Top 10 Japanese engines of all times! Powerful and reliable!

japanese enginesJapanese engines are known to be very reliable, but some of them are also very powerful. That’s why some of them are favorite in the automotive world. These engines are small, lightweight, and produce a great amount of power for their size. Many of the power plants found in the creations of Japanese Auto Markers have gained cult followings of their own. Here’s a list of the best 10 Japanese engines in our opinion. Tell us if you agree with this list or not.

10. Honda B series

These engines pushed Honda ahead of other Japanese auto makers. It first appeared on the market in 1989. Several different engine codes were built including the B16, B17, B18, and B20. The B16 and B18 were and still are the most popular and famous. Honda placed these engines in the Civic and Integra as performance options over the older Honda D series motors. The B series family produced anywhere from 137 horsepower to 200 horsepower.

9. Subaru EJ20

subaru ej20

The Subaru EJ20 was a 2.0 liter boxer motor that featured a single or twin cam setup, It was also offered naturally aspirated or turbocharged.  The king of the two was the EJ20T.  This innovative motor was found in the Legacy, WRX, and WRX STi.  The motor was known for being able to handle almost anything you could throw at it.  It was a contender on the WRC rally circuit as well.  It gave the Mitsubishi 4G63 powered Lancer Evolutions a run for their money.  The EJ20 was also the basis for the larger EJ class motors that Subaru still runs today.

8. Nissan VR38DETT

This 3.8 liter, 24 valved, twin turbo V-6 motor weighs in at just over 600 pounds. It boasts variable valve timing and feedback control system that changes air to fuel ration depending on engine load. Compression ration is 9.0:1 and features four cams held in overhead fashion. This motor is currently only found in the Nissan GT-R or the limited edition Juke R, when it leaves the clean room it is assembled in. Power levels are 480, 550, and 600 horsepower.

7. Mazda 13B-REW

mazda rotary

Mazda used the 13B-REW motor in the RX7 that was found in Japan and the United States. The tiny 1.3 liter rotary engine was nothing to laugh at by any means. The REW variation meant the engine was twin turbo charged and produced anywhere from 255 to 280 horsepower. The turbos were ran sequentially with the first turbo building boost around 4800 rpms and the second picking up after that.

6. Nissan SR20DET

The SR20DET is part of the Nissan SR family and could be found in the Nissan Bluebird, Silvia, Pulsar Gti-R and many other Nissans. This engine has a 2.0 liter displacement containing a dual overhead cam design, electronic fuel injection and a turbo charger. Sounds like the best mix of automobile motor design. Power levels from 201 to 250 horsepower were found depending on the model the car was going into.

5. Honda K Series

The K series brought larger displacements and more power. Intelligent Variable Valve Timing, IVTEC, helped these motors rev to higher numbers and get better fuel economy than their predecessors. The K series is used in the CDX, RSX, RDX, TSX, Civic, Accord, Odyssey and other models. The K series saw power ranges from 140 to 300 horsepower. Not too bad for a little four banger.

4. Mitsubishi 4G63

The Mitsubishi 4G63 motor was the workhorse of many Mitsubishi vehicles. The 4G63 turbo model was first offered in the Galant VR-4 in Japan. The 4G was also used in many of Mitsubishi’s Lancer and Lancer Evolution platforms. These variations netted the driver with anywhere from 200 to 300 horsepower.


3. Nissan RB26DETT

nissan rb

The Nissan RB26DETT was produced for the 1989 to 2002 Nissan GT-Rs. The 2.6 liter inline six was a twin turbo charged beast that featured an iron block and an aluminum head. The head contained four valves per cylinder paired with dual over head cams. This combination ushered in 276 horsepower at ten pounds of boost. This motor found its way into the R32, R33, and the R34. This engine inspired Toyota and other manufacturers to step up their game with the Japanese engines.

2. Toyota 4A-GE

The Toyota 4A-GE featured 16 valves and a twin cam setup. The engine first entered production in 1983 and finished in 1991. The 4A-GE produced only 128 horsepower but it was perfect for the lightweight Toyotas. It was found in the first generation MR2 and the car that started the drifting world, the AE86 Sprinter Trueno and the AE86 Corolla Levin.

1. Toyota 2JZ-GTE


This 3.0 inline six cylinder twin turbo charged motor is the undisputed king of Japanese engines. The Japanese engine produced 276 horsepower while the US variant produced 321 horsepower. This motor made power all the way through the rpm’s. It is still used widely today in many variants. Die hard Supra followers easily make over 1000 horsepower on modified motors and other tuners swap the 2JZ-GTE into all sorts of rear wheel drive platforms to this day. With the new interest in the VVTi, this version of the 2JZ-GTE this Japanese great will not be forgotten any time soon.