The coolest foreign cars Americans can import in 2019
Americans, ever wanted a Toyota Celica GT-Four or Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II? Your chance is nearly here
13 coolest foreign cars Americans can import in 2019
It's time to start looking forward to 2019, and for American auto enthusiasts with a love for the classics that means hotly anticipating the ability to import a variety of previously unavailable machines into the country. The chance to drive these once-forbidden vehicles is because of the regulations in the United States that stipulate 25 years to the month after production a model no longer needs to meet federal rules. Click through the slides above to see the cool rides that Americans can begin bringing into the country throughout 2019.
The Audi RS2 is in the running to be the brand's coolest creations in the 1990s, and Americans can finally import one.
Stemming from a collaboration between Audi and Porsche, the RS2 used the basic body structure from the Audi 80 wagon but overhauled the machine mechanically. The Porsche-tuned version of Audi's 2.2-liter turbocharged inline-five produced 311 horsepower (232 kilowatts). A six-speed manual and all-wheel drive was the only available drivetrain. Upgraded brakes and suspension were able to handle the extra power.
With production lasting just a year, the RS2 is a prized item today.
BMW M3 Sedan
The E36-generation of the BMW M3 is well known among enthusiasts as a sublime driver's car. In 1994, the Germans made the model a little more family friendly by introducing a sedan version that didn't arrive in the United States until the 1997 model year.
Picking up a European M3 is also a tantalizing choice because of its extra power compared to the ones available in North America. Early models in both regions use a 3.0-liter inline six but the standard-issue example in the Old World produced 282 horsepower (210 kilowatts), versus 240 hp (179 kW) in the U.S.
Used examples of the Ferrari F355 are available in the United States, but being able to import them could mean good things for American enthusiasts. The option of bringing this classic Prancing Horse into the country from abroad allows buyers to shop around for the absolute perfect car rather than settling for what's immediately available.
The Ferrari F512 M represents the final evolution of the company's flat-12-powered sports cars that started in 1973 with the 365 GT4 BB and included models like the Testarossa.
Lasting from just 1994 to 1996, the F512 M featured a mid-mounted 4.9-liter flat-12 producing 434 horsepower (324 kilowatts). The exterior switched to fixed headlights, giving the model a different look than its predecessors.
Ferrari built just 501 examples of the F512 M, so the ability to import more of them into the U.S. might make them a little more common sight at Ferrari gatherings.
Lamborghini Diablo SE30
Launched to celebrate Lamborghini's 30th anniversary, the Diablo SE30 was the most hardcore variant of the supercar up until that time. The company pushed the 5.7-liter V12 to 525 horsepower (392 kilowatts), which allowed for a top speed of 202 miles per hour (325 kilometers per hour). To save weight, the models were rear-wheel drive, instead of using the VT all-wheel-drive tech available in the Lambo at that time. Switches in the cabin allowed for switching between three levels of suspension firmness and toggling the traction control.
Production amounted to just 150 units. Later in the assembly run, Lamborghini offered a Jota kit that pushed the performance even higher.
The 1990s were a golden age for sport compact cars, but not all of them made it to the United States. For example, the Mitsubishi FTO never arrived in America, likely because it would have stolen some sales from the brand's own Eclipse.
The little coupe featured a svelte shape. Initially, buyers were able to pick between a 123-horsepower (92-kilowatt) 1.8-liter four-cylinder or 168-hp (125-kW) 2.0-liter V6. Both mills were available with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.
While not a powerhouse, the FTO was reportedly a fun, little machine to drive. Now, Americans can find out what it's like behind the wheel.
First introduced in 1989, the Opel Calibra received a refresh in 1994 that gave the coupe an even smoother look. By this time in the model's life, there were four powertrain choices, including a V6 model and an all-wheel-drive, turbocharged variant.
While not as hardcore as other model's on this list, there are still plenty of Calibras still on the road, and the coupe would still look mighty stylish on American roads.
Opel also introduced the little Tigra to Europe in 1994. With the most powerful version making 105 horsepower (78 kilowatts), the tiny coupe was more about style than performance. It would definitely be an attention-grabber at the local cars and coffee meetup, though.
Porsche 911 993 Generation
Similar to the Ferraris and Lamborghini on this list, the 993-generation of the 911 is already available in the U.S. However, the model's limited numbers and legacy as the last Porsches with an air-cooled engine have caused prices on the second-hand market to explode.
If a buyer can't find a 993 for a decent price locally, he or she now at least as the option of investigating importing one from abroad.
Renault Clio Williams 2
Last year's list of fun vehicles to import included the Renault Clio Williams. In 1994, the French automaker introduced the Williams 2, providing an opportunity to shine a light on this stellar hot hatch once again.
The Williams 2 has the same 145-horsepower (108-kilowatt) 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the original. The only functional tweak is the addition of a folding rear bench seat. For better crash safety, the firm added front seatbelt pre-tensioners and side impact bars in the doors.
The extra pieces added a little weight, but the Williams 2 was still a great-handling machine.
Nissan Silvia Nismo 270R
First introduced in late 1993, the S14-generation of the Nissan Silvia was potent a performance coupe straight from the factory. However, Nismo decided to create a special version in 1994 that it called the 270R for the upgraded engine's metric horsepower output or 266 hp in American terms.
Nismo built just 50 units of the 270R. In addition to the tuned engine, the Nissan performance division also equipped the model with a limited-slip differential and gave them an aggressive body kit with a vented hood.
Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II
No list of automotive imports would be complete without some mention of the Nissan Skyline GT-R. In 1994, the company introduced the V-Spec II version as a hardcore version of the already mean machine.
The original V-Spec arrived in 1993 featuring parts like Brembo brakes and 17-inch BBS wheels. The V-Spec II was an updated version for 1994 that had wider tires for a boost in grip.
Power came from the same twin-turbo 2.6-liter inline six as other GT-Rs. The powerplant had an official rating of 276 horsepower (206 kilowatts) due to an agreement among Japanese automakers at the time not to advertise outputs any higher than this figure. The actual number was likely even higher.
Toyota Celica GT-Four
While previous generations of the all-wheel-drive, turbocharged Toyota Celica arrived in the United States under the All-Trac moniker, the Japanese automaker never introduced the version for the ST205 generation to America. Now, there's finally an opportunity to experience one.
The initial versions in Japan had 252 horsepower (188 kilowatts), and Europeans got a variant with 239 hp (178 kW). Both versions had a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and ran through a five-speed manual with all-wheel drive. The models featured Toyota's Super Strut Suspension system that limited tire camber changes during cornering to improve handling.
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