In the 1990s, Japanese car companies were busy showing the world what they could do. Up until the late 1980s, most Japanese cars were non-descript transportation pods, favoured by company fleet managers. They then figured out how to make cars that the rest of the world would want to buy, and the rest, as they say, is history.
‘Halo cars’ are designed to bring attention to the carmaker, as they’re an exciting way to show off what the car company can do. The 1990s were filled with these attention-grabbers from Japan, and many offered performance that was equal to many supercars of the day. The Mitsubishi 3000GT is one such car.
Like most sports coupes, the Mitsubishi 3000GT offered generous room for front passengers, while the rear seats were best used as parcel shelves. The top of the centre stack features 3 clever round gauge portals moulded at an angle to face the driver. Below that is a nifty climate control graphical display, and below that is the radio head unit, complete with a graphic equalizer (provided the car is stock). The seats hug you nicely, and there are 5 electric adjustments so the driver can get perfectly comfortable. It’s common to find wear and small tears on the outside bolster, but those can be easily repaired by a competent upholsterer.
When it was new, the Mitsubishi GTO/Mitsubishi 3000GT was priced in Porsche territory. Thus, it came with an appropriate level of kit, like power windows and climate control. But the real draw wasn’t the toys; it was the performance. Under the hood lived a 24-valve DOHC 3.0L V6, which came with multi-point fuel injection, multi-coil ignition, two turbos, and two intercoolers. The result of all this mechanical madness was 210kW and a staggering 407Nm of torque that was fed to all four wheels via a viscous coupled centre and rear differential.
Underpinning this Japanese super coupe were 4 electronically controlled dampers, which were constantly being adjusted by the car’s computer, based on the data sent by numerous sensors. If the car thought you were just cruising down a dirt track, the shocks would be at their softest setting, but if the ECU recognized that you were bombing down a curvy road, individual shocks could be immediately firmed up to reduce body roll.
On the road, the Mitsubishi 3000GT behaved like a comfortable grand tourer, until you asked it to be naughty. There was even a four-wheel steering system that canted the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, at speeds above 50 km/h; however, this feature, along with the active suspension, was discontinued after 1995.
A more extreme JDM version dubbed ‘MR’ (Mitsubishi Racing) can often be found on the market, but be sure it comes with a full service history.
As we mentioned earlier, the Mitsubishi 3000GT was powered by a twin-turbo dual overhead camshaft 3.0L V6, which made 210kW and 407Nm of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 9.5L/100km.
The Mitsubishi 3000GT was an expensive car when it was new, so it came with a pretty comprehensive list of standard equipment. Some of the kit included electric windows, central locking, power heated side mirrors, climate control, power drivers seat, four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS and 17-inch wheels, a driver’s side airbag, driving lights, projector beam headlights (on later models), a full complement of gauges, and a 5-speed manual transmission.
When the Mitsubishi 3000GT was new, it offered similar performance to the more expensive German super GTs, like the Porsche 928 S4 and BMW 8-Series. The Mitsubishi wasn’t quite as powerful or precise, but it was still a fast car. More direct competition came from the Mazda RX7, Nissan 300ZX Turbo, and the imported twin-turbo Toyota Supra.
All three offered blistering acceleration and gravity-defying cornering, but the Mitsubishi 3000GT had a much more comfortable ride and a more commodious interior. That said, it is a more complicated vehicle, and it will require a knowledgeable mechanic to service it.