• Nov 18, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the Nissan GT-R

Do you sense a pattern here? Not only has the Nissan GT-R won just about every comparison test on the planet, but it's also racked up a Popular Science Best of What's New award, Car of the Year honors from Automobile Magazine, and now the GT-R can add Motor Trend's CotY trophy to its mantle, as well. Calling it simply "Ichiban", the MT team praised Nissan's supercar-for-the-people as a standout in a pretty deep pool of contenders. While practically none of its CotY competitors even comes close to matching the GT-R's performance, several that are almost as good in their own right made the finals. Good as they are, the Honda Fit, Hyundai Genesis, BMW 1 series, Jaguar XF, Acura TL and TSX, Audi A4, Mazda6 and Volkswagen Passat CC just couldn't match the dominance of Gozilla. It would have been more difficult for MT to justify picking something other than the GT-R for this honor, and we can't think of any reason to disagree with their choice. Full press release after the jump.


[Source: Motor Trend]

PRESS RELEASE

MOTOR TREND NAMES NISSAN GT-R 2009 CAR OF THE YEAR™

- High-tech sports car takes trophy in one of toughest-ever "Car of the Year" fields; The GT-R puts the "Super in Superiority"-

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 18, 2008) -- Motor Trend (www.motortrend.com), the leading automotive authority and part of Source Interlink Media, LLC, a subsidiary of media and marketing services company Source Interlink Companies, Inc (NASDAQ: SORC), announced today the selection of the Nissan GT-R as the 2009 Motor Trend Car of the Year™. The complete report on Motor Trend's 2009 Car of the Year will be published in the magazine's January issue, available on newsstands December 2, 2008.

"No Nissan has been as formidable or as capable as the GT-R, and no 2009 contender crushes our criteria like the GT-R. For that, it deserves our Golden Calipers," said Angus MacKenzie, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend. "The Nissan GT-R rewrites the rule-book for high-performance vehicles. This technologically advanced coupe delivers a level of performance, handling, and efficiency that rivals the world's best-known supercars, at a fraction of the price."

MacKenzie continued, "Exhilarating to drive, the GT-R sets benchmarks every automaker in the world will be studying. For a company, like Nissan, this car is an extraordinary achievement."

The 2009 GT-R is the sixth generation of Nissan's flagship sports car. It is the first to come from a "clean slate" design -- all the others were based on Japanese-market Skyline models -- and the first to be globally marketed. A single technician in a climate controlled clean-room environment hand assembles the all-new VR38DETT 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 as well as the GR6 six-speed twin-clutch transmission.

Other innovations include what Nissan calls the GT-R's "Independent Transaxle 4WD." In other words, the GT-R is the world's first production car to feature a rear-mounted transaxle and two independent propeller shafts, allowing each axle to control tire grip without manipulation of the other.

Nissan engineers paid careful attention to reducing friction losses in the GT-R, which means the car makes the most efficient use of its power, despite its all-wheel drive power train. As a result, the GT-R delivers 16mpg in the city and 21mpg on the highway, impressive for a car capable of a "cornea-melting" 0-60mph run of 3.3 seconds, and a top speed of over 190mph.

The 2009 Field of Contenders
Motor Trend editors faced the daunting challenge of choosing one winner from one of the toughest Car of the Year fields in the history of the award. Even as the economy spirals down, editors noted that the auto industry has rolled out a number of significant vehicles.

"This was a year that saw record gas prices, a meltdown on Wall Street, and it is a tough time for automakers around the world," said MacKenzie. "The irony is 2008 was a vintage year for cool, interesting, and compelling cars. Of the 17 all-new or significantly upgraded vehicles eligible for the 2009 Car of the Year award, a bunch were real show-stoppers. Hero cars included the Jaguar XF, Dodge Challenger, and the GT-R. BMW's tight 1-Series, Pontiac's suave G8, and Audi's coolly restrained A4, plus Honda's cheeky Fit, Hyundai's impressive Genesis sedan, and Lincoln's glitzy MKS, were all hugely significant contenders for widely differing reasons. Style setters included the Volkswagen Passat CC, the Mazda6, and the Nissan Maxima."

