The Best Japanese Sports Cars Ever Made

Japan has brought the world some of the best cars on earth. Here are some of the greatest.


Over the years, Japanese manufacturers have graced us with dozens of wonderful driver's cars. Here are a few of the best, according to you.

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Mazda MX-5 Miata

Not only is the MX-5 Miata one of the greatest Japanese cars ever—it's one of the greatest cars ever, period. It's light, simple, reliable, and provides endless smiles behind the wheel.

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R&T Archives
Toyota 2000GT

The 2000GT, released in the mid-1960s, was proof a Japanese manufacturer could design something as beautiful as its European counterparts. One look at it and you'll understand why.

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Lexus LFA

People often say the LFA is the best-soounding car of all time. With a 4.8-liter Yamaha-tuned V10 under the hood, that doesn't come as a surprise. If you're looking for a road car that sounds like it belongs on an F1 track, the LFA is the car for you.

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Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)

Nissan has built a handful of wonderful Skylines over the years, but none greater than the R34. Advanced tech combined with analog driving inputs made for one of the exhilarating driving experiences out there.

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Subaru Impreza 22B

The 22B was the pinnacle of what Subaru was capable of in the 1990s, becoming a rally-legend to fans everywhere. Turbocharged, all-wheel drive, and massively fun, it wrote the book on all-weather performance for years to come.

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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Though it may not have the legendary status of the Impreza, the Mitusbishi Evo is still a brilliant car. Though it may be dead now, it's definitely worth remembering.

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1969 Dodge Charger. Artist Unknown. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Toyota Supra (Mk IV)

The new Supra is coming out soon, but as good as it may be, we're not sure it'll ever live up to the hype of the Mk IV. Thanks to its bulletproof 2JZ motor and its role in The Fast & The Furious movie, it's every tuner's dream ride.

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Honda Beat

Though it may have not been sold new in America, the Honda Beat remains one of the most popular mid-engine Japanese cars out there. It packs a tiny three-cylinder engine behind the driver with individual throttle bodies, capable of revving to nearly 9000 RPM.

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Toyota Corolla (AE86)

The AE86-generation Corolla was made famous by the Initial D anime series, and now sits as one of the most iconic Toyotas ever made.

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Acura NSX

Compared to other sports cars of the time, the NSX was a wonder. It was just as capable, yet more livable, reliable, and useable as a daily-driver. It was lightyears ahead of its time, and nowadays, prices for used examples are on the rise.

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Brian Silvestro
Acura NSX (the New One)

While the new NSX may never reach the same iconic heights as the original, it's still one of the greatest Japanese performance cars out there. How else would it have won our 2017 Performance Car of the Year award?

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Brendan McAleer
Mazda RX-7 (FD)

Though every generation of the RX-7 is good, the FD is truly great. With a sequentially-turbo'd twin-rotor engine that could rev to the moon and some seriously good looks, it's won over the hearts of JDM fans everywhere.

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It's been a while since Honda sold the S2000, but its agility and high-revving engine still make it a great car to buy used. They aren't dirt cheap yet, and probably won't ever be, but if you have $10,000 or so, you can easily find a fairly clean example. Just don't blame us when you end up addicted to revving that engine all the way to redline.
Honda S2000

The S2000 remains one of the very best track cars you can get right now. It's relatively affordable, robust, reliable, and incredibly fun to drive. Plus, there's tons of aftermarket support in case you want to switch things up.

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Toyota Sports 800

The Sports 800 was a cheaper alternative to the 2000GT, with quirky looks and a targa roof. It wasn't as fast, but it was certainly fun to drive.

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Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4

The 3000GT maintains a cult following among its owners. This is especially true with the top-spec all-wheel drive VR-4 variant.

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The Integra Type R is one of the holiest of holy performance front-wheel-drive cars. It made 195-hp from its little four-cylinder engine and the handling was neutral as hell, most unlike a front-wheel-drive car. And it was expensive. We found one recently in good condition for $45,000. With the Civic Type R coming to the U.S. very soon, we're waiting to hear what Acura has to say about that (like build a new Integra Type R).
Nick Berard
Acura Integra Type R

The Integra Type R is arguably the best-handling front-wheel drive car ever produced, with lightning-quick turn-in and a wonderful VTEC engine that could rev all the way to 8000 RPM.

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Datsun 240Z

The Datsun 240Z took the world by storm with its debut in the late 1960s, offering great design and wonderful driving attributes to the masses. The car was a hit, and now occupies a large space in the JDM collector's market.

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Autozam AZ-1

Like the Beat, the AZ-1 Kei car was a Japan market-only affair. But thanks to its mid-engine layout and iconic gullwing doors, it still deserves a place on this list.

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Suzuki Cappuccino

If we're talking about fun Kei cars, we might as well mention the Suzuki Cappuccino. It uses the same engine as the Autozam, except it's mounted in the front, sending power to the rear wheels. It has a three piece top—a back piece that folds in, and two targa roof pieces.

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Toyota MR2

When you think of affordable mid-engine cars, the MR2 is the first thing that comes to mind. No matter which of the three generations you're into, you'll be able to find something in your budget that will put a smile on your face.

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