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24 Japanese Sedans That’ll Keep Up With Sports Cars

뷰어스 조회수  

Japanese car manufacturers are known for their reliable and somewhat dull cars. However, automakers from the land of the rising sun have also produced some desirable performance cars.

We’re not just talking about sports car legends such as the Nissan Skyline, Acura NSX, and Mazda RX-7 either. Some exciting Japanese sedans have emerged over the years, and certain models can easily keep up with proper sports cars.

Add to that that most Japanese performance cars are highly tunable, and you can find yourself behind the wheel of a rocket without spending German sports sedan money.

Let’s look at 24 Japanese sedans that’ll keep up with sports cars.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Makinen Edition
Image Credit: Adrian Kot/Flickr.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo came straight from the rally stages. Some would say the best of them all is the Mk6.5 Tommi Mäkinen Edition, built to celebrate the Finn’s WRC victory.

Powered by highly tunable turbocharged 2.0-liter engines that send power to all four wheels, every generation of the Lancer Evo is very desirable. Ten generations were produced when production ended, with several special editions thrown in the mix.

Subaru WRX STI

Subaru WRX STI
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Subaru WRX STI is another rally-bred legend, and for many years, it was the Lancer Evo’s fiercest competition. These days, it’s not a rally car anymore, but it’s still a great performance sedan for road use.

Old models used a turbocharged 2.0-liter boxer engine, but a 2.5-liter unit has now replaced that. In true rally car fashion, power is sent to all four wheels, giving it lightning-quick acceleration.

Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport
Image Credit: Nissan.

The Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 is sold as a Nissan Skyline in its native Japan, and that name certainly carries some street cred. The Red Sport 400 offers plenty of performance, nicely wrapped in style and luxury.

Under the hood is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that sends 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. AWD is available as an optional extra.

Lexus IS-F

Lexus IS-F
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Lexus IS-F is a great sleeper car, as it looks unassuming but is more than capable of holding its own against a sports car.

Lexus’ sports sedan packs a powerful V8 punch under its hood. With 416 horsepower and 371 lb-ft of torque, all of which is sent to the rear wheels, it’ll go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds.

R34 Nissan Skyline 25GT-X

R34 Nissan Skyline 25GT-X
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Nissan Skyline GT-R is one of the most famous models to emerge from the land of the rising sun. However, the coupe has some lesser-known 4-door siblings. One of those is the R34 25GT-X.

The 25GT-X used the turbocharged R25 engine, which produced 276 horsepower and 268 lb-ft. Seeing as the R34 GT-R is ludicrously expensive these days, its sedan sibling could be a valid option instead.

Mitsubishi Galant VR-4

Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Mitsubishi introduced the Galant VR-4 as a range-topping version of the sixth to eighth generation. Initially introduced as a Group A WRC rally car, the Lancer Evo eventually replaced it.

The ’96-2000 AWD VR-4 sedan had a 2.5-liter V6 engine that produced 276 horsepower. It would go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, and the top speed was electronically limited to 150 mph. Not bad for a large sedan from the mid-90s.

Acura TLX Type S

Acura TLX Type S
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Acura TLX returned in 2021 after being gone for over a decade. The Type S is built to compete with sports sedans such as the Audi S4 and BMW M340i, and while it’s often overlooked, it’s right up there with the competition.

Acura’s TLX Type S has a 355-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. Thanks to its SH-AWD system, it can send power to both axles. Zero to 60 mph is dealt with in 4.9 seconds, and the top speed is limited to 155 mph.

Nissan Maxima SR

Nissan Maxima SR
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The eight-generation Nissan Maxima is only available with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that pumps out 300 horses. The CVT transmission isn’t particularly sporty, but it gets the job done if you want to cruise rather than race.

The Maxima SR doesn’t just offer affordable performance and luxury; it’s also cheap to maintain. RepairPal claims average yearly maintenance costs should be below $500.

Toyota JZX100 Chaser

Toyota JZX100 Chaser
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Toyota built the sixth generation Chaser between 1996 and 2001. It was available in Avante and Tourer trim, and the latter one is the sportiest.

While the Chaser was available with the legendary 2JZ engine, it wasn’t the turbocharged version. We’d opt for the 2.5-liter 1JZ-GTE instead. True to the Japanese manufacturers’ gentleman’s agreement, it produces 276 turbocharged horses. More can easily be teased out with some aftermarket performance parts and tuning.

Lexus GS F

Lexus GS F
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Lexus pulled out all the stops for its last-gen GS, making it a proper sports sedan, especially in the GS F trim. It received a whopping 5.0-liter high-revving V8 under the hood, so it should easily keep up with the European competition.

The naturally aspirated engine sends 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and manages a top speed of 168 mph.

2nd-Gen Lexus GS 400

2nd-Gen Lexus GS 400
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The GS F wasn’t the first time Lexus built a proper GS-based sports sedan. Back in 1997, the second-generation GS300 had a 3.0-liter straight-six with 225 horsepower. However, that wasn’t enough for the American market, so the V8-powered GS400 ruled the roost there.

The Lexus GS400 had a 4.0-liter 1UZ-FE V8 that sent 300 horses and 310 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via its five-speed automatic transmission. It even had buttons on the steering wheel for “manual” gearshifts.

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Honda built the first Civic Type R in 1997, based on the sixth-generation hatchback. There’s been a Type R version of every Civic since then, and although they’re all faster and more capable, enthusiasts still prefer the original hatch over the modern sedans.

The later CTRs have moved away from the naturally aspirated engine and now sport a turbocharged beast with more than 300 horsepower.

