10 Most Affordable Japanese Sports Cars With More Than 250 Horsepower - SUV VEHICLE

10 Most Affordable Japanese Sports Cars With More Than 250 Horsepower

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Everyone wants to own a sports car, but more often than not, that remains a pipedream. With new cars costing an absurd amount of money, and reliability being an often overlooked trait, owning a sports car tends to cost more than meets the eye. And that’s exactly why most people tend to seek a new sports car with a valid warranty. That said, there’s another way of getting your hands on an affordable, reliable sports car, that’s much more cost-effective.




Japanese auto manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, Lexus, and Nissan make some of the most reliable cars ever made thanks to meticulous engineering. Better yet, these car brands make sports cars too, that inherit the reliability trait from their more mainstream siblings. In other words, not only do reliable sports cars exist, but you can choose from a wide array of affordable sports cars made by Japanese carmakers.

Here are some of the best value-for-money used Japanese sports cars the market has on offer that make more than 250 horsepower, based on average used prices sourced from Kelley Blue Book (KBB). And before you ask, no, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is not on this list.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various official manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, Consumer Reports, RepairPal, and the EPA. These entries are ranked in ascending order based on their average used market value.


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10 2005 Infiniti G35 Coupe

Average Used Price: $5,632

Silver 2003 Infiniti G35
Bring a Trailer

Underneath its skin, the Infiniti G35 is merely a Nissan 350Z. The only difference is a slightly more upscale interior, a more sedated design, and a cheaper price tag. Infiniti offers the G35 either as a sedan or coupe, but for this list, only the latter is important.

Performance Specifications

Engine

Naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6

Transmission

6-speed manual/5-speed automatic

Horsepower

280 – 298 hp

Torque

260 – 270 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

6.0 seconds (Car and Driver)

Top Speed

158 mph


(Specs sourced from Infiniti)

Underneath the hood of the G35 Coupe sits one of the best naturally aspirated engines, the VQ35DE V-6. G35 Coupes fitted with a 6-speed stick shift have 298 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque on tap, whereas the automatic G35 only gets 280 horsepower, but 10 pound-feet of extra torque.

Pros

  • Limited-slip differential
  • Near 50/50 weight distribution
  • Aftermarket support

Cons

  • Many listings don’t have a service history
  • EPA-rated 17 MPG fuel consumption rating for city driving

9 1992 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo (Z32)

Average Used Price: $5,847

1992 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo
Bring a Trailer

The first Nissan Z sports car, the Fairlady Z, debuted in 1969. More than two decades later, Nissan unveiled a new Z, called the 300ZX. Although the base model 300ZX was an adequate performance car, the 300ZX Twin Turbo took things up a notch with its twin-turbocharged V-6.


Performance Specifications

Engine

Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6

Transmission

5-speed manual

Horsepower

300 hp

Torque

283 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

5.0 seconds (Car and Driver)

Top Speed

155 mph

(Specs sourced from Nissan)

For less than $6,000, the 300ZX seems like a terrific used car buy, especially considering its 300-horsepower engine. For the most part, it is, but there are a handful of things to look out for like fuel injectors failing. That said, the 300ZX can still accomplish a quarter-mile time of less than 14 seconds, making the deal even sweeter,


Pros

  • Removable T-top roof
  • Four-wheel steering
  • Adaptive dampers

Cons

  • EPA-rated 16 MPG fuel consumption rating for city driving
  • Turbochargers tend to fail past 100,000 miles

8 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT

Average Used Price: $6,460

2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT
Mitsubishi

The fourth-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse GT is arguably one of the most forgotten-about Japanese sports cars ever made. While many remember the second and third-generation Eclipse thanks to its silver screen role in the Fast & Furious saga, its successor never received the same fame.


Performance Specifications

Engine

Naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V-6

Transmission

6-speed manual

Horsepower

265 hp

Torque

262 lb-ft

Driveline

FWD

0-60 MPH

5.8 seconds (MotorTrend)

Top Speed

N/A

(Specs sourced from Mitsubishi)

And while the base model Eclipses were rather underpowered with four-cylinder engines, Mitsubishi gave the Eclipse GT a big 3.8-liter V-6. Although it increased the car’s curb weight, 265 horsepower was enough to rocket the front-wheel-drive sports car to 60 mph in fewer than 6 seconds. And because of its lack of popularity, Eclipse GTs go for pennies on the dime.

