The 10 Greatest Engines Ever Built by Japanese Car Manufacturers


During the late 1960s and 1970s, Japanese automakers began giving companies in the United States and Europe a run for their money. The 1973 oil embargo brought about change in an unprecedented way. Instead of buying gas-guzzling, expensive and large cars, the market has turned to smaller, more efficient vehicles. Japanese automotive engineers have fulfilled this role with their ingenuity. This era of Japanese vehicles may not be as iconic as the 90s and early 2000s cars we all know and love today, but they laid the groundwork for the car’s engineering prowess. modern Japanese.

Japanese automakers have been the cornerstone of automotive culture. They have provided the world with efficient and reliable engines while other companies could not say the same for their vehicles. From their humble beginnings as small 100cc cars to the power beasts we see today did not come out of nowhere. During the 1990s, Japan entered into what was called the “Gentleman’s Agreement”. This allowed them to export only cars of 276 horsepower and less. The deal pushed car makers to make engines that were not only reliable, but could also be easily improved over their European and domestic counterparts.

The “gentleman’s agreement” ended in 2005, but the sheer genius of these engineers of the time still lives on in the way JDM cars are manufactured to this day. In this list, we’ll take a look at the top 10 engines that Japan has ever produced.

2.0 liter 4G63 inline-4

The 4G63 Inline 4 was used in all Mitshibubisi evolutions until 2006, when the tenth and last generation of the Evo was produced. The engine of the VII was an upgrade of the VI in two distinct ways, the MIVEC system and the turbo. The MIVEC system allowed the engine to control the air intake to allow constant power.


Via Evoque Motors

This engine had an improved turbo over the VI which allowed it to be much faster on the line and give other rally legends a run for their money. The engine had a constant power of around 276 hp according to the gentleman’s agreement.

2.0 liter 3S-GTE

toyota mr2 6


The Toyota MR2 has been a name that car enthusiasts have recognized since the 90s. Its heritage comes from the range of GTE engines they put into cars. The 3S was Toyota’s crack at putting a turbocharged engine to give more power to their cars.

1998 Toyota MR2 in Red

via Japan Bullet

Capable of developing between 200hp and 230hp, this engine quickly became a name for JDM enthusiasts around the world. The engine was fitted with a steel exhaust turbine and was produced from 1986 to 2007.

Honda F20C

The F20C engine in the original S2000

The F20C was unique in that it was installed in the longitudinal car rather than the traditional one. This allowed the Honda S200 to have constant power given to the rear wheels rather than giving front wheel drive or four wheel drive. The engine was a preparers dream as its 247 hp could easily run with a supercharger to put it in the 300-400 hp range.


via pinterest

With the F20C giving constant power to the rear wheels, it has remained a drift legend for years.

SR20DET – Nissan Silvia

Via Pinterest

Originally produced for the Nissan Bluebird, this engine quickly became a standard for sports cars in their lineup, such as the Nissan Silvia of the ’90s. This engine sat longitudinally to give the Silvia a rear wheel drive. What made this engine special compared to its predecessors was that it had dual overhead camshafts, electronic fuel injection and a turbo (hence the DET in the name).

It was used in several cars in the Nissan lineup and consistently developed around 205 horsepower.

4B11T I4-T

The 4B11T

via: Pinterest

The 4B11T replaced the 4G63 engines of the previous 9 generations of Evos. While previous generations peaked at 276 without tuning, this engine regularly received around 290. This engine remained in the Evo X until it ceased production around 2017. This engine was praised for its adjustment capacities and its ability to systematically supply the 4 wheels. with the necessary power.

Mitsubishi Evo X - Quartier Frotn

Via vintage cars

This engine allowed the Evo X to go from 0 to 60 in about 4.6 seconds. Both the car and the engine are still sought after years after the end of production.

6G72T 3.0 liter Turbo

6g72 (pinterest)

via pinterest

The 6G72T 3.0L Turbo was designed for the 3000 GT (or the Dodge Stealth depending on the year). This engine produced almost 200 hp without the turbo, but with a turbo it could produce 320 hp. The 3000GT itself is still sought after to this day as the 6G72T is not only a great engine on its own, but it can also be tuned to handle a lot of horsepower. This particular model came with a biturbo.

Cheap fast cars under 10k Featured Image

via Mitsubishi Motors UK

6G engines are still produced in Mitsubishi cars to this day and are currently in their 5th generation.



via pinterest

The Skyline GT-R is simply magnificent. She became the car of a franchise in Fast and Furious and is loved by car enthusiasts around the world. This is largely due to the engine. The RB26DETT provided consistent power all around and with both turbos. He was reported to develop around 276 horsepower per person due to gentleman’s agreement, but he could actually produce around 280 horsepower. The motor is easy to adjust, allowing it to transform into a powerful JDM machine.

Violet 1999 Skyline GT-R R34

Via: Bring a trailer

This engine was used in 3 separate generations of the Skyline, the R32 GT-R, the R33 GT-R and the R34 GT-R.

2JZ-GTE – Toyota Supra MK IV

Toyota Supra Mk4 engine compartment view


The 2JZ-GE is easily one of the best engines of the Gentleman’s Agreement era. Its inline-6 ​​with two turbos could deliver enormous power without tuning. At the base level, it can produce 280-300 horsepower. Once set, it can handle up to 1000hp.

Toyota Supra MKIV modified

Rhinestone Wheels

The Supra MK IV is loved by car enthusiasts around the world. It wasn’t just a JDM beast on its own, but it could be upgraded to do almost anything you wanted to do with it.

Subaru EJ20

The Subaru EJ20 has become a rally icon over the years. The engine itself has been put to the test on some of the toughest courses ever and it could come back for more. The sheer efficiency of the engine itself has kept many second generation Subarus still on the road today. Many people who have owned a Subaru WRX attest to this. By putting the pistons to the side, Subaru engineers found that it created less vibration, which allowed the engine to run longer without breaking down.

Subaru WRX STI 22B Impreza 1998 WRC Rallye shot

The EJ20 by itself was powerful, but adding a turbo to it like they did in the rally version had it put out 250 hp and beyond.


First Generation Acura NSX DOHC V6 VTEC Engine


The NSX was first released to the market in 1991 and was one of the first Japanese cars designed as a supercar. Its entire chassis was made entirely of aluminum, which allowed the engine itself to shine. V6s typically have a 60 degree piston firing angle, but in the NSX they decided to set the piston angle on the JNC1 to a 90 degree angle. It was to keep a low center of gravity.


via pinterest

The JNC1 has been tweaked and reworked over the years for the NSX, but the value of advancing what a car can do remains.

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