In the history of 1990s Japanese performance cars, everyone knows the obvious ones: the Acura NSX. The Toyota Supra. The Nissan 300ZX, the Mitsubishi 3000GT and the Mazda RX-7. Some remember the Subaru SVX, and it occasionally happens that the "DSM" cars get mentioned: the sporty cars built in a joint Chrysler–Mitsubishi venture at the "Diamond Star Motors" production facility in Illinois. Those were the Mitsubishi Eclipse, the Eagle Talon and the Plymouth Laser.
One car that’s often forgotten in this discussion, however, is a high-performance Japanese sedan we got in the 1990s: the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4. The Galant VR-4 was a high-performance version of Mitsubishi’s Galant sedan, and it’s noteworthy especially because it used the exact same drivetrain as the high-performance versions of the Eclipse, the Talon and the Laser: a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that made about 200 horsepower, coupled with all-wheel drive and a stick shift.
Now, 200 hp may not seem like much, but the Galant of the period — the early 1990s — was much smaller than midsize sedans of today, and in fact it only weighed something like 3,200 pounds. Helping matters was that AWD system and manual transmission, which really made the car feel sporty and exciting.
And, indeed, the Galant VR-4 was sporty and exciting, for the few years it was made. I can’t pin down the exact model years, but it came and went quickly, as there wasn’t much of a market for it — a shame, due to its "sport compact" status, and the fact that it offered sports car performance in a more rational, practical 4-door sedan.
Indeed, the Galant VR-4 is one of the unremembered 1990s Japanese performance cars — but it deserves a little recognition and appreciation, especially from those of us who appreciate the rare stuff. Find a Mitsubishi Galant for sale
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