Pros

  • Unique Styling
  • Last two-door Mitsubishi sports car

Cons

  • 3,479-pound curb weight
  • EPA-rated 16 MPG fuel consumption rating for city driving


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7 1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4

Average Used Price: $7,647

Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4
Mecum

The Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 is a hidden gem from the 1990s, and was far ahead of its time from a performance and engineering perspective. Sporting design elements from a classic Acura NSX supercar, the 3000GT VR-4 was a marvel to look at, but thanks to its twin-turbo V-6 and all-wheel-drive system, it was a proper performance car too.

Performance Specifications

Engine

Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6

Transmission

6-speed manual

Horsepower

320 hp

Torque

315 lb-ft

Driveline

AWD

0-60 MPH

5.1 seconds (MotorTrend)

Top Speed

160 mph


(Specs sourced from Edmunds)

On paper, the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 and Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo share a lot of common denominators, such as a twin-turbo V-6, a 0 to 60 mph time of around five seconds, and a timeless interior. On top of all that, many still consider the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 a bargain sports car.

Pros

  • Four-wheel steering
  • Variable exhaust
  • Active aerodynamics

Cons

  • Expensive to maintain
  • Transmission issues

6 2005 Lexus SC 430

Average Used Price: $11,064

2002 Lexus SC 430
Lexus

Over the years, only a handful of V-8 Lexus sports cars came to fruition, with the Lexus LC 500 being the most recent. But one of the most forgotten-about Lexus sports cars is the SC 430. The SC 430 is a convertible sports car with a retractable hardtop roof, a luscious leather-draped interior, and a 3UZ-FE V-8 underneath its hood, making it a great daily driver sports car.


Performance Specifications

Engine

Naturally aspirated 4.3-liter V-8

Transmission

5-speed automatic

Horsepower

300 hp

Torque

325 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

5.9 seconds

Top Speed

155 mph

(Specs sourced from Lexus)

With 300 horsepower on tap and 325 pound-feet of torque, many expected the SC 430 would be a lethal sports car, but that was far from the truth. In reality, the SC 430 reaches 60 mph from a standstill in just under six seconds. While it remains somewhat respectable, the Lexus SC 430’s ultimate downfall was its 3,840-pound curb weight.


Pros

  • 10-way electronically adjustable heated front seats with memory function
  • Mark Levinson audio system
  • Stunning leather and wood cabin space

Cons

  • Lack of manual transmission
  • Minuscule rear seats
  • EPA-rated 16 MPG fuel consumption rating for city driving

5 2008 Nissan 350Z

Average Used Price: $12,094

Red 2007 Nissan 350Z
Nissan

For years on end, the Nissan 350Z was known as the best first sports car for everyone. But due to word of mouth, and an increase in sales to irresponsible drivers, finding a well-maintained 350Z has become more challenging than ever before. Regardless, the Nissan 350Z still remains one of the best sports cars for first-time buyers.


Performance Specifications

Engine

Naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6

Transmission

6-speed manual

Horsepower

306 hp

Torque

268 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

5.4 seconds (Car and Driver)

Top Speed

155 mph

(Specs sourced from Nissan)

KBB reckons you’ll have to fork over more than $10,000 to buy the average 350Z. Yet, it remains a tempting purchase, considering the 350Z accomplished its goal of being an affordable sports car that proves you can have reliability and performance.

Pros

  • Plenty of aftermarket upgrades
  • Most models came standard with Brembo brakes
  • Limited-slip differential


Cons

  • More expensive than its Infiniti G35 twin
  • Interior quality

Related
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4 2014 Nissan 370Z

Average Used Price: $17,990

2013 Nissan 370Z
NIssan

As its name suggests, the Nissan 370Z is the 350Z’s successor, and its 3.5-liter V-6 was replaced with a 3.7-liter V-6 with 332 horsepower. But at its core, the 370Z retains the same objective its predecessor had; being a rear-wheel-drive, naturally aspirated, manual sports car with more than 300 horsepower at its disposal.

