What it is there left to say about the R35 Nissan GT-R? It seems to have been around forever. And yet its introduction in 2008 is no harder to recall than breakfast. That's because its entry into the market left scorch marks. Its predecessors had liberally softened the ground, of course, but still it seemed no-one was quite ready for just how good the car turned out to be. It was the same year Autocar held its annual Britain's Best Driver's Car on a closed road over the Isle of Man. Also in attendance: the second generation Lamborghini Gallardo, the Audi R8, the Lotus Elise SC and the KTM X-Bow. Fine and fast road cars all, but none could hold a candle to the devastatingly drivable GT-R on a coned-off, not-quite-dry B road. It was big and sinewy and sensational.
Since then it has admittedly become long in the tooth. Twelve years is an automotive aeon, and its vanquished rivals have learned much in the meantime. It is a testament to the otherworldly talent of the original car that the GT-R retains so much credibility without any wholesale changes. Naturally it has received incremental improvements, not least in 2017 when the model was last facelifted. But the NISMO, introduced in 2013, was the quantum leap. Nissan revealed it at the Tokyo Show with the fanfare of a Nurburgring production car lap record. It bristled with aero and burbled to the tune of 600hp. Its engineers talked about extravagantly detailed tweaks. And GT3-grade turbos.
Now the NISMO is back for 2020. In fact it's been back for a while - the model was launched at the New York Auto Show last year - but the car has taken its time getting to the UK. Now it's finally here, boasting another round of far-reaching improvements and another meticulous uptick in performance. We've already written about the car, but given the possibility that the GT-R might not be given such a significant tickle ever again, we couldn't resist the opportunity to have a longer, slightly misty-eyed look before giving it back. Because when it's gone, they simply won't make them like this anymore.