Have the Japanese given up on exciting cars?
If you are around my age, or maybe a little older (18+) you most likely grew up playing Gran Turismo. If you did, then you'll know that the Japanese used to make some absolutely insane cars. GTR Nissans, Sporty Toyotas, and Manic Hondas. Nowadays, nearly every exciting Japanese car that used to exist has gone. Take the Toyota Celica for example. Killed off in 2006. Has it been replaced? No. The Nissan Skyline GT-R. Has THAT been replaced? No. But at least the Skyline still exists, in the form of the Infiniti Q50. Toyota didn't even bother with a new Celica.
They were even good in the hot hatch department. Mazda 323 GTR, Nissan Pulsar GTI-R, Toyota Corolla Compressore. ALL of them are gone. Even the MPS Mazda 3 has been killed off. And the fastest version of the Pulsar is FWD, with a mere 187 hp. It's almost like the Japanese stopped trying to make exciting cars. At least in this country. Until very recently you only really had 3 choices. The Nissan GT-R which is actually 13 years old now, the Nissan 370Z, which is also 12 years old, and the Mazda MX-5, which is cheap thrills at it's best, but not exactly fast.
But you probably noticed that I said until recently. That's because in the last couple of years, we've had a few new arrivals on the scene. Toyota have given us a new Supra, after 18 YEARS. Does it really count though? I mean, it's a BMW engine, BMW underpinnings, BMW transmission, but Toyota design. It's more German than Japanese. Not that that's a problem mind. It's still a good car. But it's not a true Japanese car. What about the Honda NSX? Don't bother. It's American for starters, and completely destroys the purpose of the original NSX. Simplicity. The old car was simply, an engine, some wheels, and a couple of seats. The new one is the exact opposite. The gears, brakes and even the steering are controlled electronically. It has a 9 speed automatic gearbox. All wheel drive. Traction Control. And so on. It's NOT AN NSX!!! Honda are trying at least in the Hot Hatch department with the Type R. But, not the NSX .The only real exciting new Japanese car it the Nissan 400Z. It takes design cues from the original 240Z, and frankly, is a PROPER Japanese sports car. But they made us wait 12 years for it, so it's about bloody time.
So. What do I think. Well. I appreciate Toyota for trying. And by that I mean not at all. Acura, oh um, I mean Honda, have only brought back the NSX due to demand. To be completely honest. Nissan are the only ones who are really trying. They just leave it far too late. Even the R50 GT-R has just come out. How long have we waited for that? About 5 years? I don't know. Or care.