Surprisingly, considering their place as one of the world’s largest automakers, Japan has created very few supercars, at least compared to the rate we see European manufacturers produce them. They have created some of the most iconic high-performance, sports cars though. Here’s a rundown of some of our favourites.
The Honda NSX, marketed in North America as the Acura NSX, is a two-seater, mid-engine sports car that was manufactured between 1990-2005. The look of the vehicle was said to be inspired by an F-16 fighter jet and the company even sought input from late Formula One Champion Ayrton Senna during development. At the time of its release, the NSX featured a revolutionary design and was the world’s first mass-produced car to feature an all-aluminium body, including an all-aluminum 3.0-litre V6 engine. The NSX has remained popular among enthusiast crowds, and last year Honda finally answered their prayers after showing a second generation model at the Detroit Auto Show, for sale in 2016.
Another classic Japanese sports car is the Mazda RX-7 which featured the unusual Wankel rotary engine. This design featured a far higher power to weight ratio than a piston engine, as the same equivalent power output could be created in approximately one-third of the size. Ultimately, it fell out of favour due to it’s poor fuel economy and the RX-7, too, ceased production in the early 2000s. However, there has been talk of a revival of the range, even including the classic rotary engine, after the company showed a concept car at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. The RX-7 is arguably one of the country’s most iconic vehicles, appearing in numerous Hollywood movies, TV shows, and videogames.
Finally, out latest addition is the Nissan GT-R, first unveiled in 2007. The GT-R was originally dubbed the “supercar killer,” due to its comparatively low price compared to other high-performance cars available at the time. However, since then its rarity has meant that it’s ironically become a part of the supercar class itself. The company have sold under 10,000 models since it went into production in 2008. Regardless, the GT-R remains a masterstroke in design sensibilities and may be Nissan’s finest achievement. It’s capable of doing over 193 mph, zero to sixty in under three seconds, and can regularly outperform other vehicles that sell for twice as much.
If buying one of the newer models here is out of your price range, and if seeking out a classic is impractical, don’t worry, you can still benefit from Japan’s legendary record of reliability by purchasing something more practical.