No car I’ve seen seems to divide opinion more than the Mitsubishi GTO.
Many have tagged it as the joke car of the gentleman’s agreement period of Japanese cars, with people saying it was ahead of its time…in that it was massively overweight before the majority of sportscars became fat and bloated, that they’re all now mostly perpetually broken project cars…
I’m in the opposite camp, one of people who like the GTO. I thought it was a pretty small camp though until I stated that I was probably the only person who liked it.
Then many people came out and said they had a soft spot for it, and that they wished Mitsubishi did something like it today. And suddenly I felt not so alone.
One common like for the GTO comes from what a legend it has been in Gran Turismo, which is of course why we’re on this forum. (Shh.) Everybody reminisces about the mad power that GT1’s GTO came with and how it won them a ton of races. And having driven one there, they’re right. The speeds that thing managed were biblical. Even in the current game, they still are.
I liked it for rather more than that though. This was one of the cars born from Japan’s sportscar frenzy, named after the Galant GTO. Though outside of Japan it was the 3000GT by which it was often referred to.
Earlier GTOs were complex and gizmo-laden machines, but this one is from 1997, by which point they’d mostly been stripped out. The look had changed in that time too. Before 1993 the GTO looked a world different, with a vastly different front end featuring pop-up headlights. They were rid of and the face on this model was introduced, though the spoiler has changed in the meantime. Rather than the flatter, original spoiler or the madly done wing on the last models, this one packs the curvy spoiler. It’s elegant, but rather boring, if I’m honest. I prefer the biggest of the spoilers, personally.
With all-wheel-drive, acceleration is often pretty great, and with 320bhp actually underneath the twin-turbo V6, it keeps on going rather well up the hills of Road Atlanta’s long straight. With that in mind, it’ll be even better without the hills, so keep that in mind.
If I’m honest though, the weight does make itself known often. The result is that it drives about what you’d expect – and unfortunately all the negatives are accentuated. 4WD keeps plenty of grip but it’s not enough to get the large, heavy body moving quickly enough. Braking also proved a danger, sometimes.
However, the GTO will only really go wrong like this if you really wring its neck. If you just keep it calm and steady, it’ll do perfectly alright. So that’s just what I did. And there, it was perfectly fine. The soundtrack from the V6, coming out of those four exhausts, also made it a damn sight better, with the sound getting better as the car slowly but surely worked its way up the revs.
I’d go out and say you should all buy a GTO and try it at some point, if you even remotely like it. It’s just a shame that so many don’t…the poor thing.