If you’d asked me a week ago what my car of the decade was, I probably wouldn’t have picked the GT-R, because until a week ago I hadn’t driven one. Which is one of those peculiar anomalies that life conjures up, because I was one of the first people outside Nissan to see the GT-R before its launch. It took me over two years from the first sight of the extraordinary Nissan to actually slotting one into drive and easing it out of the car park.
It was worth the wait and has, like my first Ferrari, somewhat recalibrated my opinions about what makes a car truly great. And in the case of the Nissan, it’s everything.
When the Nissan blokes pulled the cover off the GT-R, on a shimmery, clear summer day in Japan two years ago I wanted to ring people and tell them about how utterly mad, utterly unlike anything else this thing looked. It still does – totally Japanese, like a spaceship.
It goes like a spaceship, too. And sounds like one. Boot it up a hill in third and you feel like a golfball that’s just been punted into the distance by a nine-iron. It is savagely, hilariously fast, like being inside an X-Wing, a feeling made all the more striking by the accelerative whine from the turbos which sounds just like an X-wing.
And the absolutely, positively best bit about this is that it only costs £58,100. It is, after you’ve experienced all of the above, really the price that makes the GT-R quite so special. For that money nothing can touch the GT-R’s rocket ship explosion, the kind of cannon-ball blast that makes passengers breathe quickly and shallowly, and still go round wet roundabouts flat without killing you.
So it’s my car of the decade because it redefines the idea of a supercar; it doesn’t have to be massively expensive (okay, I can’t afford a new one either, but it’s a lot less than a 911 Turbo and considerably more exclusive) to offer ballistic performance in a full-size bodyshell that makes people stare and small boys point. I know a Corvette has similar performance for similar money but really, it’s not the same sort of thing; a Corvette doesn’t have a carbonfibre propshaft, does it?
You could say I’m being all keen because I’ve only just driven it and the enthusiasm will wear off, but it won’t because the Nissan is truly a great car and will always remain a great car.