The 10 Fastest Japanese Cars Ever Made
- on November 19, 2020
- Categories: Car Feature Articles
In the wake of the Second World War, Japan emerged initially as a flattened ruin. In the subsequent decades, it found the resolve to not only rebuild its society and economy, but to create as a part of that economy one of the world’s premier and most thriving automotive industries. Japanese autos are respected the world over for their reliability, style and utility, but also for their performance prowess.
In today’s article, we’re looking at 10 of the fastest Japanese cars ever made. Let’s start counting down from 10.
- Subaru Impreza 22B STi (252km/h)
0 to 100km/h time: 4.6 seconds
To kick off the list, we have a real acceleration monster, though with a more limited top speed than others in the list. Mind you, these models were made back in the 1990s so they’re still doing very well. The 22B was a top-of-the-line performer powered by a 2.2L EJ22G engine generating some 276hp. It was built on a limited production run back in 1998 and sold out in mere days. This Impreza could handle just about anything nature could throw at it, and was built in Subaru’s finest rallying tradition.
- 2012 Mazda RX-8 Spirit-R (273km/h)
0-100km/h time: 5.7 seconds
This was a limited-edition RX-8 designed to mark the end of a decade-long production run. Besides its awesome speed, it was also made with some nice added luxuries like a premium Bose sound system and piano-black trim. Primarily, however, the Spirit-R was built to reflect Mazda’s racing spirit. It came with an upgraded cold air intake and an upgraded oil-metering pump, as well as an additional Tochigi Fuji torque vectoring limited-slip differential. This machine was built to race.
- 2014 Lexus IS-F (273km/h)
0-100km/h time: 4.6 seconds
I suppose this Lexus and the Mazda RX-8 should be equal 8th in top speed, but this Lexus did feature more powerful acceleration. The first-generation IS-F burst onto the market back in 2008 as a model to compete with the ever-popular BMW M3, as well as the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. It featured a 5.0L V8 DOHC engine generating 417hp and 371lb-ft of torque. What was really unusual was the company’s decision to forego a redesign for the second generation released in the 2014 model year. When British TV show Top Gear tested the IS-F on their track, pitting it especially against the BMW M3, it was unfortunately just edged out by 1.6s. It remains among the fastest Japanese models ever made, however --- but there are many more models still to go.
- 2005 Honda NSX-R GT (280km/h)
0-100km/h time: 4.5 seconds
The NSX has a long production history going back to 1990. The second-generation models were launched in 2016 after a 10-year hiatus following wrapping up of the first generation in 2005. For this generation, the name NSX was given some extra depth --- New Sports Experience. The ultra-exclusive 2005 NSX-R GT --- with only 5 models ever made --- was powered by a mighty 3.2L engine and 6-speed manual transmission. It was a model built for the racetrack, and included carbon fibre components, as well as a class-beating rear scoop and front air dam.
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII FQ-400 (282km/h)
0-100km/h time: 3.5 seconds
The Lancer was Mitsubishi’s iconic speed car and has a long production history. The Evolution line started back in 1992, but this particular variation of the eighth generation was produced between 2003 and 2005. Under its bonnet, you could find a perhaps surprisingly small, yet powerful, 2.0L 4G63 Inline-four turbocharged engine. It generated an impressive 405hp and 355lb-ft of torque, but most impressive was its lightning-fast acceleration from 0 to 100 in just 3.5 seconds. Top Gear gave it a go and discovered that despite being far cheaper, it could easily keep up with the Lamborghini Murcielago --- a testament to fine Japanese engineering.
- 1998 Toyota Supra Turbo (285km/h)
0-100km/h time: 4.6 seconds
If you’re in Japan it’s not impossible to get your hands on one of these, but for those of us in other countries, this fantastic car remains something of a rarity now. It was built with a 3.0L 6-cylinder engine outputting some 320hp. Its distinctive features like the rear spoiler juxtaposed with sporty droop at the front end, the open top, unusual air intakes and more, all helped to give it a kind of cult status back in the 1990s. It was also surprisingly economical, as sports cars go, consuming at a rate of up to 23mpg (10 litres/100km).
- 2004 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 NISMO Z-Tune (307km/h)
0-100km/h time: 3.8 seconds
This is yet another model that was built to mark the end of an era in a well-known line. After 2004, the GT-R was separated from the Skyline range and placed into its own category, which we have since come to love on its own. It carried a 2.8L engine with upgraded turbochargers delivering a top rate of 493hp and 398lb-ft of torque, and an RPM redline as high as 8,000rpm. The limited production run featured cars that were 100 percent made by hand. It was a fitting tribute to a model line that had created so many track-dominating editions in the years it was under production.
- 2018 Acura NSX (307km/h)
0-100km/h time: 3.6 seconds
This Acura NSX is an evolution of the above-mentioned Honda; a supremely fitting successor to its Honda cousin. The new model features a hybrid powertrain, as well as Lamborghini-esque exterior edges and an exceedingly comfortable interior. For the purposes of this list, however, we are more focused on the speed and power of this machine. The 3.5L V6 engine with twin turbochargers is paired up with 3 additional electric motors as part of its hybrid architecture. The result is a combined power of 573hp and 476lb-ft of torque.
- Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition (326km/h)
0-100km/h time: 3.7 seconds
With its awesome 553-hp V10 engine and prestigious history claiming victory of the unforgiving Nürburgring circuit, it’s easy to see why Lexus asked for an additional AU$100,000 on top of the regular LFA price for this special-edition model. With top speeds exceeding 325km/h, and a near-irresistible exterior design, it’s not hard to see why collectors drool at the thought of getting their hands on this piece of Japanese automotive mastery.
- 2013 Nissan GT-R Track Edition (333km/h)
0-100km/h time: 2.7 seconds
There were some reports that this incredible GT-R was able to smash records for the quarter-mile run at just 10.8 seconds, but even if not, the general acceleration is a window into this car’s performance spirit. As the name suggests, this was a track star, armed with a boosted 3.8L twin-turbo V6 VR38DETT engine delivering 601hp. Lots of the inspiration for this one came from the NISMO, including the bumpers, suspension and the all-important forged aluminium alloys with Dunlop tires. The interior featured a red and black colour scheme with high-performance Recaro seats. This was the trackster’s dream!
Conclusion: Built for Speed
Japanese automotive philosophy is all about precision, power and reliability. It’s not enough for a car to just go fast, it also has to go far. That’s what these big names are all about, which is also why the world continues to embrace the brands wholeheartedly year on year.