February 24, 2024
2000Hp Toyota Land Cruiser

Last Updated on October 7, 2022 by E. Lindgren

There may not be an abundance of Japanese V8 engines, but the ones that do exist are quite amazing!

While the European and American automobile markets utilized V8 engines quite early on, Japan mostly kept to its smaller and more fuel efficient 4- and 6-cylinder engines. And while there were some exceptions like the 1967 Toyota Century which featured a 3.0L V8 it was only for the absolute rarest and high-end vehicles which got the privilege to be powered by a V8 engine.

During the 1990s most Japanese brands had established strong bonds in the international car markets, and many of their cars were manufactured to meet the demands of other car cultures. One of them was the American markets where V8s ruled the roads.

And so, most JDM brands started developing their own V8 engines but with a touch of Japanese craftmanship which meant strong and reliable engines.

And so, we’re going to present some of the best JDM V8 engines to have come out of Japan, enjoy!

Nissan’s VH45DE

Before the much-appreciated VK56DE engine there was the VH45DE. This engine featured a 4.5L naturally aspirated V8 which put out between 266-310 hp.

It was originally designed to be placed in the Infiniti Q45 but also made its way into the JDM Nissan President.

Be wary of models prior to 1994 as these used plastic timing chain guides which are known to occasionally fail which in worst cases could result in engine damage. All models after 1994 were upgraded to metal-backed chain guides which were much more reliable.

The VH45DE has actually become quite popular among enthusiasts. It is commonly used for racing, drifting, drag, and boat racing.

Used in:

  • 1990-1996 Infiniti Q45
  • 1990-2002 Nissan President
Engine Specifications
Engine codeVH45DE
LayoutFour stroke, V8
Fuel typeGasoline (petrol)
Displacement4.5 L, 4,494 cc
Fuel systemFuel injection
Power adder266–310 hp (198–231 kW; 270–314 PS)
Power output378-330 lb-ft (377-447 Nm)/4,000 RPM

Toyota’s 1UZ-FE

The 1UZ-FE engine has in the past few years established itself as one of the greatest V8 engines of all time.

The 1UZ-FE is a 4.0L all-aluminum V8 engine predominantly used in the Lexus LS400 and Toyota Celsior and to date is considered one of the most reliable engines Toyota ever manufactured.

But this engine wasn’t just reliable, it was light, quick, and cheaper than its competitors Mercedes, and BMW. It was also on par with Rolls Royce’s V12 in terms of vibration levels. You could place a coin on its side, start the engine, and the coin would remain in position without falling.

Used in:

Engine Specifications
Engine code1UZ-FE
LayoutFour stroke, V8
Fuel typeGasoline (petrol)
Displacement4.0 L, 3,968 cc (242.1 cu in)
Fuel systemBefore 1994: Multi-port fuel injection (MFI)
After 1994: Sequential multi-point fuel injection (SFI)
Power adderNone
Power outputFrom 259 PS (191 kW; 256 HP) at 5,400 rpm
to 300 PS (221 kW; 296 HP) at 6,000 rpm
Torque outputFrom 333 N·m (34 kg·m, 245.4 ft·lb) at 4,000 rpm
to 420 N·m (42.8 kg·m, 309.5 ft·lb) at 4,600 rpm
Firing order1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2

Toyota’s 3UR-FE      

This 5.7L V8 manufactured by Toyota was specifically designed for the American market, just like Nissan’s VK56DE.

The 3UR-FE debuted with Toyota’s at the time brand-new second-generation Tundra pickup which was significantly larger than its predecessor. And in order to compensate for the extra weight, the 3UR-FE developed an impressive 381 horsepower and 400-pound feet of torque (in 2007!).

The previous generation had been very reliable, but the engine was quite weak and so it had a tendency to struggle. But this all-new version fixed that issue, all while maintaining a high level of reliability.

In fact, it was so good that Toyota decided to also put it into Lexus Luxury SUV the LX570.

And despite being rock-solid engine, the 3UR-FE has received only a handful of minor upgrades since its appearance in 2007, making it fall behind some of the competition in terms of power delivery and fuel efficiency.

