10 of the Fastest Japanese Cars in America

The passion for speed and performance cars is universal, but the passion holds a particular prominence in Japan. Over the years, legendary track-burning cars have come from shops bearing the names of Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Honda. Even Subaru, a brand that goes out of its way to emphasize its family-first vehicles, has delivered a road scorcher or two only worthy of the fast lane.

Things came full circle in September 2013 when a Nismo notched the record time for volume production cars at Nurburgring. It didn’t surprise many that the automobile was a product of the Land of the Rising Sun. In fact, many of the fastest affordable cars in the world are Japanese. Where they lack muscular stances, they compensate for with sleekness and spectacular aerodynamics.

In this list, rounded up the cars that have been record-setting or in the running for most powerful car produced in Japan. For the sake of encouraging variety, we did not include former generations of the same vehicle — for example, the earlier Nissan R34 GT-R, since it evolved into the GT-R we know today. This way, the list is not dominated by one or two brands but instead showcases some of the fastest vehicles from all of the Japanese manufacturers; further, modified cars were left out, so each of the following was available from the factory. Here are ten Japanese cars that have been in the race for fastest ever.


10. Mazda RX-7 FD (252 hp)

The third generation of the Mazda RX-7 “FD” took the U.S. by storm in 1993. It was Motor Trend’s Import Car of the Year, and Playboy also named it the year’s best, declaring it better than the new Viper. Critics and fans were so impressed by the charge out of the twin turbo engine that could produce 252 hp on in its initial showing. By the time the RX-7 FD ended its production run, Mazda was delivering a model capable of 276 hp for American audiences. Its most powerful model could burn at top speeds over 155 mph and go from 0-60 in 5.3 seconds.