The GT-R, indeed, has the stats to back up its win, with a base price significantly below the vehicles with which it competes (and in many cases, beats). The heart of the GT-R is its twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6, which is hand-assembled in a clean, climate-controlled environment. Transmitting the power to all four wheels is a rear-mounted, six-speed dual-clutch automated manual, the latest and greatest in high-performance transmission technology.
The GT-R is reportedly capable of a 0-60 mph run in a swift 3.3 seconds, and climbs to a top speed of over 190 mph. Its 480 hp and 430 pound-feet of twist ensure fleet performance, and a relatively small displacement allows still-sane mpg ratings of 16/21 mpg by the EPA's yardstick. To be sure, the GT-R is no lightweight, ringing in at over 3,800 pounds, according to Wikipedia. If weight is the enemy of performance according to Colin Chapman, then the GT-R could stand to go on a diet. With competitors like Chevy's Corvette Z06 tipping the scales at a comparatively svelte 3,180 pounds (courtesy of an all-aluminum chassis), one has to wonder if the laundry list of technology and hardware in the GT-R ends up being worth its weight. For track day glory, no doubt, the GT-R claws its way to supremacy. But what kind of beast would it be to live with day-to-day?
Motor Trend continues to use whimsical language in describing some of the remaining competitors ("hero cars," they claim) for COTY: BMW 1 Series ("tight"), Pontiac G8 ("suave"), Audi A4 ("coolly restrained"), Honda Fit ("cheeky"), and Lincoln MKS ("glitzy"). As long as the machinery really is deserving, we'll go along with the high-octane epithets. For sure, there are some remarkably deserving automobiles on the market for 2009, no doubt driven in part by a challenging market and rapidly changing consumer tastes.--Colin Mathews