The Coolest Cars You Can Finally Import Into America in 2021
Just like the people who live in different parts of the globe, the car world is diverse and multicultural. Although many great cars were produced over the years, for one reason or another some of them did not make it to certain regions of the world.
America is one of those places that missed out on some truly epic cars or they simply got lame versions of them, case in point being the BMW M3 E36. Not all is lost, however, as when a car becomes 25 years old, you can import it to the US regardless of whether it passed the required emissions and crash tests. Here’s what cars you can legally import in the U.S. in 2021.
We all love the Mk IV Supra. Its 2JZ GTE engine is the stuff of legends. But what happens if you don’t want to spend that much money and need four doors? Enter the Toyota Chaser – a rear-wheel-drive, straight-six, turbocharged sleeper sedan. This typically 90s-styled JDM sedan is now old enough to be imported into the US.
It has a 1JZ 2.5-liter twin-turbocharged engine producing 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 279 pound-feet (378 Nm) at 2,400 rpm.
Because the sedan weighs just over 3,200 pounds (1,450 kg), this is enough for a 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) time of around 5.4 seconds. The preferred gearbox is a five-speed manual, although there is also a less desirable four-speed automatic.
|Engine||1JZ 2.5-liter twin-turbocharged|
|Horsepower||280 HP @ 6,200 RPM|
|Torque||279 LB-FT @ 2,400 RPM|
|Weight||3,200 pounds (1,450 kg)|
|Top Speed||five-speed manual/four-speed automatic|
|0 to 60 mph||5.4 seconds|
This is what happens when Godzilla retires from racing and becomes more family-oriented. Often referred to as a Skyline station wagon, the 1996 model with internal chassis code WGNC34 boasts a tuner-friendly RB25 DET inline-six engine with 280 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 253 pound-feet (343 Nm) at 3,200 rpm.
Power goes to all four wheels through a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. The sprint to 60 mph is achieved in around 5.8 seconds, on the way to 149 mph (240 km/h). Its unassuming boxy station wagon looks make it a proper sleeper and all but the knowledgeable ones could be surprised at a stop-light.
|Engine||RB25 DET inline-six|
|Horsepower||280 HP @ 6,400 RPM|
|Torque||253 LB-FT @ 3,200 RPM|
|Top Speed||five-speed manual/four-speed automatic|
|0 to 60 mph||5.8 seconds|
|Top Speed||149 mph|
Audi RS2 Avant
While on the subject of station-wagons, Germany also has an offering which can now be imported under the 25-year-old rule. The RS2 is not only blisteringly quick but also significant since it laid the foundations for a line of performance Audi station wagons. Everything started with the Audi 80-based RS2 Avant.
It was essentially built by Porsche in their Zuffenhausen plant.
The engine was a 2.2-liter turbocharged inline-five which produced 315 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 302 pound-feet (410 Nm) at 3,000 rpm. A six-speed manual is responsible for sending all that to all four wheels via the Quattro system. This resulted in a 4.9-second time to 60 mph (97 km/h) and a top speed of 163 mph (262 km/h).
|Engine||2.2-liter turbocharged inline-five|
|Horsepower||315 HP @ 6,500 RPM|
|Torque||302 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||4.9 seconds|
|Top Speed||163 mph|
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
You can now have a mighty rally legend in the form of the Lancer Evolution IV. Widely considered to be one of the purest and non-compromised generation of the model, the Evo IV boasts the legendary 4G63 T engine. Thanks to forged internals and a big turbo, the 2.0-liter unit squeezes a very-impressive-for-the-time 280 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 240 pound-feet (330 Nm) at 4,000 rpm, or 260 pound-feet (353 Nm) at 3,000 rpm depending on the version. All four wheels are driven, which allows the 2,976-pound (1,350 kg) sedan to hit 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds. The Evolution IV RS version is said to be even quicker, with a curb weight of just 2,778 pounds (1,260 kg).
|Horsepower||280 HP @ 6,500 RPM|
|Torque||240 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM/ 260 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||5 seconds|
|Weight||2,976-pound (1,350 kg)|
If you’ve always fancied a bit of British performance, 2021 will be very good for you, because you can finally import one of these. The Cerbera may look a bit like an old-school grand tourer but make no mistake, it’s much more agile and quicker than you think. With a curb weight of 2,425 pounds (1,100 kg) it certainly won’t feel lazy. More importantly, you get a 4.2-liter V-8. And although it’s a SOHC design with only two valves per cylinder, it also has a flat-plane crankshaft.
