Mitsubishi 3000GT/GTO MR'98

Discussion in 'GT4 Race Reports' started by Leonidae, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Leonidae

    Leonidae (Banned)

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    6,881
    Mitsubishi 3000GT/GTO MR'98

    First produced in Japan in 1990 as the Mitsubishi GTO, the U.S./European version was showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1990 under the name HSX¹. Its goals were to replace the Mitsubishi Starion (and the Chrysler Conquest) and to create a contender for Mitsubishi in the sports car arena of the Nissan 300ZX, Mazda RX-7, and Toyota Supra, while following the Japanese tradition of under pricing and outperforming more expensive, luxurious cars. The first American and Canadian 3000GTs were produced at the Nagoya plant in Okazaki, Japan and publicly distributed in the fall of 1990. At that same time, Dodge released the sister car of the 3000GT, the Dodge Stealth. The Dodge Stealth was mechanically identical to the 3000GT. The only differences were the body and some options. While the Stealth was only distributed in the US and Canada, the 3000GT was never sold in Canada. The GTO in Japan lasted from 1990 to 2001, the 3000GT in the US and Europe lasted from 1991 to 1999, and the sister car, the Stealth, lasted only from 1991 to 1996 (1995 in Canada). Here is an excerpt from the book "Japanese Supercars" © 1992, Mallard Press:

    “What Mitsubishi set out to do was to cram every bit of high-tech gadgetry available into its 2+2 3000GT, making it one of the most advanced sports cars on the planet. Despite its credentials, the 3000GT can trace its lineage to a very unimpressive sporty car called the Starion. A rear-wheel drive car, the Starion was initially conceived as competition for the Nissan Z cars of the 1980's. However, with its boxy styling and modest performance and handling characteristics, the Starion was, by most measures, a failure. So, when Mitsubishi began planning for the car that would become the company's top-of-the-line replacement for the Starion, they literally started with a clean sheet of paper. However, before the first line was drawn, some basic marketing decisions were made about the new car. Drawing in part on the marketing strategy made famous by General Motors founder Alfred P. Sloan, Mitsubishi decided the new car would be offered in multiple stages of tuning and equipment. This was especially important because Mitsubishi would be sharing the new car with its close U.S. partner, Chrysler. Although the car would be designed and built in Japan, it would also be available at Chrysler's Dodge dealers under the name Stealth. Chrysler was insistent that a basic-level vehicle should be manufactured and sold for a price of just under $17,000. While the ultimate goal was to make a no-holds-barred sports car, the initial platform would have to be flexible enough to accommodate a bargain-basement model. The rear-wheel-drive platform that had propelled the Starion was discarded in favor of a front-wheel-drive set-up that could draw from Mitsubishi's other front-wheel-drive cars. The basis for the 3000GT is the chassis used in the Eclipse, a very cheaply priced sport coupe that uses four-cylinders for power and employs front-wheel-drive in its most common model…With all these goodies crammed in, the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 demanded aggressive styling. Working jointly with Chrysler's Highland Park International Design Studio, the stylists at Mitsubishi's studio in Okasaki, Japan, created a car that makes a definite performance statement. Influenced by the cab-forward styling of the HSR-II and Dodge Intrepid prototype vehicles, the 3000GT is awash in air dams, air scoops, vent ducts and power bulges. All are functional, except the rear side strakes that are undoubtedly there to remind people of the Ferrari Testarossa.”

    The 3000GT with its 3.0L DOHC engine is first and foremost a grand touring sports car, with the VR4 running as Mitsubishi's flagship. This 320HP twin turbocharged and intercooled model was considered to be the most technologically sophisticated of its competitors, with features such as All Wheel Drive, 4 Wheel Steering, Active Aero, Electronically Controlled Suspension, Tuneable Exhaust. These electronic features also gave the VR4 a 3700+ lb curb weight; in spite of its weight (and perhaps because of AWD) it compared favorably with its competitors in handling and speed, accelerating to 60mph in five seconds and running the quarter mile in 13 seconds. Many owners insist on improving its performance even further through aftermarket modifications.

