Top 10 Best Toyota Sports Cars of All Time
For most folks, Toyota definitely isn’t the first automaker that comes to mind when you think of performance cars, but the Japanese manufacturer has a steep history in making some incredible sporty machinery.
Names like Supra, Celica and 2000GT have all weaseled their way into the hearts and minds of enthusiasts all over the world. But what is the best of best? What are the Top 10 best Toyota sports cars of all time? After taking things like performance, historical importance and overall appeal into account, we have ranked our 10 favorites below.
SEE ALSO: Toyota Hypercar Coming Based on GR Super Sport Concept
Do you agree with our picks? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
10. Toyota S800
The S800 was Toyota’s first proper sports car. Power for the S800 came from a 0.8-liter, two-cylinder horizontally opposed engine. Making a modest 44 hp, the car weighed less than 1,300 pounds. It was a two-seat targa that featured a lift-out roof panel.
Good looking and fun to drive, the S800 would start a long legacy of sporty Toyotas.
9. Toyota 86
Introduced in 2012, the Toyota 86 is also sold as the Subaru BRZ. Built as a back-to-basic sports car, the lightweight GT86 is a rear-wheel-drive two-door vehicle with an emphasis on driving fun. Now in its second generation, power comes for a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 228 hp.
SEE ALSO: 2017 Toyota 86 Review
8. Toyota Soarer Turbo
Although there were four generations of Soarers, it was the turbocharged versions that set new standards in performance and luxury. In 1988, two turbocharged engines were offered in the Soarer, but it was the inclusion of the 1JZ 2.5-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine in 1991 that really made this car a rocket. Best of all, it could be had with a manual transmission.
7. Toyota Sprinter Trueno and Corolla Levin (AE86)
The inspiration for the Toyota GT86, the AE86 versions of the Toyota Sprinter Trueno and Corolla Levin have become legends in the compact tuner world. Used as a basis for everything from drift cars to time attack monsters, the AE86 in stock form came with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that made between 112 and 128 hp depending on region and year.
SEE ALSO: Top 10 Japanese Sports Cars of the 90s
Available as a coupe or a hatchback, the lightweight rear-wheel drive-car was the definition of budget motoring fun in the mid-1980s.
6. Toyota Celica AWD Turbos
The Celica is a nameplate that was around for a long time. Available at times with rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, it’s the all-wheel-drive models that were something special. Called the GT-Four, in 1986, the first all-wheel-drive turbocharged Celica came to be powered by 190 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The next year it would come to North America as the Turbo All-Trac.
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The GT-Four would continue for two more generations of Celica, with the final Japanese versions making 251 hp in the late 1990s.
5. Toyota MR2
A mid-engine, two-seat sports car is always intriguing, but the MR2 took things to another level because it wasn’t some high-priced exotic, but rather a car that was attainable for the average consumer. Initially available with naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines and one with a supercharger bolted on, when the second-generation MR2 came along, things got serious. In North America, the MR2 could be had with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produced 200 hp. In Japan, that same powerplant could make as much as 241 hp out of the factory.
4. Toyota GT-One
Only two of these road-legal race cars were ever made, but the GT-One showed just what Toyota was capable of. Needing to be built to serve homologation purposes for competition at the 24 hours of LeMans, the GT-One road car features a mid-mounted 3.6-liter turbocharged V8 engine that makes upwards of 600 hp. Of course, the rest of the specs are equally stunning, like a 10.7-second quarter-mile time and all the downforce you could ever wish for. But, with only two cars ever made, neither of which are on the road today, it’s hard to give this car anything higher than a fourth place finish.
SEE ALSO: Toyota Debuts ‘Track-Tuned’ Camry TRD and Avalon TRD
3. Toyota 2000GT
Could this be the best-looking Toyota ever created? Quite possibly. Built in low numbers and demanding insanely expensive prices today, the 2000GT showed the world that Toyota could build a seriously good sports car in 1967.
The 2000 in the name refers to the 2000-cc six-cylinder engine that made 150 hp. Weighing just under 2,500 lbs, the 2000GT wasn’t the fastest car on the road, but it was a joy to drive and sure looked good no matter what speed it was traveling at.
2. Lexus LFA
So this technically isn’t a Toyota. But the Lexus LFA was an incredible feat of engineering that, at the end of the day, was built by the corporation known as Toyota. With a front-mid engine setup, the LFA’s 4.8-liter V10 engine was an absolute screamer and unleashed 552 hp.
SEE ALSO: Toyota Century GR is Akio Toyoda’s Dream Come True
There isn’t enough space here to describe every technological wonder stuffed into the LFA, but the uber expensive, uber fast Lexus has an exhaust note and driving experience matched by very few other cars ever made.
1. Toyota Supra Turbo
The Supra is easily Toyota’s ultimate halo car. It’s the sports car most associated with the brand and the one everyone wants Toyota to revive. First introduced in 1978, despite featuring some unique sheet metal, the Supra was more of a sporty model option on the Celica than its own model.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Toyota Supra Parts Catalog Reveals Sports Car’s Secrets
In 1986, the Supra would become a standalone model and performance would receive a major boost, thanks to more powerful six-cylinder engines in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged form. But it’s the 4th generation Supra that would cement its icon status in the minds of enthusiasts. Available with a 320 hp 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine, the Supra performed as well or better than a lot of cars costing much more than the Toyota. Reborn recently, we are blessed to have the Supra back in our lives.
