The 18 Best Cars You Can't Buy in the US

Some of the greatest cars on earth can't be legally registered for the roads in the United States. These are the best.

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Lotus

Our 25-year import law limits US buyers to what sorts of cars we can legally import. Here are some of the best cars that we can't bring to our shores just yet.

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Audi
Audi RS 3 Sportback

Audi sells the RS 3 sedan stateside, but what we really want is the hatchback version, the RS 3 Sportback. It packs the same 400-horsepower turbocharged inline-five engine, just in a more practical body. That being said, we're glad the RS 6 Avant is finally coming to the US.

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Brendan McAleer
Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution

The Pajero Evolution was built to homologate Mitsubishi's Dakar rally efforts in the 1990s. It's equipped with a whole bunch of rally-ready upgrades, including a 276-horsepower V-6 engine. We've driven one, and it's proof Mitsubishi can build an exciting off-roader. Sadly, none of them were sold in the US, meaning you'll have to wait until at least 2021, when the earliest examples turn 25 years old, to legally own one here.

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Honda
Honda E

The Honda E is a lovely-looking rear-wheel drive electric hatchback the company put into production after positive feedback from a concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The bad news is, it's for the Europe market only. Too bad.

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Brendan McAleer
Renault Sport Spider

The Renault Sport Spider is an absolute treat to drive. It's like a wonderful French twist on the Lotus Elise. Because Renault doesn't sell cars here, obviously, we didn't get it in 1996 when it was new. Only two more years before early examples become legal to import.

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BMW
BMW M3 GTS

BMW sent off the E92-chassis M3 with a sweet track-focused GTS version. It came with a sweet orange paint job, a big rear wing, a roll cage, and, most importantly, a bored-out V-8 engine. Instead of the GTS, the US got the Lime Rock Park Edition (which was nice, but not as nice as this).

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Subaru
Subaru Levorg

Sad to see the Subaru WRX hatchback disappear for this newest generation? Well, Subaru actually makes a wagon version of the turbocharged all-wheel drive car—it just doesn't sell it in America. The Levorg is for customers in Europe and Japan only.

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Pagani
Pagani Zonda

While you can certainly buy the Huayra stateside, the same can't be said for Pagani's first car, the Zonda. It was never homologated for US roads, and therefore, was never officially sold here. You won't be able to legally get one here via the 25-year rule until 2024.

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J-Auto ShowYouTube
Toyota Century

The Century has Rolls-Royce-levels of comfort and luxurious features, yet, Toyota doesn't see a version in the US, even under the Lexus brand. That sort of makes sense—who would pay Maybach prices for a Lexus Stateside? Still, we'd love to see a V-12 version here (those won't be available to import until 2022). Pictured here is the 2019 Century GRMN, which is a secretive edition that may or may not be mass-produced. Nobody seems to know.

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Nissan
Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)

The R34-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R is the holy grail of JDM desire, a dream car for those that grew up in the era where import cars where all the rage. But since the R34 didn't start production until 1999, there are still a few more years left to wait—unless you count the handful that were legally imported by Motorex when new, of course.

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Honda
Honda S660

Though it has a name akin to the iconic S2000, the Honda S660 is more of a Beat revival than anything else. Like the tiny convertible Kei car that came before it, the S660's engine sits in the middle, sending power to the rear wheels. Like many good small cars, the S660 is sold in the Japanese market only.

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Top GearYouTube
Alpine A110

The legendary Alpine A110 was revived in 2017 as a mid-engine sports car, and by all accounts, it's a wonderful machine. Since Renault doesn't sell cars here, it's no surprise the A110 didn't make it to our shores. We'd still love to drive one, though. Maybe in 23 years.

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HSV
Holden Ute

GM's now-deceased Australian brand has made some of the coolest modern Utes on the planet, but we've never gotten any of them. There are a few conversion shops in the US, but matching the real thing is tough.

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TVR
TVR Sagaris

The Sagaris is one of many TVRs the US never got, free of things such as ABS, traction control, and stability control, in true TVR fashion. It won't be until around 2030 that we'll be allowed to import them.

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Aston Martin
Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf

Aston Martin's long-awaited revival of the Lagonda nameplate came in 2015 with the arrival of the Lagonda Taraf. Since it was aimed at the Middle Eastern and European markets, Aston didn't import any of the 200 examples to the US.

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Lotus
Lotus Exige

Lotus sold the Exige here up until around 2011, when new safety laws meant it couldn't pass crash tests. Newly updated versions of the car is sold in Europe, and we've driven it. As you'd expect, it's wonderful.

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Lotus
Lotus Elise

Like the Exige, the smaller, lighter Elise also couldn't pass new crash tests in the US, so Lotus ceased sales here. Though the looks have stayed largely the same, special editions like the Cup 250 shown here offer more power and handling performance than any version of the Elise we got stateside.

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DW Burnett/Puppyknuckles
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio With a Manual Transmission

You can't buy a manual Giulia Quadrifoglio in America, but you can in Europe. We drove one, and it's everything you want it to be.

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BMW
BMW M3 CSL

BMW made a hot version of the E46 M3 beyond the competition-package model called the CSL, but only sold it to European buyers. The upgraded 3.2-liter S54 straight-six could rev to nearly 8000 rpm, and pushed out 360 horsepower.

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