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Mitsubishi Eclipse JDM Gained Performance

Mitsubishi Eclipse JDM sports coupe gained fame worldwide as an attainable performance car thanks to turbocharged power and all-wheel drive traction. But JDM models took the formula even further with unique engines and handling upgrades cementing the Eclipse’s tuner cred.

Mitsubishi Eclipse JDM AWD Turbo Power Arrives

Mitsubishi launched the first-generation Eclipse in 1989 as their affordable sports coupe. Initial models packed a lively turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder pumping out a respectable 145 horsepower.

However, Japanese buyers also got exclusive access to a potent 195 horsepower 4G63 turbo engine for blistering performance. Paired to standard all-wheel drive, this exclusive Eclipse became a Japanese muscle car hiding in a small coupe.

Type-R and RS – Turning Up the Heat

Seeking more capability, Mitsubishi developed the beefed-up Eclipse RS in 1993. Engine output climbed to 217 horsepower while bigger brakes improved stopping power. Further enhancement came via the limited Type-R version, which added Recaro seats and Bilstein shocks.

These amped-up JDM-only Eclipses could outrun V8 sports cars thanks to serious turbo grunt and tenacious AWD traction off the line. Mitsubishi celebrated enthusiasts at home by keeping the hottest versions in Japan.

GSX – Hardcore Rally Homologation

The second-generation GSX Eclipse of 1995 took performance another step forward thanks to technology gained from Mitsubishi’s rally efforts. The new 4G63T engine packed up to 280 horsepower fed through a stiffer chassis and limited-slip differentials.

1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX AWD 5-Speed

Bilstein shocks, Brembo brakes, and 17-inch wheels delivered serious capability expected from a rally homologation special. Evolutionary enhancements made the GSX a world beater at a modest price.

Mitsubishi Eclipse JDM Unlimited Tuning Potential

Of course, the Eclipse’s sturdy construction and potent 4G63 turbo motor made it catnip for tuners. Big horsepower gains came from cam upgrades, bigger turbos, and engine management tweaks. The AWD system ensured ample traction for outrageous speed.

On the handling front, aftermarket suspension components allowed lowering the center of gravity and reducing understeer. Strong enthusiast demand spawned a huge range of upgrades for all Eclipse generations to crush quarter miles and road courses.

AWD Drivetrains

Mitsubishi channeled its rally expertise into the Eclipse by adopting advanced all-wheel drive technology. This proactive system could route torque front-to-rear and even side-to-side between wheels to maximize grip.

Sophisticated differentials further optimized traction off the line and through corners. Mitsubishi gave the Eclipse supercar traction abilities belying its coupe dimensions – a huge advantage over rivals still relying solely on rear-wheel drive.

Weight Savings Maximize Performance

While growing in power and sophistication, Mitsubishi kept curb weights impressively low through the generations. Extensive aluminum suspension components reduced unsprung mass for sharper handling reflexes.

Rigid chassis designs enabled using thinner gauge metal in non-structural areas to remove pounds without sacrificing rigidity. Keeping mass down was pivotal to take full advantage of the potent forced induction drivetrains under the hood.

Mitsubishi Eclipse JDM Built for Japanese Enthusiasts

While Eclipse models eventually reached worldwide, Mitsubishi clearly favored Japanese buyers by reserving the most hardcore variants like the Type R and GSX exclusively for the JDM market.

Local driving enthusiasts got access to uncompromised Eclipses dialed up to 11 for performance versus considerations like emissions or fuel costs. This focus cemented loyal JDM fans that cherish these special versions decades on.

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