    In North America, Mitsubishi enjoyed success in the early years as the 3000GT outsold the Nissan 300ZX, the Mazda RX-7, and the Toyota Supra combined; however, like the other Japanese supercars it fell victim to over-optioning and overpricing. The VR4 reached exotic prices approaching $50,000 and could not compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette. The Dodge Stealth was discontinued in 1996 and Mitsubishi would kill the 3000GT in 1999, although sales of the Mitsubishi GTO continued in Japan. The market had shifted towards minivans and SUVs, and the automakers responded accordingly. The 3000GT and Dodge Stealth still live on today, maintained by their small group of enthusiastic tuners.

    Models

    The Japanese Mitsubishi GTO came in various models including the base model, SL, VR4, and the lighter, tuned-up MR (Mitsubishi Racing). In the U.S., Canada, and Europe the 3000GT models included the base, SL, VR4 and in 1995 and 1996 there was a special edition hardtop convertible, or Spyder, versions of the SL and VR4 which were only available in the US. The Dodge Stealth carried the base, R/T, and R/T TT. In addition for the first three years, there was an ES model, and in 1994 there was an R/T Luxury model.

    Base model

    The 3000GT base model was at first the cheapest 3000GT, but slowly began to increase in price such that it approached the value of earlier 3000GT VR4s. From 1991 to 1996, the base model was powered by a 3.0 L DOHC 24-valve V6 engine at a 10.0:1 compression ratio. This engine produced 222 hp at 6000 RPM, while producing from 1991 to 1993 201 lb-ft. of torque at 4500 RPM, and from 1994 to 1996 205 lb-ft. at 4500 RPM. In 1997, there was a change in the engine used in the base model. From 1997 to its end in 1999, the base model used a 3.0 L SOHC 12-valve V6 at only 8.9:1 compression ratio. Producing 161 hp at 5500 RPM and 185 lb-ft. of torque at 4000 RPM, it is regarded by many enthusiasts as a “disgrace” to have been included in the powerful 3000GT family. Worst of all, the MSRP was still in the 25 to 27 thousand dollar range for such a drop in performance. All base models had a 5-speed manual transmission standard with overdrive and an automatic transmission as an option also with overdrive. The 3000GT had front wheel drive and had an independent front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension. The wheels consisted of 16” aluminum alloy rims with 225/55/VR16 tires.

    SL

    The 3000GT SL was the luxury version of the family. This model was mainly interpreted by the standard options that were not standard or available on the base models. Some examples were the rim size, ECS (Electronically Controlled Suspension), anti-lock brakes, alarm system, sunroof, cruise control, power options, leather, and in the last three years, the engine plus many others.

    Sticking through its whole life with a 3.0 L DOHC 24-valve V6 at a 10.0:1 compression ratio, it produced the original 222 hp at 6000 RPM. The torque from 1991 to 1993 was 201 lb-ft. at 4500 RPM and from 1994 to 1999 it was at 205 lb-ft. at 4500 RPM. The MSRP slowly went up from its first year at $25,000 to a $35,000 max in 1996 and continue around the lower 30s. Like the base model, it had a standard 5-speed manual transmission and an optional automatic transmission, both with overdrive. It was front wheel drive with the same independent suspension in front and multi-link in the back as the base model. The wheels consisted of 16” aluminum alloy rims from 1991 to 1996 with the chrome option in 1995 and 1996. From 1997 to 1999, the rims were upgraded to 17” chrome rims. The tires from 1991 to 1996 were 225/55/VR16 and from 1997 to 1999 they were 245/45/ZR17.

