10 All-Time Best JDM Motors

These are JDM Motors We Want To Own

Updated October 3, 2018

Motors for the Japanese domestic market (JDM) often differed from those that were used in the same car models made for other world markets. Regardless of what the market was producing, these JDM motors are still known for their high endurance and power.

We present you the top 10 JDM engines:

1.) Toyota 2JZ-GTE

In the first place of our list is Toyota‘s 2JZ-GTE engine, quite possibly the most iconic of all JDM motors. The Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine was created in response to Japanese competitors. This engine was first incorporated into the Aristo V model in 1991, and then incorporated into the Supra RZ model. In the Supra RZ, this unit delivered 276 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. The 2JZ-GTE engine is appreciated for its torque – it’s a great cruiser at low revs where it still delivers solid power, but with a stronger addition of gas, this engine becomes a real beast. Also, it’s an excellent piece of engineering as far as maintenance is concerned.

JDM Motors - Toyota 2JZ-GTE

2.) Nissan RB26DETT

The second place on our list of top 10 JDM motors is taken by Nissan‘s RB26DETT engine. The most popular in this series of engines is the 2.6L version. The engine is quite powerful, and some versions even reach 8200 RPM, which is not naive considering the fact it is a six-cylinder engine with two turbochargers! The RB26DETT delivers 276 hp at 6800 RPM and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4400 RPM. The engine itself has much greater potential and, with a few modifications, achieves much more power. Users also highly appreciate it for its reliability.

JDM Motors - RB26DETT

3.) Honda K20A

The unaddressed Honda K20A is one of the most reliable JDM motors available and ranks third in this list because it’s probably one of the most reliable engines, period. If we put aside the reliability, this engine has a lot of power. The four-cylinder engine delivers between 212 and 221 hp and is incorporated in the popular Honda Civic Type R. Some Civic Type R fans even claim they haven’t had a problem with the motor after years of use.

JDM Motors - K20A

4.) Nissan SR20DET

The Nissan SR20DET became popular because it’s a cheap engine from which, with a little modification, a lot of power can be gained. The SR20DET consumes little fuel, as the engine has four cylinders with four valves per cylinder and electronic fuel injection. Many drivers have increased power on this engine and later used them for drifting and racing. This engine is embedded in the Nissan S15 Silvia model, which delivers 250 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque in its base form.

JDM Motors - SR20DET

5.) Honda B16B

The Honda B16B was specially manufactured for the JDM Civic EK9 Type R; despite the engine’s small volume of 1595 cc, it delivers 186 hp! This engine is capable of reaching as much as 8900 RPM and when fitted into the chassis of the Civic EK9 Type R, it was the right weapon. In addition to its excellent performance, the engine was very durable because it contained pistons that had less friction in the cylinder, a fully balanced crankshaft, lighter inlet valves, a dual-layered inlet and exhaust valve springs and, most importantly, a different short block.

JDM Motors - Honda B16B

6.) Toyota 4A-GE

This engine has been developed for a long time; Toyota wanted to build a small volume unit that would be powerful while still being very economical and reliable. It was necessary to develop five generations of the 4A-GE engine type in order for Toyota to achieve what it wanted. The result of their long-term development is an aggregate of 1578 cc with 162 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque. The engine is very compact and easy to use, which is highly appreciated by tuners.

JDM Motors - 4AGE

7.) Mazda 13B – REW

The Mazda 13B – REW is a unique engine for more things, but one of the things that makes it most popular is that it uses the Wankel rotary engine. Mazda began to develop this unique type of engine in the late 1950s. The 13B – REW’s volume is only 1.3L and contains two turbochargers. The first charger runs up to 4500 RPM and when the engine exceeds that, the second turbocharger is activated. The reason why this engine is popular is because it delivers up to 280 hp. A large number of 13B-REW engines are built into racing cars due to their low volume and high power, but also because rotary engines are notorious for maintenance requirements and don’t necessarily make good daily drivers.

JDM Motors - 13BREW

8.) Mitsubishi 4G63

The Mitsubishi 4G63 is one of Mitsubishi’s most popular engines. This engine is built into models such as the Galant, Lancer, Eclipse, and several others. The main feature of this model is not its strength, but its low fuel consumption and high reliability. The engine has a 1997 cc volume and delivers 200 hp at 6000 RPM. The 4G63 is a smooth, reliable engine, and has a lot of potential.


JDM Motors - 4G63

9.) Subaru EJ20

The Subaru EJ20 boxer engine is a unique engine that’s anything but typical. This engine has celebrated models like the Subaru Impreza and Forester. The EJ20 is known for its strength and durability, and later received a turbocharger, designated EJ20G. The EJ20G has a power range from 220 hp at 6400 RPM to 275 hp at 6500 RPM. Because of its high endurance, this unit is used for rally racing and, thanks to this engine, Subaru often finds itself in pole positions at rally events. Highly regarded as one of the best JDM motors in history.

JDM Motors - EJ20

10.) Nissan VR38DETT

The Nissan VR38DETT may come in the last place on this list, but that’s not because this engine is the worst. It’s simply a larger volume V6 engine compared to other engines of this list that are less voluminous. The VR38DETT is a powerful 3.8L engine but because of its six cylinders and 24 valves, this unit is quite heavy. The engine also has two turbochargers. This muscular engine delivers as much as 600 hp in the strongest version, the VR38DETT is embedded in the Nissan GT-R and Juke R. This profound power makes this engine one of the best JDM motors around – IF you can afford it, that is.

JDM Motors - VR38DETT

All engines on this list are remarkable and it has been difficult to separate them and decide which ones are better. The decisions were made based on the performance of the engine and the analysis of drivers and tuners who have experience with these engines. If you have a favorite JDM motor that wasn’t mentioned here, show it some love in the comments below!


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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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