With the end of the V8 engine being imminent, we have to appreciate what we have. Sure, obnoxiously powerful muscle cars already receive everyone's admiration. American muscle cars like the Dodge Challenger which houses the insane Hellcat V8 engine or the Ford Mustang GT which utilizes the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine are all admired by enthusiasts, but what about the rest? The lesser-talked-about V8-powered cars.
Related: Why Dodge Was Right To Refuse To Replace 800-Mile Blown-Up Hellcat Engine
Contrary to popular belief, Japan builds some aggressive-sounding, near-bulletproof V8 engines that take form in some rather unique cars. As a rule of thumb, sought-after Japanese cars feature either ridiculously powerful V6 engines or tuner-friendly inline-sixes, as well as the odd-ball turbocharged four-cylinder power units like the K20 that powers the awesome Acura Integra Type S.
So, to highlight these V8-powered Japanese cars you maybe never knew existed, we've compiled this list together. Just before we get started, although most – if not all – of these cars might be slower than exotic supercars, they're far more reliable, and a hell of a lot cheaper too. Let's get straight into it!
HOTCARS VIDEO OF THE DAY
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
10 Lexus LC 500
Not only is the Lexus LC 500 one of the best-looking Japanese cars of all time, but it's also one of the best-sounding cars too. That's mainly due to the sweet naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 found underneath its hood. Despite having 471 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, the LC 500 is far from being the quickest Japanese sports car (0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds) due to its 4,476 lbs curb weight. For a point of reference, the Lexus LC 500 is slower than a Nissan Z with a manual gearbox, and much more expensive.
At its core, the LC 500 is a luxury grand tourer with a dash of sports car infused into its blood. Wrapped in leather, filled to the brim with technology, and featuring a sweet exhaust noise, the LC 500 might just be the best bang-for-your-buck luxury sports car.
9 Lexus LS 400
Lexus, one of the most reliable car brands, gave birth to the Lexus LS 400 back in 1990. Since then, it's gone down in history as being one of the most reliable cars ever made. Consequently, this also lead to the Lexus LS 400 receiving the title of being one of the most underappreciated V8-powered Japanese cars in history too.
Although the 4.0-liter 1UZ-FE V8 found underneath the hood of the classy LS 400 only generates a maximum of 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, it still propelled the affordable Japanese luxury sedan to 60 mph from a stop in just over 8 seconds. Sure, its design might be far from anything exciting, but the LS 400 still remains a cool car that goes head-to-head with its European rivals like the BMW 7-Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class when it comes down to luxury.
8 Lexus IS F
At a time when even BMW played with fire by hoisting one of the most awesome engines to go in a sedan, most carmakers started to push boundaries. After all, this was the golden era for V8-powered sports sedans too. Most people would immediately say either the E92 BMW M3 or W204 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG is their favorite, but there's one sports sedan that's equally impressive, the Lexus IS F.
Often forgotten about, the Lexus IS F inhabited a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine that spewed out 416 hp and 371 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Unfortunately, the IS F never came with a manual transmission, and that's the only reason we can think of why this wasn't such a raging success as the aforementioned Bimmer and Merc.
7 Toyota Land Cruiser
Let's change the tone for a moment and move away from sports cars and sedans to proper offroad-capable SUVs, in particular the J200 Toyota Land Cruiser. Although Land Cruiser comes with a wide range of engine choices such as six-cylinders and even some diesel options, the 5.7-liter gas-fed V8 remains a favorite among fans.
On the surface, the J200 Land Cruiser is a cool SUV, but once adding the 381-hp V8 with 401 lb-ft of torque into consideration as well, things get even better. In other words, the J200 Land Cruiser isn't just a practical family SUV but also a highly sought-after mighty offroader.
6 Lexus RC F
Many of you might think we're mentioning the same car twice but don't fool yourself, the Lexus RC F and IS F are two vastly different cars. Being in production for nearly a decade, the 5.0-liter V8-powered Lexus RC F is a track-focussed luxury sports car. It retains the traditionally comfortable Lexus interior, yet it adopts its stiff ride from the beloved Lexus LFA and shares its engine with the LC 500.
When combined, the RC F makes for a distinguished daily driver that will outrun most on the streets due to its 472 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. If the Lexus RC F's existence still doesn't make sense, here's an analogy: Think of the IS F (now the IS 500 F Sport) as the Japanese-equivalent BMW M3 and the RC F as the Japanese-equivalent BMW M4.
5 Infiniti QX80
Is the Infiniti QX80 ugly, odd-looking, or just a misunderstood piece of art? We don't know. What we do know, however, is that the QX80 features a 5.6-liter V8 engine with 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. And despite its ridiculous 5,915-lb curb weight, the Infinity QX80 does 0-60 mph in just under 6 seconds.
Let's just repeat that for a second. The V8-powered Infiniti QX80 is just as quick from 0-60 mph as a new Mini Cooper S! A QX80 does cost north of $70,000, but still, it remains an unsung surprisingly sporty SUV.
4 Nissan R390
Throughout the '90s, various carmakers attempted to build a literal road-legal race car. Porsche had the Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion, Mercedes-Benz had the CLK GTR, McLaren had the F1, Ferrari had the F50 and Nissan had the R390. While most of these cars utilized a monstrous V12 engine, the R390 housed a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V8.
Related: Ferrari Should Be Nervous About Maserati's Newest Italian Supercar
In total, the road-legal Nissan R390's V8 churned out 550 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, but because it weighed less than 2,500 lbs, it could run from 0 to 60 mph in just over 3 seconds. On top of that, the Nissan R390 had a top speed of 221 mph too... such a shame only one or two road-legal examples exist.
3 Toyota Century
No matter which generation of the Toyota Century you analyze, every single one had a V8 engine tucked underneath the black hood. With the amenities of a Rolls-Royce and the looks of a presidential limo, it's a travesty that more people don't know of the Century's existence. Oh, it came with an optional V12 engine too. But we digress.
The Toyota Century is the perfect example of a JDM car. No, this doesn't mean that its performance figures were on par with that of the Toyota Mk4 Supra or Nissan R34 GT-R, but rather that the Century was purposefully built for the Japanese domestic market. On the bright side, you can import one of these nowadays without spending much more than a Lincoln Towncar would cost you.
Related: This Lincoln Town Car Is Not Your Grandpa's Luxury Sedan
2 Nissan President
Just as Toyota built the Japan-only Century, Nissan had their own version thereof, the President. At first glance, the President looks nowhere near as beautiful or sophisticated as the Century, but as the saying goes, 'it's on the inside that matters'. And as you figured, the Nissan President featured a V8 engine over the course of all four generations spanning from 1965 to 2010.
Although the Nissan President is nowhere near as famous as the Century, we still believe it's worth a shot due to its under-the-radar persona. Surprisingly enough though, the 4.5-liter V8 found in the last-generation Nissan President put out an impressive claimed 276 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque.
1 Toyota Tundra
With the all-new 2024 Toyota Tacoma's picture already leaked, we just had to draw attention back to one of the best V8-powered Japanese pickup trucks in existence, the Tundra. Despite most Tundras having V6 engines, the first and second-generation Toyota Tundra had an optional V8 engine to choose from.
The most powerful V8-powered Tundras featured a 5.7-liter 3UR-FE V8 engine that bumped out an impressive 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Of course, these figures are minuscule in comparison to American-built over-engineered V8 pickups like the RAM TRX, but it still proves Japan knows how to make something equally powerful and reliable.
Sources: LS400 Data, Ultimate Specs, Fastest Laps, Motor1, Car and Driver