This translates to 360 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 320 pound-feet (434 Nm) at 4,500 rpm, which allows for a 4.0-second sprint to 60 mph and a top speed of 180 mph (289 km/h). Power goes to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual. If you wait a bit more, you’ll be able to import the 4.5-liter V-8 with 426 horsepower and 380 pound-feet (515 Nm) of torque, which does the sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
|Engine||4.2-liter V-8||4.5-liter V-8|
|Horsepower||360 HP @ 6,500 RPM||426 HP|
|Torque||320 LB-FT @ 4,500 RPM||380 LB-FT|
|0 to 60 mph||4.0 seconds||3.7 seconds|
|Top Speed||180 mph (289 km/h)||180 mph (289 km/h)|
Read our full review on the TVR Cerbera
The first-generation Audi A6 – C4 was sold in the States, but not its performance version – the S6, which is the one you want. Instead of going to Porsche again, they did their own heavy-lifting and put a 4.2-liter naturally-aspirated V-8 producing from 290 to 322 horsepower and 295 pound-feet (400 Nm) to 302 pound-feet (410 Nm), depending on the variant.
What’s even more interesting is that there were both sedan and station-wagon versions, the latter of which was produced in much greater numbers. The 0 to 60 mph sprint was achieved in around 5.5 seconds for the sedan and 5.6 seconds for the Avant. Both versions had a top speed of around 154 mph (249 km/h).
|Engine||4.2-liter naturally-aspirated V-8|
|Horsepower||290 - 322 HP|
|Torque||295 - 302 LB-FT|
|0 to 60 mph||5.5-5.6 seconds|
|Top Speed||154 mph (249 km/h)|
Subaru Impreza WRX (GC8)
We can’t really talk about the Lancer Evolution without mentioning its rival, the Impreza WRX. Both have been neck and neck in the battle for the greatest rally car for decades. The first generation Impreza WRX replaced the bigger and heavier Legacy, in the WRC. As with the Evo IV, the States did not get the first generation of the mighty Impreza. The street version used a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-four engine producing 211 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 214 pound-feet (290 Nm) at 4,000 rpm. In the last year of the GC8 generation, power rose to 280 horsepower and 249 pound-feet (338 Nm) in STI form, from the same EJ20 engine. Power hit the ground through all four wheels and a five-speed manual.
|Engine||2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-four|
|Horsepower||211 HP @ 5,600 RPM / 280 HP|
|Torque||214 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM / 249 LB-FT|
Lotus Elise (Series 1)
The second-generation Elise was sold in the States, but the first-generation, widely considered to be the purest of them all, was never sold there. The Series 1 Elise weighed less than 1,600 pounds (725 kg) and instead of the second-generation’s Toyota 1ZZ 1.8-liter engine, it had a Rover K-series with the same displacement.
Despite having only 118 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 122 pound-feet (165 Nm) at 3,000 rpm, the Elise still managed to hit 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 126 mph (202 km/h). If you wait a bit more you can import the 111S, which has 146 horsepower and 128 pound-feet (175 Nm), and a 5.4-second 0 to 60 mph time.
|Engine||Rover K-SERIES 1.8-liter|
|Horsepower||118 HP @ 5,500 RPM / 146 HP|
|Torque||122 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM / 128 LB-FT|
|0 to 60 mph||5.8 seconds / 5.4 seconds|
|Top Speed||126 mph (202 km/h)|
Alfa Romeo 155 Q4
If you are an Alfista and want to have something which would stand out, you can now get your hands on an Alfa Romeo 155. The wedge-shaped compact sedan is a true joy to drive, thanks to a nimble chassis and a nice soundtrack from the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine.
Power for the Q4 version, which is the one you want, is 190 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and torque is rated at 215 pound-feet (291 Nm) at 2,500 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels through a five-speed manual. Despite the “wrong-wheel-drive”, the Alfa hits 60 mph (97 km/h) in just 6.4 seconds on its way to 140 mph (226 km/h). If you wait for another year, the 156 will be available for import, and you can feast your senses on the epic sound of the “Busso” V-6.
|Engine||2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four|
|Horsepower||190 HP @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque||215 LB-FT @ 2,500 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||6.4 seconds|
|Top Speed||140 mph (226 km/h)|