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Japanese Performance Cars Are Back

Concepts / 163 Comments

We're talking both mainstream and halo cars.

The BMW M4-fighting Lexus RC F is perhaps the first mainstream Japanese-built high-performance car in years that actually has balls. It's important to note the word "mainstream." The Nissan GT-R and Lexus LFA both cost over six figures, after all. That's way out of reach for many. It's also been several years since the Acura NSX and the Toyota Supra were dropped without replacements. Basically, major Japanese brands stuck closely to a very conservative philosophy of building reliable, but unexciting cars.

That worked for a while, but these same Japanese brands realized that if they wanted to compete against the Germans, then performance cars in general needed to make a comeback. Halo cars weren't enough. The Lexus LFA was an excellent start, and fortunately Lexus isn't stopping there. Along with the aforementioned RC F, Lexus has confirmed that a production version of its LF-LC concept will launch in 2017 as a direct competitor to the likes of the Mercedes SL. Even Infiniti is planning a large four-door coupe for 2017-18 that'll fight the Porsche Panamera. And, of course, there's the Q50 Eau Rouge that'll be powered by the GT-R's twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6. That's your M5 fighter.

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Toyota specifically wanted to work with BMW in a joint effort to develop a new sports car. That's the new Supra (and BMW Z4). The second-generation Scion FR-S is also in the development stages. Altogether, Japanese brands are making significant investments in performance and driving fun once again. Performance sells. And we couldn't be happier.