A hot Nissan that came early, and a big announcement that never came at all
2 January 2008

December was a month of contrasts. Amongst other things, we marvelled at the achievement of a reimagined talismanic Japanese sports car – the deeply impressive Nissan GT-R – that came to our attention a little earlier than anticipated, and waited for a big announcement – confirming that Tata would be the preferred bidder for Ford PAG brands Jaguar and Land Rover – that was never actually made.Let’s deal with the brilliant Nissan first. Steve Sutcliffe flew to the Far East to do the job we all wanted, and form our first driving impressions of what turned out to be a fast, exciting and also brilliantly executed GT-R.“This car has more traction and stability across a wider range of surfaces than any other competitor I can name,” wrote Steve, “plus a level of grip that will make even an experienced driver’s eyes water. It can pull over 1.3g through a dry corner, and nearly 1.0g on a wet one. The steering, too, is deliciously precise, while the huge brakes are similarly mind boggling.”It made the rest of the cars we drove that month seem dreary and insignificant when, in hindsight, they were far from it. Our testers were the first in the Vauxhall Corsa VXR 888 and the supercharged VXR8 – cars with enough power and guts between them to hog the limelight in any other month.Our testers flew to Arizona for our first taste of the crucial Jaguar XF saloon. Steve Cropley drove the supercharged SV8, while Andrew Frankel tested the normally aspirated 4.2, and both came away convinced that they had just driven the best middleweight executive saloon in the class.Our two regular road tests of the month demonstrated the incredible breadth the market for new cars has grown in recent years: they were the VW Polo BlueMotion (which is one of the lowest-CO2-emitting cars you can buy right now) and the Mercedes C63 AMG (which isn’t).The month’s news agenda was dominated by the imminent announcement of Ford’s preferred bidder for Jaguar and Land Rover. Industry watchers became so sure that it would be Indian industrial conglomerate Tata that they wrote thousands of words of newsprint about the tie-up; PAG’s workers union even backed Tata’s bid. When these words were written, however, there had still been no official confirmation from Ford of who would be likely to win ownership of Britain’s biggest premium car-makers.Making headlines elsewhere was VW’s forthcoming Passat-based Coupe (which we took our first furtive look at), the Renault F1 team (which was found guilty of cheating, but not punished), the BMW ‘PAS’ (which we brought you exclusive spy video of), and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage (which had been transformed into the 600bhp V12 Vantage RS).Michael Schumacher got into trouble for speeding to the airport in someone else’s taxi, Alfa Romeo got a new CEO, Land Rover released advance information on its Detroit-bound LRX concept, and road safety campaigner Paul Smith tragically passed away.And then there were our videos. Chris Harris was your guide to our Class of ’07 feature, in which Autocar’s staffers and contributors argued over the best new car of the year, and Land Rover Design Director Gerry McGovern introduced the LRX concept.But finally, who could have imagined (or indeed could forget) what it would be like spending more than £1million in a day on supercars? That’s what The Segrave Club’s managing director Nick Hancock did, along with our own Chris Harris, and you can revisit the episode below.

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