    VR4

    The monster of the family and the reason why the 3000GT is well known, the VR4 surpasses the rest in multiple aspects. Powered by an enormous 3.0 L DOHC 24-valve, twin-turbocharged, twin-intercooled V6, the VR4 produced either 300 hp at 6000 RPM and 307 lb-ft. of torque at 4500 RPM at 9 pounds/square inch of boost in the 1991 to 1993 models, or 320 hp at 6000 RPM and 315 lb-ft. of torque at 2500 RPM at 12 pounds/square inch of boost in the 1994 to 1999 VR4s. To compensate for the lost power in the 1991 to 1993 era, (because of the lower boost) a modification called the "Free Boost Modification" was made to increase the first generation VR-4 boost from 9 pounds/square inch of boost to 12 pounds/square inch of boost. This would successfully make the 3000GT VR-4 first generation make equal power to the second and third generation 3000GT VR-4. To help control all this surge of power, 1991 to 1993 VR4s used a Getrag-manufactured 5-speed manual transmission, while 1994 to 1999 VR4s used the 6-speed version of that same transmission. From there, power was set to the four wheels through an all wheel drive (AWD) system composed of a center VCU (Viscous Coupling Unit) differential sending equal torque to the front and, in 1994 and on, the rear limited-slip differentials. A standard four wheel steering (4WS) system turned the rear wheels slightly to improve handling when traveling at 30 mph or more. The VR4 also included bigger brakes with 4 piston calipers and 18" chromed alloy wheels with 245/40R18 Z rated tires. In addition to these specifications, there were multiple other options only available in the VR4. For instance, 1994+ VR4s had the 6-speed transmission. The VR4 also enjoyed the tunable exhaust, ECS, and the Active Aero system until 1994, 1995, and 1996, respectively. Other things included many standard options and options themselves only available on the VR4.

    Spyder

    A rare special edition version of the 3000GT SL and VR4 came out from 1995 to 1996 named the SL Spyder and VR4 Spyder. These convertibles had retractable hardtop, not softtop roofs. The Spyder was the first hardtop to come out in the US since the Ford Fairlane Skyliner. The Spyders were identical to their regular brothers in mechanical and body styling, except for the rims, rear fascia, and in the VR4 Spyder, the active aero system. One advantage of these Spyder models was that the extra weight of the motor that retracted the roof in the trunk equalized the weight of the car to 50:50, improving handling. The Spyder was discontinued in 1997 because of slow sales, but they are still regarded by many as amazing machines to see. Because of their being fabricated out of regular 3000GT's in the USA, the Spyder was never officially available in Europe and Japan.

    Active Aero

    VR4s from 1991 to 1996 included an Active Aero system. This system consisted of an electronically activated rear spoiler and a lowering front air dam under the front bumper. At a speed of 45 mph or more, the system activated and the front air dam lowered to reduce air flow from under the vehicle, which can cause lift. At the same time, the rear spoiler tilted at angle causing air flowing by to hit the wing surface, creating pressure, which in turn creates downforce on the rear of the car. When the car slowed down to 30 mph, the Active Aero system deactivated and the air dam retracted back and the spoiler returned flat. There would also be an option on the Active Aero to change the Auto to Regular or More Downforce.

    ECS

    SLs and VR4s from 1991 to 1995 had the ECS system, or electronically controlled suspension system. This system incorporated a computer controlled suspension that has two settings. These settings include “Sport” and “Tour” which were controlled by the driver and in accordance to the setting the system automatically switches the damping force in the four shock absorbers. In tour mode the computer uses the onboard speed, g-force, throttle position, and steering wheel angular velocity sensors to determine which of the three steps to set the shock absorbers to. These three steps are “Soft”, “Medium”, and “Hard”. In sport mode, the shocks are kept at a hard damping force for a more sporty feeling, better handling, and improve response. It should be noted, however, that any 3000GT that came with a power sunroof had the ECS option omitted.

    Adjustable exhaust

    Adjustable exhaust was available only in VR4s from 1991 to 1994. The basic operation of the adjustable exhaust is to control the flow of the exhaust gases. There are two modes, “Sport” and “Tour”, and in sport mode it allows the exhaust gases to flow more freely through the exhaust system lowering back pressure and thus improving power and performance, but at the cost of increased noise. In tour mode it reroutes the exhaust gases through the main muffler thus reducing the sound released by the exhaust gases, but this causes increased back pressure and lowered performance.

