Do you remember your first true love?
It seems like yesterday. That creamy white complexion…beautifully sculpted body…the tension in the air on our first date…
That was when I drove her out of the repo garage in Joburg’s city centre. Not a virgin by any means – she was about to turn the clock. But I had saved her from an ignominious auction and was in love with every square centimetre from her long nose to the burn marks on her faux suede seats.
The Datsun 280ZX was ahead of her time. Not quite a classic sportscar like the E-type Jag, but enough of a looker to make a struggling SABC sports presenter extremely proud. Street cred as a youngster in the eighties was a relatively humble affair.
The car, or supercar, that is turning heads right now, is a long lost cousin of a vehicle that was around back in those dark ages. The Skyline.
Enter the Nissan GT-R – a fusion of the very latest Japanese technology that has been called a bargain Bugatti Veyron at less than a tenth of the price tag.
And it has just made its debut into the South African market with a whine rather than a roar. That’s the sound that emerges from those giant tailpipes below the characteristic round brake lights. And if it’s engine noise that impresses you on the William Nicol, then this is one of the few downfalls of the latest GT-R.
Because it has left manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini whining very loudly. They can’t believe that this four-seater twin-turbo 3.8 litre V-6 can scream around the world’s most testing racetracks faster than any other production car.
The road to the Magaliesberg is probably more of a test for the GT-R’s all-wheel drive transmission, racecar assembled suspension and massive “Brembo” brakes. I’ve never met Brembo or Rambo but they bring more than one-and-a-half tons (including two hefty passengers)of personally crafted steel, aluminium and carbon fibre to a seatbelt bracing halt.
But given a touch of right pedal which can take you to a 100 in 3,5 seconds, the ultra rigid suspension was leaving us airborne on some slight bumps and rises! That’s when the “Comfort” setting comes in handy. In fact make that essential with the state of our roads right now.
Some petrol heads are whining that there is no manual transmission option on the GT-R. Surely it was time to move on…even Jenson Button couldn’t outshift this dual clutch transmission with three modes of meshing those six gears.
Some say driving the GT-R is almost like playing a video game. And there is more than a grain of truth in that. The guys who created the original Gran Turismo were tasked with creating the Multi-Function Display System which has 11 screens offering more information than the latest Airbus….from G-forces to Gear Efficiency. And for Stone.Age.Com just as confusing as PlayStation 3.
So, with the recession starting to withdraw it’s tenacious claws (we live in hope), you can get into the game for less than R1,2m. After all, BBC Top Gear say that this car has no competitors. Not at any price.
And, if you’re not affronted by the angular and aggressive American styling. I have to agree.