For performance fanatics yearning for an automobile worthy of the moniker "fast," the 1990s began to show hope. The golden era of muscle cars had passed, and a new generation of high-performance mainstream automobiles had arrived, redefining how much fun it can be to drive a sports car. Although actions were taken in the United States, Japan was where true breakthroughs were taking place, and some of the coolest affordable sports cars in history were being developed under the Gentlemen's Agreement. There are several contenders to dust off some historic power when it comes to the fastest Japanese automobiles.

These sports cars are fairly inexpensive, and their clean appearance and aerodynamic design compensate for their lack of muscular chassis. Countless Japanese automobiles have achieved success in Motorsports in the '90s, and tuners have turned them into hulking beasts. While both muscle vehicles and sports cars produce thrilling performance, they might go along separate paths to the same goal. The phrase "sports car" refers to any nimble two-door car that values performance over everything else. Whereas, a classic muscle car is a large American V8 coupe that prioritizes acceleration over control. Here are ten incredible '90s JDM cars that can easily outrun their legendary muscle-car adversaries.

10 1991 Acura NSX

1991 Acura NSX
Honda

The Honda NSX is another car that has boosted the Japanese market. Honda created NSX to show companies like Ferrari that they could have supercar acceleration and good looks at a reduced cost and with real reliability. The NSX is one of the most important Japanese automobiles ever produced.

Alex Zanardi 1991 NSX Pop Up Headlights
via Bring A Trailer

Thanks to different weight-reduction measures, the Honda NSX boasted a 270-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine. That could speed up from 0 to 60 mph in around 5.7 seconds and achieve a high speed of 170 mph, easily smoking any historical muscle car.

Related: This Is How Much A 1991 Acura NSX Costs Today

9 Toyota Supra MKIV

1997-Toyota-Supra
source: wsupercars

On the tuner scene, the Supra is one of the most recognizable cars. The Toyota Supra's fourth generation was all about racing. The twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter 2JZ engine produced 276 hp out of the box but had an overwhelming desire for modification.

1997-Toyota-Supra
source: wsupercars

It was where this car really established its reputation. In a straight line, the Supra was one of the most powerful cars ever produced in Japan. With a top speed of 156 mph, the car went from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.

Related: How Much 'Fast And Furious' Influenced Supra And Skyline Sales

8 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4

Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4
Via MecumAuctions

The Mitsubishi 3000GT was never as popular as its high-end Japanese sport coupe rivals, the Toyota Supra and Acura NSX. It's a shame, because the car is fantastic, especially in VR4 trim.

The top-of-the-line VR4 version boasted a 3 liter twin-turbo V6 with 280 horsepower.

Mitsubishi-3000GT-VR-4-1
Via MecumAuctions

It ripped through the quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds and 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds. It was an all-wheel-drive vehicle with four-wheel steering and an electronically controlled adaptive suspension system. Its tremendous acceleration has the ability to demolish any muscle in its path.

Related: 10 Greatest Mitsubishi Sports Cars Ever Made, Ranked

7 Subaru Impreza 22B

Subaru Impreza 22B STi
Via Bring A Trailer

The 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STI is one of the compact car's most remarkable and legendary models. Only 400 units of the wide-body coupe were manufactured in a short period of time to commemorate Subaru's 40th anniversary.

1995_WRC_ColinMcRae_RallyGB-from-Ferdi_2880x1200 Via-Subaru
Via: Subaru

The EJ22G, a stroked-out version of the EJ20K STI engine with factory forged pistons, was a unique engine for the 22B. The Subaru was a genuine Japanese racing legend, with up to 276 horsepower and an aggressive stance, capable of a 0-to-60 mph time of under 5.3 seconds.

6 Nissan 300ZX

Front 3/4 view of a red 300ZX
Nissan

The Nissan 300ZX entered a new era in the 1990s, as did many other Japanese sports cars. The 'Z32' 300ZX was larger and more powerful, with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine producing 300 horsepower and 283 pound-feet of torque. In 5.2 seconds, it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph.

Rear 3/4 view of a 300ZX on the move
Nissan

The 300ZX can exceed 170 mph when unrestricted. More significantly, the Z32 is a highly sought-after model among the automotive fanatic community. With admirers working tirelessly to keep these models surviving.

5 Mazda RX-7 FD

1994 Mazda RX-7 FD 5-Speed Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

Mazda introduced the RX-7 fourth-generation RX-7 in 1991. And is a well-known automobile, because of its portrayal in The Fast and the Furious series. The RX-7 is known for its innovative twin turbochargers and lightweight design.

1994 Mazda RX-7 FD Japanese Classic Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

It was the world's first mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharger engine. A rotary engine powered the RX-7. Making the car speed up from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.3 seconds and achieving a maximum speed of 155 miles per hour without breaching the factory restriction.

Related: Here's The Best '90s JDM Classic: 300ZX Vs Supra Vs RX-7​​​​

4 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI

David's Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV Sports Sedan
Via: Mathew Bedworth Flickr

The 1990s must have been pretty nice for rally fans, because not only did the Impreza's manufacturing run begin, but it also saw the arrival of what would soon become its arch-rival. We can't talk about the WRX STI without mentioning the Lancer Evolution.

David's Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV Sport Compact
Via Mathew Bedworth Flickr

It was also the first Lancer to break Subaru's winning streak in the WRX. With 276 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, the renowned 4G63T engine has a more traditional inline-four architecture. However, it still manages a 4.7-second 0-60 mph time.

Related: Lancer EVO VI TME Sells For World Record Price At Mitsubishi Auction

3 Nissan Silvia/240SX

1991 Nissan 240SX Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

You've probably heard of the Nissan Silvia or, as it's known, in North America, the 240SX if you're familiar with drifting or have watched any of the Fast and Furious films. The Nissan Silvia is one of the most inexpensive Japanese vehicles, but because of its excellent design and agility, it has become a cult classic.

1991 Nissan 240SX Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

The SR20DET 4-cylinder turbo engine with 247 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque was installed in this sports coupe. It takes 5.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, and 13.9 seconds to complete a quarter-mile run.

2 Honda S2000

1999 Honda S2000
Via-Honda Media

The F20C engine, based on F1 racing, became the highest-powered, naturally aspirated production engine ever at the time. At the time, the S2000 had the highest specific output of any four-cylinder production automobile, with 239 horsepower and 153 pound-feet.

1999-Honda-S2000
Honda

The S2000 can dash to 60 mph in just over 5.5 seconds and complete the quarter-mile in 13.9 seconds. It's a pure performance automobile that makes those who think convertibles are for wankers chuckle.

Related: Why Honda's S2000 Is One Of The Greatest Sports Cars Ever Made

1 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34

Purple 1999 Skyline GT-R R34
Via: Bring A Trailer

The Nissan Skyline GT-R has become a legendary sports vehicle. Being dubbed as "the sole authentic Japanese contribution in the line of supercars" by Top Gear and "one of the best cars in the world" by Jeremy Clarkson. The R34 GT-R shares a base with the R32 GT-R, dubbed the "Godzilla" because of its domination in competition earlier in the day.

Nissan GT-R R34
Via Right Hand Drive Vehicles For Sale

The engine has 327 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque. This is enough to propel the R32 Skyline GT-R from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds flat and to a quarter-mile time of 12.9 seconds.

Here's What Makes The Nissan Skyline GT-R Such A Powerful Production Car
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