    First generation (1991)

    The first-generation 3000GTs were the upcoming introduction models. Compared to the later generations, the most noticeable difference in the generation one 3000GTs is that the headlights are pop-up. The second difference is the hood with the caps on top of the suspension area. Those were placed there to accommodate for the ECS connectors. Then there is the rear bumper with the black ripple plates on each side of the license plate. The last exterior change is the rims which were only 17 inches. Internally, though, there were two differences. First was the engine. Generation one 3000GT base and SL models produced 201 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4500 RPM and the 3000GT VR4’s produced 300 hp at 6000 RPM and 307 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4500 RPM. Secondly, the only transmission available on the VR4 was the 5-speed Getrag.

    The 3000GT's sold in Europe differed from those sold in USA and Japan. Most remarkably they featured headlight washer nozzles which were placed on a blind that replaced the parking light lenses. The parking light was separated from the headlight and moved to the front bumper to be combined with the turning signals and enlongated over the front fenders with a reflective blind. Also the only model available in Europe was the twin turbo version. Instead of the TD04-9b turbos of the American and Japanese version, the TD04-13g turbo was used alongside with a stronger version of the Getrag transmission to enable longer full-throttle drives on roads without a speed limit such as the German autobahn. In most countries the only option to the European 3000GT was the alarm system. The sunroof was not available. Except for that, it incorporated every option from the American version.

    Second generation (1994)

    Generation two 3000GT’s received a face-lift. The front bumper was changed lightly to accommodate regular headlights and small round fog lights. The hood was shaped to remove the caps for the ECS and the rear bumper was re-stylized. The engine on all models received a boost. The base and SL models got an increment in torque to 205 lbs.-ft. at 4500 RPM, while the 3000GT GT VR4 received a turbo boost from 9 pounds/square inch to 12 pounds/square inch in boost. This raised the power to 320HP at 6000 RPM and 315 lbs.-ft. of torque at 2500 RPM. To accommodate this increment in power the VR4 included a 6-Speed Getreg transmission and a limited-slip differential. In addition the interior was redesigned with dual air bags and R-134a refrigerant for the air conditioning. In 1995 and 1996 a special edition model of the SL and VR4 were sold. These were the hardtop convertible Spyder models. In 1995 the tunable exhaust was dropped and in 1996 the ECS was dropped. 1996 was the last year the 3000GT VR4 would have an active aero system.

    Gen 2.5 (1997)

    To provide accommodation for the drop of the active aero system the body was redesigned with a new front bumper with larger openings for less air flow restriction and a new arc-like tail (a.k.a. hoop spoiler). The base model received a drop in performance with the use of a SOHC engine producing only 161HP at 5500 RPM and 185 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4000 RPM.

    Third Generation (1999)

    Produced in 1999 it was the last 3000GT to be sold in the U.S. and Europe. The engine had a few small, unnoticeably updates, including new lifters that solved the dreaded "lifter tick" problem. The main changes were mainly exterior. A new front bumper was installed with an even wider opening in the middle and styling on the side air ducts were installed that lead to the intercoolers. New more aerodynamic headlights were installed with built-in turn signals and a redesigned taillight with a black insert with the reverse lights in it. The side panels were replaced to fully cover the side since earlier models suffered from peeling. Finally the most noticeable upgrade is the aggressive aerodynamic wing which trends from the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution models.

    That's about it. I found that from wikipedia, and I was slightly surprized when I noticed that there was some new information to me, like the 161 bhp soch model ( yuck.)

    Anyway, now to the test drive experience.

