Japanese sports cars He was always tempted to rewrite the rulebook. Instead of building some big V8-powered sports cars, the Japanese built a beautiful, efficient coupe that could keep up with V8s, all at a lower cost to buy and maintain. The car in question – Nissan 240Z.
Another example of the Japanese building better cars than anyone else and changing this part is the Honda NSX, which not only beat the equivalent Ferrari in driving experience but was generally mistaken for a brute-horse product. While most sports cars in Japan fall within the normal range of GTs and coupes, some have influenced the Kei car community and shown other Japanese manufacturers that compact, economy cars don’t need to be slow and boring.
So, while the rest of the world has been busy building big, heavy, powerful sports cars using trucks that are loaded with fuel and take up a lot of space, Japan has achieved the same results with cars that are smaller, lighter and incomparably more reliable. With that, here are ten JDMThe sports car that changed its class forever.
10 Nissan 240Z
The Nissan 240Z was launched before the energy crisis broke out in the United States, which led to its immense popularity and success. Here was a small six-cylinder coupe with enough space for two people and their luggage, able to keep up with the muscle cars of the time, all while being economical and making a rather pleasant sound.
The 240Z was the beginning of the Nissan Z cars and is now an icon in the auto industry. Z cars are among the best Japanese sports cars and thanks to the new Z, they will remain a feature in the auto industry for some time to come.
9 Honda NSX
The original Honda NSX showed the world that high-speed mid-engine sports cars don’t necessarily need to have a wild horse or raging bull up front — or cost a fortune to buy and maintain. When the NSX debuted in 1990, it was a great example of Japanese craftsmanship and design – a car that changed its class.
The NSX initially featured a non-V-TEC V6 engine, producing just 270 hp – later upgraded to 290 hp. Thanks to the NSX’s exceptional driving dynamics and relatively light weight, it puts it on par with the Ferrari equivalent in the experience department. Even today, the older NSX is still a great way to get around a track.
8 Toyota 2000GT
The The Toyota 2000GT was the auto giant’s first proper launch in building a world-class sports car. It was built and designed so exceptionally well that in the end it was only one back-to-back James Bond tour in the movie, You only live twice – Albeit a modified version to look like a roadster.
The 2000GT features a 2.0-liter inline-6 engine that produces just 148 horsepower in its production form. Fortunately, the car weighs just under 2,500 pounds, so it performed relatively well at the time of production. The 2000GT was the start of Toyota’s sports car, which eventually led to the Supra we have today.
7 Autozam AZ-1
The Autozam AZ-1 isn’t as well known as the Chevrolet Camaro or the Ford Mustang, but it’s still an important car. The AZ-1 was produced by Mazda and also refurbished as the Suzuki Cara. The AZ-1 was part of the Japanese automobile industry known as Kei cars – vehicles that needed to follow strict restrictions on length, width, height, power, and engine size.
The AZ-1 got a sporty version called Mazdaspeed, which added several mechanical improvements such as a limited-slip differential, a noisier exhaust, lighter wheels, better suspension and a new aerodynamic body kit. Show domestic Japanese manufacturers that slow cars do not need to be boring.
6 Mazda Cosmo
The Mazda Cosmo was a pretty standard sports car in the 1960s. It had a nice interior, a larger trunk, and a nice exterior. However, under the skin there was a new propulsion method in the form of a Wankel rotor motor.
The Cosmo was one of the first production cars to feature a rotary engine, and the small displacement gave Japanese buyers a financial edge in the country’s road tax laws — all without sacrificing performance. The Cosmo produced about 110 hp and cost less to purchase than the Toyota 2000 GT.
5 Mazda RX-7
The Mazda RX-7 continued the trend set by Cosmo and introduced the third generation, twin-turbochargers to the rotary engine world. The RX-7’s small, twin-turbo 1.3-liter engine still scrapped expensive road tax laws but produced a healthy 250 horsepower. The engine was later updated to produce the same 276 horsepower as all other Japanese sports cars as per the convention man.
The RX-7 was the most interesting variant from the likes of Toyota Supra, Mitsubishi 3000GT and Nissan Skyline GT-R. Since its introduction, the car has gained popularity not only in the street racing community but also with enthusiasts The Fast and the Furious Franchise business.
4 Nissan Skyline GT-R
The generations of the Nissan Skyline GT-R R32, R33, and R34 were more or less the same, mechanically, and did what very few other sports cars in the class did – powering all four wheels. GT-R’s RB26DETT Straight-6 is a great piece of engineering that’s nearly as coveted as the Toyota 2JZ-GTE and boasts just as much silly aftermarket capabilities.
The Skyline GT-R is no more, but its place is the GT-R – a more focused version of the famous sports car, now more than a supercar. The Skyline is and will forever be one of the greatest Japanese sports cars, which even European manufacturers began to follow with their all-wheel drive systems.
3 Toyota Supra
The Toyota Supra shares a lot of spotlight on the Nissan Skyline GT-R and Mazda RX-7, not only because it was the top three-selling sports car in Japan, but simply because it appeared in the same movie franchise. The Supra is arguably the most popular of the three and has bigger enthusiasts, like the Ford Mustang in the US on the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger.
The Supra is just a great car with an almost bulletproof engine that can withstand a huge number of modifications thanks to the meticulous design and engineering that went into it. The modified Supra in particular showed the world that sports car engines are reliable and won’t necessarily pull a bar when boosting.
2 Lexus LFA
While the Lexus LFA didn’t necessarily change the clip, it should be mentioned because of its extreme attention to detail. Regular automakers build their different models and share many parts across sectors because it’s a cost-cutting strategy. Lexus on the other hand, Designed LFA from the ground upAnd do not share any parts with other Lexus models.
The engine is undoubtedly the car’s highlight, singing to passengers at low revs and screaming its metaphorical lungs near the red line. Not only is the engine a piece of automotive art, but the rest of the car should also be displayed in the Guggenheim Museum. The only slight negative point is the automatic manual gearbox, but it still has an audible mechanical “click” when a new gear is engaged. The LFA is definitely among the five best cars ever built.
1 Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5 is one of the important sports cars. Not only did it save the compact car from extinction, it also redefined the sports car segment. The original MX-5 was a relatively small two-seat roadster with a modest front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and a manual gearbox in the middle. The result was one of the most enjoyable experiences anyone can have in a car.
Now, four generations later, the MX-5 is still following that trend. Granted, it has more modern technologies like satellite navigation, anti-lock brakes, and traction control — but none of the modern stuff interferes with the driving experience. The MX-5 still maintains its roots and carries a piece of classic car alive in the rapidly changing automotive world, making it one of the hottest cars on the market and certainly one of the cars that changed the segment forever. It might be the last TRUE Leave the sports car.
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