Infiniti G35

Infiniti G35
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Infiniti G35 was built on the same platform as Nissan’s 350Z sports car, known as the FM platform. FM stands for “front midship,” so the G35 delivers impeccable handling.

Under the hood, it had the same VQ35 engine as the 350Z, delivering 260 horsepower in the Infiniti sedan. The G35 really is a sports sedan in every sense of the word.

Mazda3

Mazda3
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Mazda3 first saw the light of day 20 years ago, and this unassuming little car is more fun to drive than some models with triple its price tag. Unfortunately, the MazdaSpeed3 was only available in hatchback form.

The third and fourth-generation sedans have turbocharged 2.5-liter engines producing 184 horsepower. Seeing as Mazda tries to inject some of its Jinba Ittai ethos into all its models, the Mazda3 is tons of fun to drive.

Lexus LS 460

Lexus LS 460
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The fourth-generation Lexus LS was a beast in its 460 form. It featured a whole host of tech wizardry, including a production vehicle’s first 8-speed automatic transmission.

As its name suggests, the LS 460 had a 4.6-liter V8, producing a rather ridiculous 380 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque. All this power meant it would go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Not bad for a large flagship sedan.

Toyota Camry TRD

Toyota Camry TRD
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Most people think of a boring everyday car when the Camry is mentioned. The Camry has been around since the early 1980s and is one of the brand’s best-selling models. It’s never been mentioned in the same breath as the more exciting sedans on the market, but that changed with the introduction of the TRD version.

The Camry TRD has a naturally aspirated V6 that produces just over 300 horsepower. It’s now a fun everyday sedan that can mix it up with the sporty Europeans.

MazdaSpeed 6

2006 MazdaSpeed6
Image Credit: Mazda.

Car enthusiasts loved the Mazda 6 when it debuted in the early 2000s. It offered almost everything you could ask for. It was stylish, practical, and comfortable – not to mention affordable. It wasn’t particularly fast, though.

Mazda paid attention to their customers’ wants and introduced the MazdaSpeed 6. This enhanced performance model still looked like a Mazda 6, but it had received upgrades in all the right areas to make it more entertaining to drive. The most important upgrade was found under the hood, where a turbocharged 2.3-liter with 274 horsepower was now found.

Infiniti M45

Infiniti M45
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Infiniti’s first M45 attempt could have been better, as it failed to deliver the luxury and sportiness people have come to expect from Nissan’s luxury brand. It was discontinued after just two years on the market. However, they more than made up for their previous mistake with the 2006 M45.

The new version offered luxury and style, and it was fun to drive while remaining comfortable. The M45 was powered by a 4.5-liter V8 that sent 335 horses and 340 lb-ft to the rear wheels.

Infiniti M56S

Infiniti M56S
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Infiniti M56S was destined to become the carmaker’s flagship model. This was arguably the first time they managed to build a car that was able to compete with the Germans on every level.

Under the M56S’ hood, there was a 5.6-liter V8 that produced 420 horsepower. Zero to 60 mph was done and dusted in just 4.7 seconds, and it had a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph. With the Sport package, the car delivered a firm yet comfortable ride, and all of a sudden, Infiniti was a force to be reckoned with.

FA5 Honda Civic Mugen Si

FA5 Honda Civic Mugen Si
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Every JDM enthusiast loves a Mugen-enhanced Honda, and the Civic Mugen Si sedan is no different. Here, we find a bunch of tasty upgrades, such as forged alloy wheels and a more muscular appearance.

The most important part is the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter that produces close to 200 horsepower and an amazing four-cylinder soundtrack. The Civic Mugen Si is among the more affordable cars on this list, and being a Honda, it shouldn’t cost a fortune to own and maintain either.

Toyota Avalon TRD

Toyota Avalon TRD
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Avalon debuted in 1994 and is now Toyota’s flagship sedan. In true Toyota fashion, it’s mostly known for being reliable and practical, but the TRD version adds a bit of spice to the formula.

The Avalon TRD has a sportier suspension setup for improved handling, and it’s powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces just over 300 horsepower. Zero to 60 mph takes around 6 seconds, which isn’t lightning quick, but seeing as this is a large sedan, that’s more than acceptable.

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B
Image Credit: tomyparkk/Flickr.

The Subaru Legacy has been around for a long time, and it just keeps getting better. This midsize sedan comes with AWD as standard, making it a favorite among those living in colder climates.

For the sixth generation, the top trim version comes with a 3.6-liter, six-cylinder boxer engine that produces 256 horsepower. Unfortunately, it’s not available with a manual transmission.

Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V

Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

We’ll be the first ones to admit that the sixth-generation Sentra SE-R Spec V doesn’t have the most exciting styling. However, it’s what is underneath its somewhat bland exterior that counts.

Both the SE-R base model and SE-R Spec V come with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine. In the SE-R, it delivers 177 horsepower and 172 lb-ft, while the Spec V has 200 horses and 180 lb-ft of torque. The base SE-R was only available with Nissan’s Sport-tuned Xtronic CVT transmission, but the Spec V has a 6-speed manual and optional limited-slip diff.

Lexus IS300

Lexus IS300
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The first generation of the Lexus IS was sold as a Toyota Altezza in Japan, where it was crowned “Car of the Year” in 1998-99. It was Toyota/Lexus’ entry in the highly competitive compact luxury sports sedan segment.

The IS300 was powered by a naturally aspirated 2JZ 3.0-liter inline-six engine. With its 217 horsepower, the IS300 could go head-to-head with BMW’s E46 330i, which produced 225 horsepower.

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