Used in:

  • 2007–2021 Toyota Tundra
  • 2007–2022 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2007–2021 Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series – US and Middle East markets only
  • 2007–2021 Lexus LX 570
Engine Specifications
Engine code3UR-FE
LayoutFour stroke, V8
Fuel typeGasoline (petrol)
Displacement5.7 L, 5,663 cm2 (345.6 cu in)
Fuel systemSequential multi-point fuel injection (SFI)
Power adderNone
Power outputFrom 362 PS (266 kW; 357 HP) at 5,600 rpm
to 383 PS (282 kW; 378 HP) at 5,600 rpm
Torque outputFrom 530 N·m (54 kg·m, 391 ft·lb) at 3,200 rpm
to 546 N·m (55.7 kg·m, 402 ft·lb) at 3,600 rpm
Firing order1-8-7-3-6-5-4-2
Weight220 kg (485 lbs)

Mitsubishi’s 8A80

It may be unknown, but Mitsubishi actually manufactured its own V8 engine for a brief period. The 8A80 engine utilized an aluminum block and featured a 4.5L displacement that put out around 276 hp.

However, despite not being a bad engine, due to financial struggles from the Mistubishi Motor Company they had to shut down their only two models (Mitsubishi Proudia, and Mitsubishi Dignity) that utilized this engine just two years after development.

It did however live on in the Hyundai Equus up until 2009 when it got replaced by Hyundai’s own V8 engine.

Used in:

  • 1999-2001 Mitsubishi Proudia
  • 1999-2001 Mitsubishi Dignity
  • 1999-2009 Hyundai Equus First generation
Engine Specifications
Engine code8A80
LayoutFour stroke, V8
Fuel typeGasoline (petrol)
Displacement4.5 L, 4,498 cc (274,5 cu in)
Fuel systemDirect injection
Power outputPower — 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) at 5000 rpm
Torque outputTorque — 412 N⋅m (304 lb⋅ft) at 4000 rpm
Firing order
WeightTorque — 412 N⋅m (304 lb⋅ft) at 4000 rpm

Nissan’s VK56DE

The VK56DE is one of Japan’s most famed engines and could be considered Japan’s workhorse for its durability and torque nature.

The VK56DE was actually closely related to the Nissan 350Z engine, the 3.5L V6 VQ35DE, and shared some of its ground structure with each other.

And while it is often known to power robust pickup trucks or large luxury sedans, the VK56DE was actually also used in some of Nissan’s race cars, although they had been heavily modified the ground structure was all the same.

The 5.6L V8 by Nissan became a hit in the U.S. with the Nissan Titan being one of the most powerful pickup trucks in its class. And it became one of the first Japanese engines to be deemed a “muscle V8”.

Used in:

  • 2004–2015 Nissan Armada         
  • 2004–2015 Nissan Titan
  • 2004–2010 Infiniti QX56               
  • 2010–2016 Nissan Patrol             
  • 2008–2012 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2012–2016 Nissan NV2500 HD
  • 2012–2016 Nissan NV3500 HD  
  • 2012–2016 Nissan NV Passenger             
  • 2009–2011 Nissan GT-R GT1       
  • 2013–2019 Nissan Altima, Supercars Championship
  • 2015- Various LMP3 racing cars
Engine Specifications
Engine codeVK56DE
LayoutFour stroke, V8
Fuel typeGasoline (petrol)
Displacement5.6 L, 5,552 cc (338.80 cu in)
Fuel systemMulti Point Fuel Injection
Power adderNone
Power output305 HP (227 kW, 309 PS) at 4,900 rpm
315 HP (235 kW, 319 PS) at 4,900 rpm
320 HP (240 kW, 326 PS) at 5,200 rpm
Torque output522 Nm (53.2 kg·m, 385.0 lb·ft) at 3,600 rpm
530 Nm (55.4 kg·m, 390.0 lb·ft) at 3,600 rpm
533 Nm (54.3 kg·m, 393.0 lb·ft) at 3,400 rpm
Firing order1-8-7-3-6-5-4-2
Dimensions (L x W x H):
Weight225 kg (496 lbs)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *