Muscle cars are defined as mid-sized cars stuffed with massive engines. By that standard, the muscle car has traveled and evolved into many different shapes and characters. An R32 Skyline could be considered a Japanese muscle car, much like the M5 in Germany. Edmunds released an article about the best muscle cars and included some choices that hail from across both ponds. These are the top three foreign muscle cars as chosen by Edmunds.
Aggressive and underpowered: Lexus RC F
Nipping at the heels of the Mustang, Challenger, Camaro, and Charger was Lexus’ RC F. It certainly qualifies on paper as a muscle car, sporting a 472-hp 5.0-liter V8 and rear-wheel drive. However, on the road, it leaves mild-mannered skidmarks of regret in its wake. The options are a plus, with adaptive suspension, a limited-slip differential, and Brembo brakes. Unfortunately, it’s outperformed by its American brethren in power and functionality. The RC F’s curb weight isn’t anything to brag about either.
The Lexus’ base price sits at $66,000 which puts it more in league with the BMW M3, which isn’t a good thing. The BMW is a proper villain, aggressive and dominating, and while the Lexus propagates stylings akin to a wolverine, it doesn’t appear to have the grunt to back it up, according to Edmunds.
Almost too much to handle: Mercedes-Benz AMG E 63 S
At quite a mouthful already the AMG starts at $108,345. It’s certainly a more vicious muscle car than the Lexus, with a handcrafted 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 producing 603 horsepower. The price is hefty, but it comes packed with technology. It uses CAMTRONIC as AMG’s cylinder cut-off feature to boost fuel efficiency at low revs, and NANOSLIDE which coats the cylinder walls to guarantee less friction.
The car uses all-wheel drive and an MCT 9-speed automatic transmission which allows for quick downshifting with spirited driving and decoupling while cruising. The AMG launches with staunch commitment but can be stiff on everyday roads. It’s best suited for track or mountain driving, but with either purpose, its price should deter too much mischief.
Bread and butter performance: Nissan GT-R
Godzilla itself of course makes the list and proves that muscle cars don’t need V8s to rip through competition. Its 565 horsepower 3.8-liter V6 speaks for itself, and loudly. The GT-R is a technological masterpiece, with more computers than the ISS. However, some may call this a drawback.
For raw performance, the GT-R is tough to beat. For a driver who wants to feel every gear change and every slip of the tires, the GT-R’s technology could be seen as a hindrance. Its starting price is $114,000, which clears both the Lexus and the Mercedes, but arguably provides a more disconnected driving experience.
Muscle cars don’t need to have big V8s, nor do they even need to be rear-wheel drive. A muscle car just needs a lot of power, in a mid-sized body. This refutes a lot of the rules, paving the way for more creativity. The muscle car isn’t locked to the American market. Other countries have released their own versions, and will hopefully continue to do so.
RELATED: 6 Muscle Cars From Abroad