We recently had the privilege of getting behind the wheel of the awesome Nissan GTR. Aside from its expected pant-changingly rapid acceleration and sci-fi looks, the surprising discovery was that unlike most marques and models with superpower pretensions, this is a car that engenders genuine goodwill from the passing pedestrian and fellow motorist.
When sitting in traffic in central London, its 480hp twin-turbo straining at yet another red light, men, and occasionally women, would unashamedly pull out their camera phones, some even giving an enthusiastic thumbs up instead of a more traditional two-fingered gesture.
Perhaps this bonhomie is down to its cultish status among petrol heads (in Japan its nicknamed Godzilla and its ludicrously function-heavy interior was designed by the people behind the Gran Turismo video game), its racing pedigree (it recorded the then-fastest ever lap around the Nurburring in 2008 - recently equalled by the Corvette ZR1), even its humble price (£55,000) and even more humble origins - this, after all, is a Nissan, they of the 1 litre Micra.
To help further cement this idea that the GTR is for drivers, not wealthy posers, Nissan has just announced details of its 2009 Race Academy, where owners of the GTR and the 370Z are given the chance to tap into the full potential of their acquisitions from professional tutors at a Silverstone training day. Those setting the fastest times then get to compete for the coveted title of Nissan Race Academy Top Gun 2009.
This, after all, is a car for the open road or track, not for trundling down Knightsbridge on a Sunday afternoon. Though we can confirm that that's quite fun too.