Here’s Who Makes The Better Performance Cars

Two JDM heavyweights clash in the sports car segment. In one corner sits Toyota. It can be easy to jump to conclusions with excellent examples like the S2000 and the Supra MK4, but Subaru won’t go down easy. With Toyota, it all started with the fantastic S800 and stretched into the modern era. Now, more than ever, Gazoo Racing is taking bland commuter cars like the Yaris and Corolla and turning them in true performance cars. It could be this very dedication to the modern sports car that takes Toyota to the top over Subaru. Only time will tell, as Subaru’s STI wing looks like it’s ramping up, too!
In Subaru’s corner sits the likes of the WRX STI, the 86’s twin, the BRZ, and the SVX. Subaru’s most popular sports cars are also highly versatile. The tuning support is unreal, and many examples make the fastest stock cars look silly. Further, each brand fielded rally cars that carved out wins, pushing models to the limit. We look at several models to see who makes the better performance car: Toyota or Subaru.
Related: The Best Toyota Sports Cars You Can Still Buy Used For Cheap

10 Toyota 2000GT

We’ll start with Toyota, whose history with sports cars stretches back to the 60s with the S800. While the S800 wasn’t technically a sports car, it paved the way for the 2000GT. In 1965 Toyota’s first real sports car debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show. Immediately, the 2000GT received strong praise, with many comparing it to the Porsche 911 for its excellent driving ability.

It wasn’t just the handling that was great, either. Many loved the two-door fastback coupe style, which was firmly stylized to be sporty. Additionally, the 2000GT sported a 148 horsepower inline-six that sent power to the rear wheels, completing the package. These cars are so rare and beautiful, and because only 351 exist, they cost up to $1.2 million!

9 Subaru XT6

Many know Subaru as die-hard four-cylinder fanatics, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, in 1988, Subaru put a six-cylinder engine into the XT, creating the XT6. Although the XT already came in a turbocharged boxer-four, it was underpowered, with only 111 horsepower to its name.

The XT6 got a nice bump to 145 horsepower, which in the 1980s wasn’t massive, but it marked a distinct step away from the brand’s previous image. No longer was Subaru content with producing small, dull, underpowered cars. The “Jazzy” wedge design was a massive improvement for the brand and ushered in later great Subaru sports cars.
Related: Subaru WRX: Bugeye, Blobeye, And Hawkeye Explained

8 Toyota MR2 MKIII

Look again; it’s not an MX-5 Miata but rather the MR2 MKIII. The nimble roadster proved Toyota could produce fantastic sports cars, just like Mazda. The MR2 MKIII had improved handling over the previous generation, and its responsive engine and solid gearbox gave competitors cause for concern. Unlike most other roadsters, the MR2 is mid-engine, which makes it unparalleled in fun, and the 1.8L four-cylinder engine produces 138 horsepower, that’s more than enough to launch passengers to a top speed of 131 MPH.

The MR2 originally came with a five-speed manual or optional manually-shiftable five-speed automatic. For 2003, the optional automatic became a six-speed unit. Toyota’s MR2 was immensely popular for its affordable starting price, entertaining drive, and iconic JDM appeal.

7 Subaru Impreza 22B STI

Japan gets all the nicest high-performance models, and in 1998, the Impreza 22B STI was the latest tease from the JDM brand. Under the hood, the 22B STI rocked a 2.2L turbocharged boxer-four with an estimated 300-350 horsepower. We say we estimated because Subaru claims it’s only 280, but we all know how that goes.

In addition to being a right-hand drive, the 22B STI features wider fenders, larger tires, and a driver-controlled center-differential switch sending 65% of the engine’s powers to the rear instead of 50/50. Getting your hands on one won’t be easy, either, as the last one sold in 2021 for a staggering $312,555!

6 Toyota Supra MK4

Yes, the Supra made a comeback. Yes, it’s fantastic. But it’s not the best Supra that ever was. That title goes to the MK4, the last generation before the long hiatus that brought us the BMW-powered Supra. Production of the MK4 ran from 1993 to 2002 and became loved for the 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six that hid under the hood.

Though the naturally aspirated version of the MK4 Supra is still nice, there’s something special about 320 horsepower that comes from the twin-turbo. Plus, it was speedy for the time, with a 4.7 second 0-60 and a top speed of 177 MPH. Finally, the MK4 is immortalized thanks to the Fast and Furious series. However, we’d like to think it’s the large spoiler, sleek coupe design, and the fast-as-hell specs.
Related: 5 Greatest Toyota Sports Cars (Vs 5 Mazdas)

5 Subaru SVX

With the XT, Subaru took a step away from bland and into the wedge-shaped sports car world. Building off that XT design, the SVX was born and is considered Subaru’s first true luxury sports coupe. Powering the SVX was a 3.3L six-cylinder boxer engine, another notable exception to the boxer-four rule.

The SVX produced 230 horsepower thanks to its larger engine and came in either a FWD or AWD configuration. Though after the 1995 model year, AWD was the only option. Despite being revolutionary for the brand, many didn’t like the automatic-only setup, and many questioned the funky window. It was simply ahead of its time, as the window-in-window had some distinct advantages.

4 Toyota Celica

The Toyota Celica gets a lot of crap for not being a Supra. By the early 2000s, the Celica’s style got a huge bump, and the high-winding 1.8-liter four made a thrilling 180 hp (U.S. spec).

The Celica remained supremely popular in tuning culture with a massive aftermarket support system. Plus, fans are still begging for this model to reappear, but with Toyota guts, unlike the new Supra. Perhaps an EV version will find its way back into the lineup.

3 Subaru WRX

Subaru decided to make the WRX a standalone model in 2015. The break from the Impreza commuter sedan meant a dedication to style and performance. Until 2021, the WRX featured a 2.0L boxer engine, and from 2022 onward, the new 2.4L engine promises a boost to 271 horsepower.

More than ever before, the WRX is extremely popular. Fans cite the standard AWD, stylish looks, and inclusion of a six-speed manual as their favorite reasons. It also helps that it’s raw, untainted, and ready for modifications. Even the newest model will sell like crazy, despite its questionable looks.
Related: Why Won’t Subaru Let The WRX STI Live On

2 Toyota GR Corolla

Toyota snubbed the United States when it decided not to bring the GR Yaris stateside. All is forgiven, though, as the GR Corolla will be headed this way, and Gazoo Racing took the bland commuter car to a whole new level. For starters, it’s a hatch, comes in AWD, and has a six-speed manual standard.

This soon-to-come sports car features an impressive 1.6L turbocharged three-cylinder engine that puts out 300 horsepower; that’s almost as much as a twin-turbo Supra! On the outside, the GR Corolla includes carbon fiber on the roof and a vented hood. Plus, it has excellent handling, making it more competitive than the STI, Golf R, or Veloster N.

1 Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Subaru owned the king of the rally cars. It’s the STI the world begs to have back and the last version before the standalone WRX STI. Regardless, the Impreza WRX STI remains one of the most iconic JDM cars of all time. It features the rock-solid 2.5L EJ engine that puts out 300 horsepower to all four wheels.

The Subaru Impreza WRX STI is pure rally-inspired greatness and hits 60 MPH in only 5.6 seconds. It also has an electronically controlled top speed of 155 MPH, and the “gentleman’s agreement” forbade the disclosure of how powerful it actually was. No other vehicle is modified more, and the now-extinct hatchback elicits rabid desire in many fans.

Fast And The Furious Paul Walker Supra Cropped
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