Honorable Mention: Toyota S-FR
Toyota never actually produced the pint-sized little two-seater you see above, which it debuted at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show as the SF-R Concept. The concept certainly looked promising, though, with a small footprint, cute yet aggressive styling, rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. We wish it reached production, but we’ll have to just call this the ‘Best Toyota Sports Car That Was Never Built’.
November 5th, 2021 – updated Toyota 86 image and text for accuracy. Updated Toyota Supra text for accuracy.
Absolutely loved my 88 Celica All Trak. Enjoyed a friends Supra quite a bit. The 2000GT sure looks like a knockoff XK E-type from the sign of the Cat. (Jaguar if you must ask.)
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Bug s Bunny is incorrect when calling #8 a boulevard cruiser. Don’t confuse the SC300/400 with a Soarer turbo – they are very different. The turbo Soarer is a much more performance focused machine (engine, brakes, electronics and transmission are uprated). Only a die-hard pedant would not call it a sports car after a few spirited laps of their local circuit.
No, he certainly is NOT incorrect. The subject is SPORTS CARS – #8 ds not qualify for this list.
Bug s Bunny is a probably muscle car fanatic. For them sports car = muscle/pony car, because of RWD and V8… and drag racing (against small Hondas). But that’s obviously a bullshit.
But either way, one of the TRUEST sports car, is an AE86, this is the ultimate entry-level sports car. It doesn’t matter if it’s Corolla, the low price, the small engine etc. This car has been used on so many races and racetracks, there are so many amazing builds, the community is so advanced when it comes to performance mods. This car is more sporty than some more expensive and advanced sports cars. Great entry-level sports car.
Supra is an another great example of a true sports car. Before stupid american F&F state of mind, this car was successful in japanese GT racing, in addition it was great option for any track racing. Then, after 90s, the americans started to build drag oriented Supras.
If Toyota Celica GT4 is not a sports car for you, then you are a poor car enthustaist (probably muscle car fanatic). Homologated for FIA WRC, this is a rally legend. True sports car. Period.
Soarer JZZ30/31 should be not confused with UZZ31/32 or Lexus SC400. I mean, sure, it’s also a grand tourer, but definitely more “sporty”. RWD, 5-speed manual, twin turbo and turbo 1JZ-GTE, more “sporty” suspension than UZZ32/SC400 etc.
There is no point of being so narrow minded. All these models are great sports cars, some of them are the icons with a soul.
Look, the alfa romeo is considered as “sporty car maker”, but that’s completely bullshit since 60/70s. Toyota created a lot great sports cars since then. More by usage and purpose, which is more important, than definition.
(sorry for my english)
Loved both my 84 Toyota Supra and my 87 Toyota Supra Turbo, they were great, kept current on the maintenance and never a problem!!! Great cars! Looking forward to Toyota getting back into this “space+++”!
Numbers 6, 7, and 8 are not sports cars. I knew when I saw the headline that Toyota hasn’t produced ten REAL sports cars in their existence, so it isn’t possible to have a top ten.
Um, what are you talking about? Number 6 IS a sports car. The AE86 was a sporty model, so that constitutes being enough of a sports car, and the Lexus SC, even as a grand tourer, was better to drive than practically all of its competitors (Acura Legend, included). So yeah, I get your opinion, but I’m calling BS on it
You can call something a ‘Sports Car’ but that doesn’t make it so. They race Semis & Tractors but I wouldn’t call them sports cars either. There is a difference between a Sporty Car, ie. GT, Sports Sedan or Hatchback & the true definition of Sports Car has always been 2 seater, rear wheel drive, manual transmission. Hard Tops & wind up windows were considered pushing the term,
so, no rear jump seats like the 911 had?
Not originally. It wasn’t until competition from other manufacturers adding ‘LUXURY’ items like heaters, hard tops & (OMG!) syncromesh on first gear did you start to see improvements in the comfort & convenience areas. The original Sports Cars were all started & designed for hill climbs so the need for anything extra was removed.
Not real sports cars? What in the hell are you talking about? Give us one reasons.
Okay – #6 is a FWD 2+2 (FWD is automatic “sports car” disqualifier); #7 is a 2+2 Corolla, albeit with a pretty decent engine (being a Corolla is also an automatic “sports car” disqualifier); #8 is a boulevard cruiser – it was known here in the U.S. as the Lexus SC300/SC400 (boulevard cruisers are by common knowledge, not “sports cars”). If not a favorite of the “Fast-N-Furious” crowd, the Supra Turbo can also probably be disqualified as a “sports car” since it too was considered a boulevard cruiser. Additionally, #9 is not a true Toyota since it is powered by a Subaru engine, it can be thrown out of this group too.
In advance, I know what your response will be. Yes, the term “sports car” has blurred over the years to include a wide range of different machinery. Having grown up in the 60’s/70’s, I’m old-school and I use the old-school definition.
To sum up and I hate to break it to you, but Toyota makes appliances, and has had only a scant few real sports cars in their history.
You’re not really a car guy as there is no such thing as an automatic sports car disqualifier. The AE86’s are classic 80’s sports cars, some of the sportiest available in the era.
Now that’s funny! Do you do stand-up?
so, the vette is a sports car, but the 911 had jump seats so it wasn’t?
Lol ae86 not a sports car. Read/watch some Initial D.