Performance Specifications

Engine

naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6

Transmission

6-speed manual

Horsepower

332 hp

Torque

270 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

5.1 seconds

Top Speed

155 mph


(Specs sourced from Nissan)

The 370Z received a facelift in 2013, which resulted in a slightly more modern-looking design with new front and rear bumpers, as well as some different materials chosen throughout the car. At its core, the 370Z and 350Z remain largely the same, until the arrival of the latest Nissan Z.

Pros

  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • Automatic rev-matching
  • Higher quality interior than 350Z

Cons

  • Clutch may need replacing
  • EPA-rated 18 MPG fuel consumption rating for city driving

3 2017 Infiniti Q60 3.0

Average Used Price: $20,719

2017 Infiniti Q60
Infiniti

When looking at the Infiniti Q60, the first aspect that catches your attention is its concept car-like design. But there’s much more to the Q60 3.0 than makes it remarkable. For example, underneath the hood sits a VR30DDTT engine, which is from the same family as the VR35DETT – the engine found in the Nissan GT-R.


Performance Specifications

Engine

Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6

Transmission

7-speed automatic

Horsepower

300 hp

Torque

295 lb-ft

Driveline

AWD

0-60 MPH

5.0 seconds

Top Speed

155 mph

(Specs sourced from Infiniti)

Unfortunately, the Q60 3.0t isn’t as rapid as a GT-R, but rather focuses more on comfort. Therefore, its cabin space is filled with leather, and a long list of standard features, like keyless entry, a panoramic moonroof, a premium sound system, and a rearview camera.


Pros

  • Depreciation from its $46,300 MSRP when new
  • Viable rear seats
  • Superbly crafted interior

Cons

  • 3,934-pound curb weight
  • Slower than competitors

2 2015 Lexus RC 350

Average Used Price: $20,814

Lexus RC 200t F Sport
Lexus

The Lexus RC is the Japanese carmaker’s answer to the BMW 4 Series. Eventually, the Japanese automaker went as far as to make the V-8-powered Lexis RC F, which takes on the likes of the M4. Just before entering RC F territory, you find the Lexus RX 350, a stylish rear-wheel-drive sports car that has the reliability of a Toyota.


Performance Specifications

Engine

Naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6

Transmission

8-speed automatic

Horsepower

306 hp

Torque

277 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

5.9 seconds (Edmunds)

Top Speed

155 mph

(Specs sourced from Lexus)

Despite the RC 350’s V-6 emitting more than 300 horsepower, it’s only enough to get it to 60 mph from a standstill after nearly 6 seconds elapsed. That said, the Lexus RC compensates through that with a long list of standard features, especially the F Sport model.

Pros

  • Well-built interior
  • Mark Levinson premium sound system
  • F Sport model gets heated and ventilated electronically adjustable seats with a memory function

Cons

  • Lack of safety features
  • Complicated touchpad

Related
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1 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0

Average Used Price: $39,309

2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0
Toyota

Many consider the latest Toyota GR Supra to be the greatest sports car on sale at the moment. Indirectly, this takes a lot of attention away from the more budget-conscious 2.0-liter Supra. Despite having a smaller engine, the Supra 2.0 still achieves adequate performance figures, and comes with just enough features.

Performance Specifications

Engine

Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four

Transmission

8-speed automatic

Horsepower

255 hp

Torque

295 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

5.0 seconds

Top Speed

155 mph


(Specs sourced from Toyota

Some features like a rearview camera and cruise control are standard, but power-adjustable seats are not, and a handful of safety features. And although the Supra is just a BMW in disguise, it still deserves a spot on this list of used Japanese sports cars.

Pros

  • Cheaper and lighter than 3.0 Supra
  • Nearly as quick as the 3.0 Supra
  • EPA-rated combined fuel consumption rating of 28 MPG

Cons

  • Lack of adaptive dampers and limited-slip differential
  • Manual-adjusting seats

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