Nissan hawks a hotter GT-R
The 2014 GT-R will go on sale in early 2013 in two packages -- Premium and the Black Edition.
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Editor's note: An earlier version of this story provided an incorrect number for the percentage change in U.S. sales of the Nissan GT-R this year, and incorrectly said that horsepower and torque had increased for 2014.
NASHVILLE -- Nissan Motor Corp. has re-engineered the 2014 GT-R in a bid to restoke U.S. sales of the high-end sports car -- but also with an eye toward improving its lap times at Germany's Nurburgring racetrack next spring.
Though largely a carryover from last year, the 2014 model has received tweaks in engine performance, suspension and handling to give the 545-hp super car an edge in performance driving.
Sports cars are increasingly using Nurburgring track lap times to best each other for bragging rights in advertising. In recent years, the GT-R has dueled with the Dodge Viper ACR, Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette C6, Lexus LFA and other sport cars for the claim of fastest lap time at the remote German track.
Nissan will pull the wraps off of the re-engineered four-passenger sports coupe Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The United States has become the largest market for the car.
Though production of the GT-R is tightly controlled, U.S. sales are forecast to rise to about 1,440 during the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, says Carl Phillips, the GT-R's North American chief marketing manager.
U.S. sales of the car have dropped 12 percent to 1,054 this year through October.
The GT-R is assembled in Japan on a craft center-like production line and U.S. dealers have lobbied Nissan to hike output.
The GT-R receives new fuel injectors for 2014 intended to improve acceleration at mid- and high-rpm ranges, between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm. Such a change may well be attractive to owners who drive the car on U.S. roads. But the Nurburgring track is notorious for its twists and turns, requiring frequent changes in speed and the need for quick acceleration. Engineers have added an oil pan baffle to stabilize oil pressure under high speed cornering for 2014.
The car also gets hand-stitched red semi-aniline leather seats.
But expanding production is a delicate challenge, Phillips adds.
The 2014 GT-R will come with a rear spoiler that is handmade using a rare weave of carbon fiber.
Each V-6 engine from the Tochigi, Japan, assembly line is hand-built by a single technician. Starting in 2014, each car will bear an engine plate displaying the name of the technician who built it.
The model will go on sale in January 2013 in two packages -- Premium and the Black Edition. Pricing has not been released. The 2013 Premium version starts at $97,820 and the Black Edition starts at $107,320. Prices include shipping.
The GT-R receives new fuel injectors for 2014 intended to improve acceleration at mid- and high-rpm ranges, and hand-stitched red semi-aniline leather seats.
You can reach Lindsay Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.