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Mike Stevens | Apr 11, 2009

While the Fiat 500 has scooped the 2009 World Car Design of the Year award, the giant-killing Nissan GT-R – affectionately known in the past as ‘Godzilla’ – has beaten all-comers to take the crown as 2009 World Performance Car of the Year.

Making it to the top three finalists – whittled from the top ten cars picked from a total list of 23 contenders – the GT-R eventually beat out fellow finalists the Porsche 911 Carrera and Corvette ZR1.

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World Performance Car of the Year forms a part of the overall World Car of the Year awards, created simply because, for some buyers, performance outweighs all else. For these people, fuel economy, design, safety and comfort need not apply.

The criteria for the WPCotY award is simple:

Candidates for the World Performance Car award must demonstrate a specific and overt Sports/Performance orientation. They must also satisfy the same availability criteria as for the overall World Car award and may be chosen from that list of eligible vehicles.

Additional entrants may include newly introduced variants that satisfy the same criteria, but are derived from existing rather than brand-new models. In all cases, they must have a minimum annual production rate of five-hundred (500) vehicles.

Little surprise then that with its combination of price and performance value, the Nissan GT-R brought home the bacon.

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WCOTY's jurors observed that the "Nissan GT-R stole the headlines in the sports car world in 2008.

This GT-R - the R35 - throws even former GT-Rs into the weeds via an all-new 3.6-liter (sic) bi-turbo V-8 (whoops, sic again) providing 480 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque.

The drive of the GT-R, especially on a track, reveals an incredibly flexible all-wheel-drive chassis that lays down the rubber whenever you request it.

Acceleration to 60 mph from a stop takes just 3.5 seconds, or a tick behind fellow Performance finalist the Corvette ZR1.

This is a complete effort put forth by the normally conservative Nissan and the pleasure is in doing laps of a favorite circuit and feeling the sheer capabilities of the car. For $77,000 it may be the world's best enthusiast car."

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Brian Carolin, senior vice president sales and marketing at Nissan North America, said:

"On behalf of the global team of designers, engineers and others behind the development of the Nissan GT-R, Nissan proudly accepts the 2009 World Performance Car of the Year award.

This recognition validates their unique vision in creating a true world supercar that can be enjoyed by anyone, anytime and anywhere. Beyond power, beyond performance, GT-R goes beyond expectations.”

Previous World Performance Car winners were the Audi R8 in 2008, the Audi RS4 in 2007 and the Porsche Cayman S in 2006.

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