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Car of the Year 2009: No. 9: Nissan GT-R

Paul Dean and Marco R. della Cava

Super Effort
If you stripped all badges from the GT-R, nothing about the car would suggest it was engineered by Nissan, let alone made in Japan—a country that has not produced a supercar since Acura’s fabulous NSX of the 1990s. The GT-R’s twin-turbo V-6 generates more horsepower than the V-12 in the Aston Martin DB9, and the Nissan’s zero-to-60-mph time is better than that of the 599 GTB, Ferrari’s fastest car. But the GT-R has more than just muscle: It is equipped with a dual clutch for instantaneous shifting, and all-wheel drive to reduce the risk of all that torque reversing your direction. Unfortunately, the GT-R is overly endowed with electronic displays, the front is ugly, and the rest of the car will not win beauty pageants, either. The shape, however, is aerodynamic, and that is essential for the car’s performance. —Paul Dean

 

Reaching for the Sky
For what seemed like an eternity, U.S. auto enthusiasts had to make do with copping glances of Nissan’s blisteringly hot Skyline GT-R in buff books. Now the newest generation of the car—known simply as the GT-R—is on our shores. Its 3.8-liter V-6 transfers all 480 hp to the wheels in nanoseconds. In fact, 60 mph arrives in a scant 3.3 seconds. These stats are impressive (as is the sub-$80,000 price), and the car’s handling inspires confidence, but its plastic interior prevents you from enjoying a true supercar experience. A similarly priced stock 911 will not move you as quickly, but you will feel like an adult during the journey. Then again, if you are nostalgic for your teen years, the GT-R is the ride for you. —Marco R. della Cava

SPECIFICATIONS:

Configuration Front-engine, all-wheel-drive coupe
Engine 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-6
Transmission 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual
Power 480 hp at 6,400 rpm
Torque 430 ft lbs at 3,200 rpm
Zero to 60 3.3 seconds
Top Speed 193 mph
Base Price $77,695
Price as Tested $79,785
Robb Report Rating 82
Nissan, www.gtrnissan.com

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