Mitsubishi Starion Turbo
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
was a notable year for Mitsubishi
; after the introduction of the Lancer Turbo, with its advanced engine technology, the company spread the turbo
influence throughout its range, with Turbo
versions of the Galant, Sapporo, and even the little Colt. Their final card was the Starion coupe, introduced - unusually for a Japanese car - at the Geneva Show. Family traits were shown by the wheelbase, which at 95.9 inches was similar to that of the Lancer, but the track was wider and the car can be viewed as a totally individual model.
The Starion Turbo was of front-engine/rear-drive layout and the all-round independent suspension
used MacPherson struts with coil springs at the front, located by transverse arms and trailing links, and a similar coil-spring/damper assembly at the rear with fabricated lower suspension
members. Gas-filled dampers and anti-roll bars
were fitted both front and rear. Recirculating ball steering
was employed, with a power option, and ventilated discs were standard all round. An optional extra was an ABS-type anti-lock system.
The engine was Mitsubishi's well known four-cylinder with twin counter-rotating balance shafts, in its 1997 cc form. At the time, Mitsubishi opted for the Mitsubishi Astron engine with a single-camshaft head (SOHC) rather than the dual cam head, and also for a throttle-body fuel injection
setup which mixed the fuel with the air prior to entering the plenum chamber. Mitsubishi's electronic control system used ultrasonic waves to measure the incoming air. A knock-sensing device was also fitted.
The engine produced 125 kW (170 hp) at 5500 rpm and 245 Nm (180 Ib-ft) of torque at 3500 rpm. Drive was through a five-speed manual box and a limited slip diff. was available as an option. The body was a 2-door coupe with a hatchback and folding rear seats. Some 174 inches long, it had the angularly sloping front end and retractable head lamps then fashionable on up-market Japanese sports coupes through the 1980's, and performance to match its racy looks - a top speed of 220 km/h (136 mph) and a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 7.6 sec.
Equipment was very complete, with an adjustable steering
column and seats which adjusedt in no less than six different ways. The front seatbelts were mounted in a unique manner in the doors, improving access to the rear of the car, and trim throughout was very good, with leather seats. During production, the Starion was produced in both a narrowbody and widebody, in later years ('86.5-89). The design proved durable and few changes were made between models, with only simple improvements demarking the change from one model to the next. In the United States market, there was only one major change when the car was upgraded to the ESI-r (Conquest TSi) model; this model featured an intercooler and five-bolt wheels, replacing the four-bolt wheels it had inherited from the rear wheel drive Mitsubishi Galant Lambda.
Production ceased entirely by 1990, and its successor, the GTO was fitted with the mechanicals of the recently demonstrated Mitsubishi HSX Sports Coupe concept vehicle. Many of the performance features of the Starion were integrated into later vehicles and can be found in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, in the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, and the Mitsubishi Eclipse.
Modern Motor took a Starion to Castlereagh Dragway. Zero to 60 km/h was timed at 3.73 seconds and 100 km/h came up in 9.29seconds. The standing 400 metres took 16.58 seconds. The Starion's fifth gear gave 38.3 km/h per 1000 revs, which made for easy cruising and an ultimate top speed of 203 km/h, however later road tests put the top speed at 220 km/h. The Starion's ride was firm, in true sporting car tradition. However, it handled most surfaces well and the solid ride penalty was a small price to pay for predictable high-speed motoring. The firm damping and springs
, and subsequent elimination of unnecessary fore-aft pitch under optimum braking and acceleration, made for a pleasantly-behaved motor car for the enthusiast driver.
A heavy car for its size, the Starion was involved in an unofficial structural integrity test at a very wet Amaroo race meeting. With the rain bucketing down and visibility limited, production racer Allen Fender ploughed into a stationary rival at around 130 km/h. It was a savage impact and Fender's Starion looked badly mangled. But further investigation showed that the damage was essentially cosmetic.
Behind the Wheel
Wide B-posts restricted rearward vision, but otherwise the Starion's cockpit was functional and comfortable. The front buckets were adjustable every which way - slide, recline, lumbar support, head restraint angle, thigh support and (the bonus) body side support. The driver could virtually wrap the seat around themselves and then complete the location with clever door-mounted seat belts that moved out of the way when the door was opened. The interior, though well apointed, was subtle and austere to the eye, unlike other Japanese sports couples of the era - notably the Nissan Z, which was all brazen and flashy. However Mitsubishi
overdid the subtlety with its too-austere sound gear.
Australian Starion Turbo Models:
2.0 L 4G63 engine. Australian vehicles were mostly similar to the European TURBO
specification. The J codes below denote the model version, and are found on the Australian Vehicle Information Plates.
JA - 1982–1984
JB - 1984–1985
JD - 1985–1987