To be eligible for Car of the Year, a vehicle must be totally new or redesigned, and released in the 12 months prior to January 1, 2009. Besides the Nissan GT-R, this year's field of contenders for Car of the Year included:

Acura TL
Acura TSX
Audi A4
BMW 135i
Dodge Challenger R/T
Honda Fit

Hyundai Genesis
Jaguar XF
Lincoln MKS
Mazda6
Nissan Maxima
Pontiac G8

Pontiac Vibe
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Matrix
Volkswagen Passat CC


First Time Car Honors
With the GT-R, Nissan captures the golden calipers for the first time in the Car of the Year category. Previously, Nissan has taken Motor Trend Import of the Year™, and Sport/Utility of the Year™ honors.

"The GT-R proves Nissan can build highly desirable, enthusiast automobiles," said MacKenzie. "It is already respected world-wide, and it earned this honor."

MacKenzie added, "Tested and developed in the U.S., Germany and China, the GT-R exhibits a uniquely Japanese approach to high performance motoring, from the aggressive styling that clearly draws on contemporary Japanese art forms such as 'Manga', to the on-board vehicle information graphics developed in conjunction with Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the Gran Turismo games."

About the Testing and Evaluation Process
Each year since 1949, the editorial staff of MOTOR TREND has evaluated eligible vehicles based on three key criteria: Superiority, Significance, and Value. Superiority refers to innovation in engineering, technology, design, utilization of resources, safety, and packaging. Significance

levels the playing field and looks for class-leading levels of vehicle dynamics and performance, build quality and execution, and how well the vehicle performs its intended function. Finally, the all-important Value question asks, "What does this vehicle deliver in relation to what the consumer has to pay to purchase and own it?" and "What do buyers get for their money versus the competition?"

The complete report on the MOTOR TREND 2009 Car of the Year testing and selection is available online now at www.motortrend.com, and will be published in the January issue of MOTOR TREND, available on newsstands December 2, 2008.



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  • 55 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      If Nissan ever consider to make a TV commercial for the U.S GT-R, now it's the freakin' time to do it!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes it's a great car, but why should such a low volume specialty car be eligible for this award? I think the GT-R should be ineligible.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They're bringing 2400 cars to North America this year and expect to settle on 1500 cars annually. I fail to see how this is relevant to 99.9% of Motor Trend's readers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think it should be eligible, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a 'supercar-for-the-people' as autoblog did, since only very few people could get one.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't get me wrong, the GT-R is extremely relevant in supercar circles. It has forced everyone else to ratchet up their game and has created a new standard for which others should be judged.

        But the competition for COTY was against mere mortals, cars that real people have access to and buy. I think the Hyundai Genesis would have been a better choice for the award. It's not a more exciting car than the GT-R, that's for sure, but it is far more relevant to the public.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Look not at the car itself, but what it did for the supercar industry as a whole.

        Whether you love it or hate it, it really shook things up.
        And favorite car regardless, I think us car lovers will be better off because of its existence for years to come.

        That in-and-of-itself makes it award-worthy, IMO.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @jason,

        I guess there are 2 ways of looking at it.

        For companies, the GT-R is a big shift. Causes them to re-think a few projects.

        But you're absolutely right that for the greatest number of individuals, its very small shift.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ BigMcLargeHuge

        I don't disagree with your thoughts on propping up Nissan, but that's not what MT COTY competition is about. It's about the most ground-breaking new car. And while I think the GT-R is a revolutionary car, my take is that it is produced in such low numbers that it has very little impact on the public beyond a niche market.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A great car, but one not very relevant to the driving public. How much did Nissan pay MT? They are a bunch of prostitutes there.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well deserved, Nissan.

      Sadly, Car & Beemer...i mean Driver will probably award their award to a...BMW?
        • 6 Years Ago
        If the X6 wins I'll LMAO.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Congrats to Nissan - the car is indeed pretty cool, especially given the price. I have to agree with foserial though on the warranty issues... Haven't they learned from Toyota's historical launch of the Lexus brand that it's better to take care of their customers?

      Anyways.. is it Gozilla or Godzilla?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the GT-R deserves COTY. That being said I think the Genesis has a greater impact on the industry as a whole.

