New York, New York – The Nissan Leaf has been named the 2011 World Car of the Year, with the Chevrolet Volt taking World Green Car, the Ferrari 458 Italia named World Performance Car, and the Aston Martin Rapide chosen for World Car Design of the Year. The announcements were made at the New York International Auto Show.

Now in their seventh year, the awards are presented by an international jury panel of 66 automotive journalists from 24 countries. To be eligible, a vehicle must be available for sale on at least two continents between January 1, 2010 and May 30, 2011.

The Leaf was chosen from an initial entry list of 39 new vehicles from around the world, then from a short list of ten and then three finalists. It won over the Audi A8 and BMW 5 Series. The jurors described it as “the gateway to a brave new electric world from Nissan. This five-seater, five-door hatchback is the world’s first purpose-built, mass-produced electric car. Dropped onto a unique platform and body, the Leaf’s lithium-ion battery modules and electric motor generate 108 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque, propelling the hatch from zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h). It has a range of over 100 miles (160 km) on a full charge, claims Nissan, takes around eight hours to recharge using 220-240V power supply and produces zero tailpipe emissions. Its low centre of gravity produced sharp turn-in with almost no body roll and no understeer. The good news? It feels just like a normal car, only quieter.”

The Chevrolet Volt won the World Green Car award over finalists BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Edition and the Nissan Leaf.

The Ferrari 458 Italia won World Performance Car over finalists Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and Porsche 911 Turbo. Aston Martin Rapide took World Car Design as one of 51 candidates voted upon by a panel of world design experts, who then established a shortlist for the jurors.

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