This will probably make you realise just how sad and middle-aged I actually am, but I can still remember the first time I drove a Ford Sierra Cosworth like it was yesterday.

I’d just started on What Car? magazine as a junior tea maker cum road tester, and for some inexplicable reason they asked me to go on the comparison shoot in the New Forest.

Which meant I got to spend the day larking about with an E30 M3 and a rear-wheel-drive Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth.

I thought all my Christmases had come at once when, at the end of the day, the bloke in charge of the shoot said it would be fine for me to take the Cossie for the weekend “as long as it appears in the office on Monday morning still in one piece.”

I was less than 20 years old at the time, but I can remember almost every single mile I covered in that Cossie, that particular weekend – because basically I didn’t go to sleep.

Instead, me and some mates did nigh-on 1000 miles in the car, and inevitably I drove it everywhere pretty much as fast as I could. Somehow we didn’t crash or get caught for speeding. And sure enough I took the Cossie back to the office on Monday morning, still in one piece, feeling absolutely knackered but on Cloud 9.

What I remember in particular is just how fast it felt in a straight line, yet it had but a mere 204bhp and must have weighed well over 1300kg with a collection of wide-eyed teenagers on board.

And what I’d love to know most is how a brand new 204bhp Sapphire RS Cosworth might feel today, compared with a modern megasaloon.

Would it still feel like the rocket ship it did in 1988? Would it still take my breath away with its ability to stop for and then go round corners as if on rails? Would its 2.0-litre Cosworth turbo engine still sound all hard-edged and menacing up near the red line?

Or would it just feel like a very old car, from a totally different era, that isn’t actually very fast at all nowadays?

If ever they invent the time machine, this is absolutely one of the first things I’d do with it: go back to 1988, stick that brand new Sapphire Cossie into it, and then press the button marked '2014'.