When a person thinks of the best V8 engines, an American car immediately comes to mind.
So that's understandable, because a V8 engine has powered most American high-performance vehicles over the past few decades.
However, the US is not the only country to produce a V8 engine. As a result, let's take a look at the best Japanese V8 power units in history.
The 1UZ-FE is the most important and influential power unit on this list of the best V8 engines made.
When Toyota entered the luxury market in the late 1980s with its Lexus brand, they knew they had to beat the Americans and Germans.
As a result, they created the 1UZ, which was a very advanced engine for its time.
Very few V8s at the time were double overhead 32 valves and really reliable.
Citizens of the United States first encountered this power unit under the hood of the 1989 Lexus LS 400, where from the 4.0-liter engine it produced 250 hp (254 PS) and 260 lb-ft (353 Nm). ) of torque.
With the right modification, this engine is easily capable of reaching 1000 hp (1014 PS).
In addition, the 1UZ-FE is capable of generating effortless, vibration-free acceleration.
In the late 1990s, the 32-valve design was updated with variable valve timing, so the engine was more powerful.
However, the 1UZ-FE left North America in 2000, but remained in production until 2004, powering some commercial vehicles for the Japanese market.
This is one of the best V8 engines we've seen from Nissan and one that's primarily designed for use in full-size trucks and SUVs.
After all, before the VK56DE there was the VK45DE engine, a tremendous and reliable power unit used by Nissan for many vehicles.
So they knew that US truck buyers needed more power and more torque to tow and haul.
As a result, it was the main inspiration for the engineers who created the 5.6-liter VK56DE.
For this they used a bore diameter of 98mm, adding an extra 9.3mm of stroke.
At the same time, it kept its 32-valve DOHC design, which was a significant advantage as most American trucks were pushrod only.
The V8 produced 305 hp (309 PS) and 379 lb-ft (514 Nm) of torque, while compression was kept low at 9:8:1 to make it easier to use regular fuel.
So this engine was used for almost ten years before being upgraded with direct fuel injection in different models like the:
- Nissan Titan;
- Infiniti QX56.
Technically, this engine was designed and manufactured by Toyota, but it was only used in Lexus models.
The basic idea of the UR engine line was to replace the UZ engine family. As a result, 2UR-GSE was the best of the entire lineup.
Thus, the 5.0-liter V8 engine was first put into the 2008 Lexus IS F and from that point on it was mainly used for the sporty 'F' series models.
The high-compression naturally aspirated V8 featured direct injection, delivering 416 hp (422 PS) and 371 lb-ft (503 Nm) of torque.
Rounding out the list of best V8 engines made by Japanese automakers is the Toyota 3UR-FE.
When the new Tundra came on the market in 2007, Toyota engineers knew they needed a more powerful engine than the 2UZ-FE.
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So they use some of the technologies and features of the 2UR-GSE by prioritizing the typical things you need in a truck, like torque and durability, over top speed and high revs.
The 3UR-FE used in models like the Tundra, Land Cruiser or Sequoia did not feature direct injection.
However, it came with 32-valve DOHC heads, producing 381 hp (386 PS) and 401 lb-ft (544 Nm) of torque.