AUTOMOBILE Magazine named on Nov. 11 the Nissan GT-R as the 2009 Automobile of the Year. The magazine also named the Audi A5 Design of the Year, Honda president and CEO Takeo Fukui Man of the Year, and Direct Fuel Injection Technology of the Year.
The winners will be featured in the January 2009 issue.
2009 Automobile of the Year: Nissan GT-R
The Nissan GT-R is the first Japanese supercar to seriously threaten the opposition, many of whom the GT-R bested on Germany's renowned Nurburgring. Editors noted that while the Nissan GT-R rides like a subway car, sounds like an appliance and weighs a ton, it still deserved to be named Automobile of the Year for delivering high-intensity fun and astonishing performance.
In awarding the GT-R its ultimate prize, AUTOMOBILE Magazine editors cited the car's "neck-snapping acceleration," "super-accurate steering" and "incredible value" by supercar standards.
Previous versions of the GT-R have never been exported to the United States.
Design of the Year: Audi A5
The Audi A5 is notable for its restraint, elegance, and perfect execution on the interior and not just the exterior, according to editors. Initially, the editors were skeptical of the design, but after seeing the A5 on the road, the magazine's editors could fully appreciate the quality of the A5's total design.
Man of the Year: Takeo Fukui - President, Honda Motor Company
In a year when the U.S. auto market has been challenged by fuel prices and the financial meltdown, Honda stands as an exception. With Takeo Fukui, Honda maintained a diverse model mix, especially in the small-car arena, and successfully positioned itself for the current marketplace. Fukui focused on engineering excellence and following an independent course.
Editors noted that Fukui is looking ahead to future technologies and leading the company outside of the mainstream. Under Fukui, Honda looked outside of its home market of Japan to develop a well-regarded diesel engine in Europe and is the only automaker to have put fuel cell cars into the hands of paying customers.
Technology of the Year: Direct Fuel Injection
Direct injection—squirting pressurized fuel straight into each cylinder—has finally come to the fore. Sending gasoline or diesel fuel directly into an engine's combustion chambers improves power and mileage while minimizing emissions. The technology is the key to keeping internal-combustion engines relevant in the future, even extending the lives of engines at least another decade or two. Direct fuel injection enables a major step forward in gas and diesel engine power, efficiency, and cleanliness.