These are the 10 best Mitsubishi sports cars ever made

Mitsubishi EVO VI Tommi Makinen - Front Quarter

Most people today only know: Mitsubishi for their SUVs like the Eclipse Cross, but if you’re a car connoisseur you’ll know there’s so much more to Mitsubishi when you look back at the brand’s history. Mitsubishi made their impact on the automotive world largely through rally racing, and they eventually tapped into the tuner scene as well.

The Japanese automaker’s most notable creation was the Lancer Evolution; basically a four-wheel drive sports sedan that was the Subaru WRX STI’s main rival, and it was just as good on the road as it was off-road. But there’s a lot more to it than the Evo, and today we’ll take a look at which sports cars have made Mitsubishi so famous.

10 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4

The Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 was one of the most revolutionary cars of all time. In the 1990s, this sports car achieved achievements other manufacturers could only dream of, such as incorporating an adaptive exhaust system, active aerodynamic components and a high-tech interior that didn’t look like it came out of a Star Wars knock-off.

The VR-4 also had serious power. It was powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine with two turbochargers attached to it that delivered 320 horsepower and 314 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, and despite weighing 3,800 lbs, the 3000GT reached 60 mph from one stop. in less than 5 seconds.

9 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X FQ-440 MR

You knew it was coming, and here it is – the first Lancer Evolution for the list – the underrated Evo X. We won’t be talking about the standard tenth-generation Evolution, but rather the FQ-440 MR. As the name suggests, it produced 440 horsepower, but this Evo wasn’t powered by anything nearly as big as the 3000GT’s V6 – no, it borrowed its growl from a tiny 2.0-litre turbo-four – madness .

Only 40 of these cars were ever built, and they sounded just as crazy in the real world as they did on paper. 0-60 somehow happened in just 3.6 seconds, but unfortunately this was Mitsubishi’s last ever high-performing vehicle before they started targeting the masses instead of us gearboxes.

Related: 2008-2015 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X: Cost, Facts & Figures

8 Mitsubishi Lancer 1600 GSR

From the latest performance-oriented Lancer, we’ll turn back the clock and talk about the first ever, the 1600 GSR. The GSR may not have had the EVO badge in its name, but that doesn’t mean it was any less spectacular than the Evos.

The name pretty much spoke for itself too, the GSR stood for “Grand Sport Racing”, and the 1600 was a nod to its 1600cc engine that produced well under 100 horsepower, but that was more than enough for the tiny 2,100-lb rally racer , especially considering it was built in the early 1970s. The 1600 GSR went on to win the Southern Rally Cross four times and the Safari Rally twice.

7 Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R

The Starion was Mitsubishi’s take on a grown-up sports car to compete with the FC Mazda RX-7 and the MK3 Toyota Supra, and as you might have guessed, it was heavily overshadowed by its competition. Far from being considered a bad sports car though, the Starion was actually quite good, especially in its ESI-R trim level.

The ESI-R was fitted with a factory-wide body to accentuate the immense power produced by its nearly 200-hp turbocharged inline-four, and since it was rear-wheel drive and had a stick shift, it could be put to good use too.

Related: 10 Reasons We Love the Mitsubishi Starion

6 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4

The eighth generation of the Galant – Mitsubishi’s midsize family sedan – received special treatment, much like the Lancer Evos, but instead of being fitted with a turbocharged four-cylinder, the Galant got a twin-turbocharged V6, much like the one found in the 3000GT VR-4.

This particular V6 had a displacement of 2.5 liters, but produced a rather impressive 280 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque; in the real world, this meant that the Galant VR-4 could catapult itself from a dig to highway speeds in under 6 seconds.

Related: A Masterclass in Rendering Gives Us the Mitsubishi Galant on Steroids

5 Mitsubishi Galant AMG

That’s right, your eyes don’t deceive you, the AMG badge associated with the Galant name wasn’t just a fancy abbreviation, it was actually a reference to the third party involved in the existence of this insanely rare mid-sized sedan, Mercedes. -Benz’s in-house tuning company, AMG. Only 500 were made, all intended for the Japanese domestic market, and not many people remember the existence of this car.

Unlike the VR-4, the Galant AMG only got some power in the front wheels and that power was much lower (170 hp) than the aforementioned VR-4. After all, it was powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. There was one trick that AMG has added to the bike, and that is an 8,000rpm red line, which gives it a good stretch of the legs.

4 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX (second generation)

There were four different generations of the Mitsubishi Eclipse before it transitioned into an SUV called the Eclipse Cross, and the second generation is probably where this little Japanese sports car reached its peak. There are a lot of different trim options that the second generation Eclipse was offered in; it varied between front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, coupé shape or a convertible top, but above all, the trim level of the GSX reigns supreme.

In the GSX version, the Eclipse was four-wheel drive and equipped with a 210 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder to complement its radical appearance. There were also two reasons behind the legendary status of the Eclipse, the first was its massive aftermarket support and the second was its features in different Fast & Furious movies.

3 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR

We’ve already said that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was a purebred rally car that was as good on the asphalt as it was dirt, but some consider the Evo VIII to be the best of them all. Its looks were the perfect mix between an angry Japanese warrior and a sleeper sedan, and the MR version gave it the slight boost to give it true performance car status.

The turbocharged, intercooled, inline four of the Evo VIII MR had a 2.0 liter displacement and a total power of 276 hp and 286 lb-ft of torque. There was also a plethora of exterior tweaks specific to the MR, such as vortex generators, an aluminum roof and lightweight BBS wheels to improve cornering capabilities.

2 Mitsubishi FTO GPX

Initially, the Mitsubishi FTO was built between 1971 and 1975, but after a long hiatus, in 1994, the FTO badge was revived and remained in circulation in the automotive world for six years – today we’ll talk about the latter’s FTOs. generation .

Like most other Mitsubishi sports cars, the FTO was offered in an endless amount of different variants, but we’d say the sweet spot was the FTO GPX. Its 197 horsepower V6 was mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, and whatever you chose, the FTO GXP remained a lively, compact little front-wheel drive sports car, with an affordable price tag today.

1 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition

There is one Evo that stands out from all the others, and it is unbearably rare. It was part of the sixth-generation Lancer Evolution range, but it was called the Tommi Mäkinen Edition. It was built in honor of the legendary rally racer, Tommi Mäkinen’s, the fourth drivers’ championship in the World Rally Championship for the fourth time in a year.

Only about 4,000 ever left the factory — so you already know they’re incredibly valuable — and they all came with a traditional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with the exact same 276 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque as the base model Evo VI, but had a faster turbocharger, a completely redesigned body, a lower ride height, a Momo handlebar and shifter, and was only offered with contrasting white 17-inch Enkei wheels.