    Engine and drivetrain

    The acceleration is dynamic and smooth, with loads of low down torque. Six speed gearbox switches ratios quickly and even though they're rather long, there's no need to torture the engine to the redline. useful torque/power range is 2500-6000 rpms, and whereas the torque is at the low range, power is at 6000 rpms. of course, the engine revs to 7500, but after 6k, it begins to feel rather weak. 3000GT MR is AWD, with 40/60 torque distribution. This also enables smooth, or even agile handling. The suspension is rather soft, because, as the name implies, this is a GT car - a grand tourer. But, the MR ( stands for Mitsubishi Racing ) badge means, that it also has uprated suspension, 40 kg's lighter body and few other improvements over the normal VR-4.

    Body

    Whereas the other japanese AWD super coupe, Skyline GT-R is sedanish and boxy-looking thru last three generations, 3000GT's styling is something what you'd expect from Pininfarina, Giugiaro or Ferrari! Sleek, flowing coupe body, that oozes more testosterone than whole WWE-series tells to everyone that this is a supercar disguised as sportscar. Gaping maw sucks air to intercoolers, and that huge rear spoiler keeps the rear tyres in the tarmac at high speeds. This cars looks make my knees weak every time.

    Handling

    Even though 3000GT is most heavy of all Japanese supercoupes, it handles almost better than Honda NSX for example. I expected this car to understeer, refuse to slow down and I have to admit, this car just obliterated my doubts after few corners. It's more like driving a light Evo 8 than some luxury GT-coupe like it is! Stomp on the brakes and the nose dives, and so dives the speedo needle. Slightly lift off the throttle and you'll go on rails. Tap brakes and you'll have more fun than in a rollercoaster! It just flips the rear to side when you have managed to do the weight shift correctly, and after that, it simply goes when you floor the go-pedal. Brilliant! I Have to lift my hat to those engineers at Mitsubishi Motors for making a car that weights almost as much as small merc and handles like MX-5. (Note: be careful when braking slowly from high speeds in a corner. the weight shifts very easily and once the car has started veering, it's almost impossible to stop. thus, try to keep the car straight when braking, and turn after stopping braking..)

    Buying Price: approx 40k credits. 36418 miles.. despite what they say in GTP, I haven't found an MR model with 6.2 miles on it. only '95 VR-4 has 6.2 miler..

    Stock power, in bhp: 313bhp @ 6000 rpms
    Stock torque, in ft/lb: 354.63 ft/lbs @ 2500 rpms
    Stock weight: 1670kg

    Stock 1/4 mile in:13.750
    Stock 1000m in:25.121

    Stock 0-30mph in seconds: 1.780
    stock 0-60mph in seconds :5.280
    Stock 0-100mph in seconds: 13.260
    Top Speed:171.5 mph

    Time at GVS:2'13.885 ( much fun on this course! )
    Time at EC:1'59.888 ( curves after uphill/downhill are poison to this car. be careful..)
     
  2. 90sEnthusiast

    90sEnthusiast

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    185
    Location:
    United States
    Excellent review. In real life, the second gen cars can do low to mid 13s stock. I ran a best of 13.29@103.45 in one of mine when it was stock (on YT somewhere) this was years ago. The 2g spanked all the others I'm a straight line except for the Supra which can only pass from a dig at 100-120mph depending on launch of said VR4.

    Cheers mate :cheers:

    I'm playing GTS, and started when they dropped the 1991 GTO Twin Turbo, happy the platform was in the game and PISSED that it wasn't a second generation one. Even so, it still beats the 300ZX TT stock until over 120mph with a head start for the Z!

    So, I gave the GTO the 2gs gears and 3.87:1 final drive ratio with the exact gears of a 2g, as well as keeping the weight the same at 3,710 lbs. To keep it as close as possible, i put top speed at 149mph.
    RATIOS:
    1. 47 mph (40mph IRL)
    2. 69 mph (Same as IRL)
    3. 106 mph (Same as IRL)
    4. 136 mph (143mph IRL, I do hit 143mph at redline)
    5. 165mph (159mph IRL)

    Well, that changed everything! All N300 and some N400 cars lose from the dig and never catch up, just like the older 2gs and in real life! It's still a bit wonky due to it not being a Getrag 6 speed, but it's as close as you're gonna get in GTS!!!:gtpflag: