Overall Rating:  

Thank goodness Japan has a wild side. Interspersed among boatloads of politically correct Toyota Priuses comes the occasional Lexus F hot rod. And over at Nissan, punctuating the truckloads of morbidly thrifted Versas is the random GT-R. The muscular Nissan has a legacy going back decades, but for the most part, this fast and furious coupe boldly goes its own way. Quirky, jerky, and perky, it has so much personality that J.D. Power wouldn’t know how to score it. It’s a riot of sensation and sound—some annoying and others cyborg cool. On one hand, it’s a bargain supercar for hard-core gearheads. On the other, for a coupe from a nonpremium brand, the GT-R is a bit spendy, as it costs twice as much as a Chevy Camaro ZL1.

Quick, hooks up like Lohan, prodigious stick, exotic moves without pretentious prices.
Noisier than a sawmill; spendy for the Nissan badge; chunky, pug-nose looks starting to feel dated.

We’ve tested several GT-Rs since the current-gen model first broke cover in 2009, and Nissan has made steady (almost annual) improvements to it. New for 2014 is the Track Edition you see here. It deletes the standard GT-R’s Mini-Me rear seats in favor of a pair of quilted, fabric-covered package bins. Other elements include modified Bilsteins, stiffer springs (20 percent, says Nissan), six-spoke RAYS forged-aluminum wheels, grippy fabric-covered front seats, and front and rear brake-cooling air channels, as well as front and rear spoilers fashioned from carbon fiber. The Track Edition is less influenced by gravitational forces than is the “base” model, to the tune of 33 pounds. Otherwise, this version sports the same horsepower and torque, same gearing, same tires, and so on. So the big question is, does the Track Edition merit a tariff that’s a chunky $16,000 steeper than the “base” Premium model?

According to our test numbers, we’re not sure the Track Edition content helps performance as much as it abets the exclusivity of this limited edition—150 will come to the States—and enhances its collector value for the day when our daily rides are proton-powered, auto-piloted carbon-fiber pods. Actually, the single notable change in the 2014 GT-R’s numbers is its price: The base Premium model breaks the $100,000 barrier for the first time, and the Track Edition kicks the charge all the way to $116,710. Our test car was $285 more dear than that, thanks to its optional GT-R–logo floor mats.

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