Japan Inc. might have been late to the race when it comes to hybrid vehicles. Still, it leads the world in overwhelming volume and cost efficiency in the world of inexpensive sports cars.
Yeah, Nissan was the first global manufacturer in the world to unleash the mass-produced fully electric Leaf back in 2011. In the decade that followed, EVs entered the market from car manufacturers such as Tesla, Audi, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Jaguar, Porsche, Hyundai, and GM. However, it cost the Japanese nine years to get passionate about EVs from Leaf’s unveiling. We’ve had an EV surge in the last 12 months as the nation unveiled the Honda e, Mazda MX-30, Toyota Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, and the Nissan Ariya SUV’s arrival is planned for early 2021.
Over recent months, though, we have seen an all-new, more sleek, and gutsier Subaru BRZ project and a next-generation Nissan Z Model on the moderately priced sports car front, both scheduled for a late 2021 launch. The Z will be fuelled by a 400hp twin-turbo V6 and arrive in shops with a retail value beginning at about $32,000 with a svelte new body and wide rectangular grille. And that’s just the start.
Toyota, which founded the BRZ with its own GT86 coupe, plans to unleash a new GT86, fuelled by the same 228-hp 2.4-liter boxer engine as the BRZ, a base price of about $29,000 at the end of 2021. We should also hope to see an updated version of the new Supra from Toyota, arriving at about $49,000.
Since 1989, Mazda has been creating the Guinness Book streak MX-5 Miata. At next October’s Tokyo Motor Show, we can hope to see a concept research variant of its 5th generation model emerge. In early 2019, the Hiroshima-based company may have only unveiled a particular 30th-anniversary version. We would still expect to see it fuelled by an electric powertrain carrying more torque than that in the upcoming MX-30 for an all edition. The latest MX-5 starts at about $26,600, but the next edition, thanks to the extra coating of hybrid technology, could cost a little more if it launches in 2023.
Honda has just released the new edition of the Civic Type R, which generates 306hp from its 2.0-litre turbo but will contest the Renault Megan RS to honor the fastest front-wheel-drive automobile on the famous Nurburgring racecourse in Germany. The starting price at approximately $40,000.
The next-generation Subaru WRX STI is another luxury car that we can hope to see next year’s Tokyo Auto Show. It will be driven by a revised version of the 2.4-liter turbo mounted to the Ascent SUV but delivered near 400hp. The fresh, more effective STI could cost $40,000 with the existing model valued at $37,000.
Besides that, the production model of the LC500 Convertible, fuelled by a 471hp 5.0-liter V8 and with a 2+2 configuration, was recently introduced by Lexus. This LC500 bears a price tag of around $100,000 at the high end of Japan’s ‘affordable’ sports cars. Japan also provides top-of-the-line supercars for the record, like the 575hp Nissan GT-R for $113,000 and the 573hp Honda NSX three-electric hybrid supercar beginning at $159,000. One source from Honda tells everyone that we should hope to see a $180,000 NSX Type R in the near term.
Speculations of a new revamped Honda S2000 are also common in Japan. There are plans for a spool valve RX-9 next generation, claimed to be modeled on the RX-Vision motor design currently emerging in the Gran Turismo of Polyphony Digital. So Japan may be biding its time whenever it comes to EVs, but this country has not overlooked the delights of cheap sports cars. From what I’ve seen in Japan now, has a lot coming our way.