT-R. Given the relatively minor changes, why would you want to spend several thousands more on the GT-R Track Edition? Bragging rights. There are only 150 of these on sale in the U.S., and while Ferrari drivers already shake in their boots when they pull up to a GT-R, this particular one will make their hearts beat a little faster still.
Nissan touts the GT-R is an everyday supercar, but with the Track Pack, the GT-R seems more like an every-other-day supercar, since it's less user-friendly without the rear seats. Even though the regular GT-R's back seats are borderline useless, it's nice to have them for that extra person who wants to come along to witness mighty Godzilla firsthand. Like they say, you never know what you have until it's gone.
|2014 Nissan GT-R (Track Pack)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$116,710|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||3.8L/545-hp/463-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed twin-clutch auto.|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3881 lb (55/45%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||183.8 x 74.6 x 53.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||2.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||11.0 sec @ 125.1 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||94 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||1.04 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||23.0 sec @ 0.93 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||16/23 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||211/147 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||1.05 lb/mile|