      The GT-R only rewrites the rules for a few cars most people will never own or care about. I don't think many look at the GT-R and think, "Wow, Nissan has arrived!" I do not think the GT-R is going to draw many sales away from its competitors either. I do think the GT-R will impact future Nissan models with its AWD system and slick transmission. It is however the coolest more desirable car released this year. Its has a truly unique style that looks absolutely awesome in person. I was not impressed with its style from the early pics of the car in silver but when I saw it in red and white and later a white one in person my opinion quickly changed.

      The Genesis on the other hand has a greater impact on the competition and Hyundai as a whole. This is a mainstream luxury car. No its not a BMW, MB, or Lexus but its close enough that people not obsessed with the badge on the hood will give it a try. This car can and will take a few sales away from them. Its a car capable of changing peoples opinion about the company itself. Someone gives one of these a shot, likes it and suddenly the next vehicle the family buys is a Sonata instead of a Camry. Or the kid gets an Elantra instead of a Civic. In my opinion Hyundai over the past decade has surpassed Detroit in terms of product. The only domestic cars I can think of that Hyundai doesnt clearly beat with their offerings are the CTS and Malibu. They have taken the Toyota model and executed it to the T and have fully arrived in the American car market.

      Either of these cars is a great choice for the award with the GT-R having the edge a pure coolness and want factor.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agree......Hyundai is leaping and bounding.....l
        have been ooking at Genesis...........can't afford
        a GT-R and probably don't have the skills to drive it properly anyway....too much power.
        Lot of great cars to select these days..too bad "American" brands are in the minority
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thanks for the spoiler alert you bastards! I might as well just throw away my issue of MT when I get it now.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you're serious, then apologies all around, but haven't you heard that print is dead? ;) MT has this on their website already with galleries and in-depth reviews of every finalist. Just check out the link.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Question:
      In the future, can posts like this have a large SPOILER ALERT at the top so it is not given away in the first 3 seconds. Some people like to actually wait until they get their magazine to create some suspense.
      • 6 Years Ago
      crap. now they can brag.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would disagree. The car itself is more braggable than a pile of awards.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Its not called 'Hotrod Magazine' for a reason.

      Regardless of what you think of this particular car, you might be shocked to discover that 'foreign' car companies outnumber the domestics, and their products can be quite good.

      Not surprizingly, the majority of cars tested, regardless of the final rating, will be foreign. Its then logical to assume that a domestic cannot always win at being the most radical new car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        reply @ Moonrover
      • 6 Years Ago
      Phooey!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The GT-R is certainly a pretty good car, but the second I turn the traction control off or use launch control it'll break and then my warranty will be void. I'm not sure if it truly deserves any car of the year awards, seeing how owners can not use the car to its full potential without a real possibility of opening up their wallets to fix it, that is if they can afford to.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ BigMcLargeHuge:

        Thanks for that link. It sure is refreshing to hear from an actual R35 owner who's beating the living snot out of his tranny with no problems, rather than listening to all these trolls talk sh*t about the car when in reality, they haven't a clue.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, that is the nature of arguing in general... but still, out of thousands of GT-Rs sold worldwide, there are a few cases of reported transmission failure (as far as I know, none occurring during normal operation) but there are several cases of GT-Rs tuned & stock going strong after power upgrades, heavier wheels & tires and repeated LC use, so it's not just a single data point as you put it. It's just refreshing to see a pretty comprehensive report from an actual owner rather than listening to trolls who don't know much about the car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The number of cars with transmission issues so far is relatively small. All you need is one person making a loud noise to get noticed, while 1000 quiet ones will never get noticed.

        Abuse is abuse, built into the car or not. If you abuse a car, then it is not covered by warranty. Try 40 clutch dumps in any car, and get a dealer to replace whatever you mange to break.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Testament to the strength of the Borg-Warner tranny.

        http://www.nagtroc.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=26268&hl=myth

        This guy is pushing well over 600whp and 700wtq and he can't manage to break it.

        You'd have to be a real douchebag driver to accomplish this in only a few thousand miles. Repeat launches while hot is the likely culprit.

        The car is of average supercar quality and strength. No more, no less.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why is it so much easier to accept a single naked data point that agrees with your point of view over one that disagrees with it?
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