Mitsubishi FTO

Carpedia

Jan 27th, 2020

Mitsubishi FTO

The Mitsubishi FTO is a two-door coupe with a front-wheel drive produced in Japan from 1994 to 2000. FTO stands for the Italian Fresco Turismo Omologato which translates to "Fresh Touring Origination". The FTO badge has its roots from the early 1970s Mitsubishi Galant FTO, a two-door Galant that was eventually replaced by the Lancer Celeste or Chrysler Celeste.

The FTO was never released in the US, and it was only sold in Australia and the UK as a grey market import initially. Due to its popularity, however, Australian dealers were able to sell it directly towards the end of its production.

Models and Drivetrain

The FTO came with options for a 4-cylinder engine or a choice of two V6 power plants. The models can be verified through the VIN codes below:

  • 1.8L 4G93 SOHC I4 (92 kW/ 166 Nm)
    • GS - DE2A HNUE 5-speed Manual
    • GS - DE2A HRUE 4-speed semi-auto
  • 2.0L 6A12 DOHC V6 (110 kW/ 181 Nm) 
    • GR - DE3A HNHM 5-speed Manual
    • GR - DE3A HNHM 4-speed semi-auto
    • 1995 GR Limited Edition - DE3A HNHM3 5-speed Manual
    • 1995 GR Limited Edition - DE3A HRHM3 4-speed semi-auto 
    • GR Sports Package - DE3A HNHM4 5-speed Manual
    • GR Sports Package - DE3A HRHM4 4-speed semi-auto
  • 2.0L 6A12 DOHC MIVEC V6 (147 kW/ 200 Nm)           
    • GPX - DE3A HNGH 5-speed Manual
    • GPX - DE3A HRGH 4-speed semi-auto
    • 1995 GPX LE “Coty” - DE3A HNGH2 5-speed Manual
    • 1995 GPX LE “Coty” - DE3A HRGH2 4-speed semi-auto
    • 1996 GP - DE3A HNFH 5-speed Manual
    • 1996 GP - DE3A HRFH 4-speed semi-auto 
    • 1996 GP Special - DE3A HNFH2 5-speed Manual
    • 1996 GP Special - DE3A HRFH2 4-speed semi-auto

The MIVEC-powered variants featured larger front brake callipers with twin pistons as opposed to single-piston units on other models. The 4-speed semi-automatic was later replaced from 1997 onward by the 5-speed semi-automatic and was the first introduction of the Invecs-II Tiptronic that allowed the driver to change gears manually.

Suspension duties were handled by MacPherson struts with coil springs and an anti-roll bar up front and multi-link with anti-roll bar at the rear. The engine outputs may look underpowered for a sports coupe. However, we take as an example the GPX, which weigh 1,200 kg. It could launch from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds and was capable of a top speed of 210 km/h. The Invecs-II-fitted GPX did suffer from being an automatic even if it had a manual shift capability and would take 9.1 seconds to do a 0-100 km/h. 

Styling and Features

The FTO lived up to Mitsubishi’s goals of a “fun-to-drive car with well-balanced proportions”. The exterior styling looked very aerodynamic with the front bumper sloping to its headlamps and continuing with the raking front and rear windscreens. Its front air dams extended to the side and rear. It donned a wide fender and sporty side mirrors giving a very sleek coupe appeal.

The GS was shod with 14-inch wheels, while the GR had 15-inch wheels on with a rear spoiler available as an option. The GPX was fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler and side air dams as standard equipment. The GP and GP Special models also sported 16-inch alloy wheels and had the Nakaya-Tune “semi-race spec” dealer package and contained upgrades on the brake pads, carbon-fibre lip spoiler and upgraded Ohlins shock absorbers. The Nakaya-Tune FTO package was also offered as an option to other V6-powered units.

Inside, there's an automatic climate control AC system. The FTO was not endowed with a high-quality interior finish but more typical of the era’s mass-produced cars with plastic trims and cloth interior. The FTO did have numerous options lists, some offering ABS, manual air conditioning, drivers' airbag, and a few more, making the grey imports unpredictable with respect to their equipment by the time they reach the dealers' lots.

A mid-cycle refresh in 1997 modified the two air intakes into one large unit and incorporated into a new bumper which also contained four separate circular headlamp units. The rear spoiler was redesigned with a further option for a wider unit when the "Version R" badge was introduced.

FTO Today

Not a lot of FTOs were imported into Australia, but you might still find a few of them sold as secondhand units. This would typically be the V6-powered cars, and some would have the MIVEC engines. Beware though of the lesser-powered V6 units being sold as MIVEC. To be sure, check the VIN and the oil filler, which should be on the left side for the MIVEC engine. The FTO can also still be imported from JDM sources and is always a sought-after coupe due to its rarity and novelty.

Body, trim and mechanical parts would be expensive and hard to source, but we can help you in that aspect. Head on to our website, Carpart.com.au, and find a vast array of car parts sold by thousands of sellers from all over Australia. You may send us a parts request, too, and we will gladly help you find the best deals.


Fred Cajulis