If you’re compiling a list of some of the best sports cars ever — but don’t have any Japanese entries on that list — then any knowledgeable person will be left scratching their head.
The reason, of course, is that there have been many scorching-hot models over the years and decades that have originated from the Land of the Rising Sun. Consider, for instance, the 90s. During this period, Japanese sports cars seemed to take the market by storm. And while they are not dominating the market in the way they did during the 1990s through to the early 2000s, they are still a major force to be reckoned with whether in showrooms or on racetracks.
With that said, here’s a look at the top 5 Japanese sports cars that have ever rolled off of an assembly line. You can be sure that this list is subjective since beauty is, as the old saying goes, in the eye of the beholder – but it’s hard to deny that they are worthy of consideration.
5. Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of those entries that ought not be left off of any best-ever list when it comes to Japanese sports cars. In fact, it belongs on any list of best-ever sports cars — Japanese or otherwise. Period. Owners rave over the two-seater. They say that it’s light and nimble, looks sleek — and, unlike some popular sports cars, it’s also very reliable.
4. Subaru Impreza 22B
One online source referred to the Subaru Impreza 22B as “an insane monster.” It was meant as a compliment — a glowing one, at that. Its 300-horsepower engine with 290 lb-ft of torque translates to a speedy ride. It can also go from zero to 60 mph in south of 5 seconds.
3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Also referred to as “Evo,” the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a sports sedan build on the automotive bones of the Lancer. Mitsubishi started manufacturing the sports car in 1992, and it closed the chapter on the popular model in 2016.
2. Acura NSX
The Acura NSX is yet another popular Japanese sports car. It first hit North American showrooms in the 1990 model year, and the brand is still going strong. The 2019 model features a twin-turbocharged DOHC V6, 500 hp, 406 lb-ft of torque and an approximate top speed of 191 mph.
1. Mazda RX-7 (FD)
The rotary-powered sports car is one of the best to have been made in the 1990s. Owners and fans agree that it was one fine-looking vehicle, and this was mostly because it was highly customizable. The rotary turbo is probably the feature that defines the sports car. While the RX-7 was manufactured from 1978 to 2002, the FD variation was first rolled out in 1991.
So, there you have it. While there are definitely other notable Japanese sports cars out there, these 5 provide an indication of which ones truly captured the hearts of sports car enthusiasts.