Yes, we are fully aware of the GT-R's best-known nickname, "Godzilla" -- so called because the automotive press found previous generations as ferocious and all-conquering as Japan's fire-breathing monster. But following a full week of intensive evaluation in Nissan's new sports car, we here at Motor Trend now lay claim to a more suitable GT-R moniker -- Ichiban. From Japanese, ichiban translates to "number one." In Motor Trend vernacular, however, it simply denotes: 2009 Car of the Year.

Every September, it seems a few editors comment, "This is the toughest field I can remember." Sure enough, as this year's testing drew to a close, several staff members expressed those same sentiments.

And for sound reason-the competitive set is more imposing than Jamaica's Olympic track team. From the jumbo-shrimp Honda Fit and the discount-Lexus Hyundai Genesis to the quicker-than-a-Cayman BMW 1 series and the cat's-meow Jaguar XF, this year's pool runs deeper than any of recent memory. Yet, no contender proved as profound, awe-inspiring, or, more important, able to fulfill our criteria as the GT-R. How did Nissan so competently clinch the calipers?

Read on.