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By Wheels Staff, 27 Mar 2009 Features


More mumbo, lower mass for Subaru, Honda, Nissan hotshots.

These have got to be the only three reasons you'd move to Japan. Because they aren't coming here, unfortunately...

Subaru's fire-breathing WRX has been tweaked yet again. The latest STi version sports the new sheetmeral and an extra 55kW to raise peak power to 210k W at 6500rpm and torque by 40Nm to a massive 340Nm at 4000rpm.

The car is also 55kg lighter at just 1240kg. Considering the Aus-spec Impreza turns a 6.67sec O-lOOkm/h (see road test page 84), this one should be capable of low 5s.

Honda Japan has sent the NSX to Jenny Craig. The 3.2 litre engine in the lightweight NSX-S remains unchanged but gone are airbags, power steering, cruise control, traction control and foglamps, and the seats are now lightweight carbon-fibre Recaros. This all adds up to a 30kg saving, now tipping the scales at 1320kg. Or you can go further with the NSX-S Zero, which also ditches airconditioning, stereo and central locking and weighs just 1270kg.

Nissan Japan is expecting to launch the new Skyline GT -R in early 1998. It is expected to be even lighter and faster than the current model while retaining the same 2.6 litre twin-turbo.

To keep idle hands busy until that day, Nissan has improved the already formidable road-going GT-R with the aim of boosting track performance in the Japanese GT Championship.

The new GT -R sports a deeper front spoiler to provide better cooling for both the engine and the massive four-piston vented front discs.