Mitsubishi Sports Cars from the Past – The Mitsubishi Starion 4WD
This week on our segment about “Mitsubishi Sports Cars from the Past”, we want to pay a little respect to a vehicle that never got off the Launchpad but couldn’t been something great before moving onto the likes of the Mitsubishi Eclipse, 3000GT VR-4, and the Colt. And yes, that last one shares a name with a Dodge car because the Dodge Colt was actually a subcompact car that was manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors and marketed by Dodge for model years 1971 to 1994. Anyways, the vehicle in the spotlight today is the one and only Mitsubishi Starion 4WD, revealed back in 2021, but never having seen the light of day.
Mitsubishi Motors has been known for some amazing rally race cars. Mitsubishi held seven championship titles, having won the World Rally Championship with the Lancer IV and Lancer V with rally ace Tommi Makinen behind the wheel. Another well-known vehicle that took part in the races was the Mitsubishi Starion. At the time, Rally B cars were still allowed to enter the race, and the Starion was a part of the high-performance Mitsubishi “Rally B Group” lineup. This is one vehicle that the Mitsubishi group Ralliart got a chance to customize, and we wonder how it would have fared if not cancelled. Rally B cars were banned after an incident during an incident during the 1986 Tour de Corse rally when Mitsubishi driver and co-pilot, Champion Henri Toivonen and co-pilot Sergio Cresto, respectively, had a fatal incident.
Respectfully moving past this, the Mitsubishi Starion 4WD was the next vehicle to get the Ralliart treatment. Known to increase the performance of rally cars, the Ralliart group was also a favorite amongst consumers. Doubling as an aftermarket parts and accessories retailer, consumers who owned a Mitsubishi vehicle could modify them for racing potential. Of course, the Lancer Evolution remains the favorite amongst amateurs and competitors alike, known for it’s easy to do modification and the catalog of parts that were available. The revival of Ralliart was a blessing for some, and that’s what got us thinking about the Starion 4WD.
The tune-up outfitted the Mitsubishi Starion 4WD with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, able to generate up to 350 horsepower. According to the PR, this model would also have an “Evolution” nameplate released down the line, following the Lancer EVO, with a 2.14-liter engine powering the Starion 4WD Evolution. Man, now that would’ve looked cool. A modern version would be received with a warm welcome, for sure, but Mitsubishi Motors is deadest on SUVs and crossovers in the North American market. The closest we have to a new rally car is the e-Evolution concept.
We’re not saying a high-performance all-electric crossover is impossible, but we rather see a coupe or all-electric sports car come from Mitsubishi Motors. The Starion 4WD and Startion 4WD Evolution were never meant to be, but why show us concept art from over 20 years ago if there aren’t any plans to revive the model? It just doesn’t feel like Mitsubishi Motors is giving us the whole story on its plans for future models.
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