Subtle changes make standard GT-R more appealing to drive, but by creating the GT-R Nismo, Nissan has left us with the job of choosing between the two...

What is it?

MY 14 to replace MY 13. Or that's what Nissan dubs its conveyor belt of model year changes; to everyone else it'll simply be the Nissan GT-R they receive if they order after December.

In previous years the difference between model years was fairly inconsequential, but this time round there are some genuine differences - in the most part because 2014 marks the point at which Nissan has opted to split the range in two.

Reviewed elsewhere, the more expensive Nismo will now be the performance pinnacle of the GT-R experience. Its placement means that the engineers have finally been freed to relax their grip on the Race part of the badge, and get to grips with the GT bit.

Thus, ride and refinement have become bigger issues than they have ever been before. The front spring rates and electronic control of the dampers has been revised “to reduce load fluctuations between the four wheels” ie to keep them all in contact with the ground rather than skipping around like frogs in a pond of trampolines.

Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GTs now come as standard, and the steering has been retuned to offer drivers a bit more assistance at lower speeds (where the GT-R was previously as cantankerous as Godzilla in a tea shop). The brakes have also been recalibrated for a more linear response when not on the limit.

Nissan has even set out to improve the car's insulation from the whine of the drivetrain, reassessing the placement of noise-cancelling material and indulging in Active Noise Control from the Bose sound system.

Finally (or possibly firstly, depending on how you look at it) there has been the usual deck-shuffling of light clusters, with the front getting rather dashing LED lamp signatures to the front and a more distinctive 'four ring' arrangement at the back.

What's it like?

Really rather convincing. Previous trips out in the GT-R would not last five minutes before the suspension was frantically thumbed into its 'Comf' mode. Here, on admittedly smooth Japanese roads, the softest setting was not required to reasonably satisfy one's aching spine.

Its engineers bridle at the suggestion of softness; what they've strived for, they say, is improved compliance for better traction, and there is that sensation - not plush or tremendously isolating, but sufficient to make the GT-R a better everyday prospect (obviously the point).

Similarly, the new steering does make junction navigation a little less bothersome, and work at the opposite end to make its responses more linear (and less in need of minor corrections) has also paid off.

A modest route hardly permitted a decent work out of the GT-R's formidable dynamic, but it's fair to say that when prodded, the car still responds with huge conviction. Revised throttle response, beyond a moment's pause for thought, is aggressive and then relentless. Nissan doesn't quote a 0-60mph time for the new Nismo, but the standard car is still below 3, and that'll be plenty good enough for most.

Work on the noise levels in an otherwise unchanged (and therefore still rather lumpy) cabin proves halfway decent. At slow speeds there's less obvious brouhaha from the engine bay, and perhaps a clearer note when worked, but in-between the experience is still overawed by massive road noise or the grumpy mewl of the transaxle.

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Should I buy one?

Perhaps. There's a more rounded GT-R here, and in very few books will that be a bad thing. While UK roads may yet hobble the MY 14, hiving off the hardcore to squabble over the Nismo has certainly left behind a car better prepared for its idiosyncracies - and (probably) lacking none of its talent.However. By splitting its range in two and building a quicker GT-R, Nissan has given us the problem of ranking them, and the car doesn't quite sell comfort (or economy or luxury or beauty) quite well enough to seal the idea that it's a stellar all-rounder in the mould of, say, a Porsche 911.Deep down, certainly to all those that care enough to sign on the line, the GT-R is still likely to be about supercar-killing, tongue-swallowing speed. The yet more furious version offers an even bigger bang per buck, and short of the uprated suspension reducing us to tears or being bankrupted by the premium, that's the horse we'd choose to ride in on.

2014 Nissan GT-R

Price TBC; 0-62mph 2.7sec; Top speed 196mph; Economy 24mpg (combined); CO2 275g/km; Kerbweight 1740kg; Engine V6, 3799cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol; Installation Front, longitudinal, 4WD; Power 542bhp at 6400rpm; Torque 465lb ft at 3200-5800rpm; Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch automatic

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madmac 30 November 2013

For Best Bang For The Buck it

For Best Bang For The Buck it truly has no equal,but Money No Object it has to be a 911 Turbo S.Compared them both at Frankfurt Show,and prefer the Porsche as it is better finished,so it should be at the price.Here in Canada these are not selling,One BC dealer I know has had one in the showroom for 2 years ! Has the novelty worn off?
KenF 25 November 2013

I wouldnt say it was hideous.

I wouldnt say it was hideous. Its certainly areodynamically efficient, C.D. of 0.27 with considerable negative lift. Id buy one if I had the money and enjoy baiting Porsche drivers in it
Mark Rodriguez 23 November 2013

Far too ugly to be taken seriously.

No matter what kind of performance it may possess, its hideous looks will forever consign it to the also-rans of the sports car genre. Aesthetics certainly isn't one of the Japanese virtues.