By on June 8, 2020

Mitsubishi Logo

You may have spotted a crop of recent headlines and briefly thought that Mitsubishi has designs on returning to the sports car market.

Sorry to burst that particular bubble.

However, if, like me, you spent at least a portion of the 1990s daydreaming about the 3000GT, a report from Motor1 suggests that you might have reason to dream. Well, only if the automaker listens to outsiders who have talent and enthusiasm but not an employee ID.

A rendering has shown a possible future for Mitsubishi high-end sports cars – the 4000GT.

Renderings don’t mean much, especially when they come from a third party and not the automaker itself, but if one is inclined to hope, the 4000GT has the spirit of the old one while also sporting a modernized look.

The lines are sharper, and the overhangs are no longer equal – the front overhang is long and the rear is short. There’s a giant wing out back that would make a Subaru STi green with envy. One feature from the past pops up – pop-up headlights. Pun intended, and I’m not sorry.

Daytime running lights and the rear lights both run the car’s full width.

Since it’s just a drawing, there are no specs, but if it were me running Mitsubishi, I’d find a twin-turbo six, a manual trans, and an all-wheel-drive system.

Of course, if it were me running Mitsubishi, the Eclipse Cross would have a different name, the vehicles would be better in terms of build quality, an Eclipse sport coupe would still exist, and this car would be built.

But I run this blog (at least up to a point…I have corporate masters to answer to), not a car company. I can make up a fantasy lineup without being beholden to bean-counters and business realities.

And the business reality for Mitsubishi isn’t good, which makes me think this car won’t ever come to fruition. Alas, it exists as merely a design exercise, in all likelihood.

Too bad, because Toyota’s new Supra needs more competition.

[Image: Mitsubishi]

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12 Comments on “The Mitsubishi That Could Be, but Almost Certainly Won’t...”

  • avatar

    Another car whose styling I find to be ugly. Maybe I’m showing my age but a 928 is edgy in a good way and a 993 coupe in Arena Red is breathtaking.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    In the US market, Mitsubishi is rebounding nicely, *without* a mythical 3000/4000GT in the lineup.

    Year – Sales – Share%
    2012 57,790 0.40%
    2013 62,227 0.40%
    2014 77,643 0.47%
    2015 95,342 0.55%
    2016 96,267 0.55%
    2017 103,686 0.60%
    2018 118,074 0.68%
    2019 121,046 0.71%

    In its best year, the 3000GT sold 15k copies, which was 8% of its lineup in 1994. Average sales were half of that.

    The Mitsubishi nostalgia is thick around here. Maybe people don’t like the ‘new’ Mitsubishi because it’s different from the ‘old’ Mitsu.

    But who else can say they’ve had 8 straight years of growth, while nearly doubling their market share? Maybe now they can afford to introduce a sporty car, but it will never ‘save’ them – that’s been the job of the Mirage and their CUV/SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I mean if total sales right up there with Lincoln only on vehicles with considerably lower margins is successful, OK.

      The Eclipse and 3000GT were aspirational vehicles that people wanted. That was good for the brand. Incidentally you mention 1994. They sold 80,000 more cars that year than 2019.

      Maybe a 2 door sports car isn’t the answer, but they need something so that people don’t think the words “Mirage” or “Subprime” when they hear Mitsubishi.

  • avatar

    The enthusiasts dream of interesting products, the stockholders dream of massive growth and products. Too bad those aren’t compatible. Apparently.

  • avatar

    Rebadge the Renault Alpine A110 as Mitsubishi Starion. Provides a lifeline to the Alpine assembly facility and provides a halo car to Mitsubishi without the cost to engineer one.

  • avatar

    Mitsu needs to go where the money is, mainstream vehicles. Here in the US that would be blocky utility vehicles. My hunch is that they would make more money bringing back the Montero that is now in its fourth generation overseas. Even in their heyday, sports coupes had short shelf life. Sales tapered off quickly a year or two after a new design was introduced. SUVs have more staying power.

    I do dream of a modern Eclipse though, lightweight, sophisticated and refined, easily affordable, and fast enough to keep up with cars costing at least twice as much. In 1990 there was the choice of a 5-liter Mustang, the turbo Eclipse offering the most acceleration of any vehicle. One had to go to a Corvette or a Porsche to out run the Ford or Mitsu, and their prices were about triple or more.

  • avatar

    Mitsu can start selling pick up truck their medium size pick up should grab some market share. Their SUV are not bad it’s sad to see a Dakkar Rally winner can’t sell SUV in the SUV land. Or at least try to sell some CUV based on the smaller cars or share parts with Renault and Nissan. If you want to compete in the market make sure send the best products not just watered down products.

  • avatar

    Look at the decline of brz/86/frs sales and youll see why this car will never happen no matter how much people my age with 90s nostalga for the eclipse and 3000gt wish for it.

    • 0 avatar

      Correct. I had ’96 Eclipse GS-T and it was a blast to drive… but small, sporty, turbo, hatchback is not going to be a market winner unless price was bottom of the barrel. And if that is the case then it wouldn’t be very profitable rendering the whole idea way too risky. Best to keep to pushing out CUV things that people will actually purchase if you want your company to stay afloat. I wish it wasn’t the case but I’ve come to accept the reality that those small fun imports I drove in the late 80s thru mid 90s aren’t coming back.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree Mitsubishi needs to go with mainstream vehicles such as crossovers and small compact car which they are already doing. They should add a simple compact pickup to their product lineup.

  • avatar
    John R

    Shooosh! “Ghost in the Shell”, take me away!

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