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2004 Engine Epic - Mitsubishi Engines

We look at the most desirable modern engines from Mitsubishi...

By Michael Knowling

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Mitsubishi has a well-earned reputation for building potent small to medium sized power plants. A pioneer of early '80s turbocharging, Mitsubishi is responsible for manufacturing the award winning (and stunning to drive!) Lancer Evolution range. Some truly grunty sixes have also been released - through MMC (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation) the big 3000GT (aka GTO) and via MMAL (Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited) the TJ-series Ralliart Magna. And don't forget the MIVEC screamers - yep, Mitsubishi obviously knows how to produce a top-notch engine.

Mitsubishi petrol engines are identified by a simple - but easy to muddle - code system. Engine codes begin with a number (which indicates the number of cylinders), followed by a G (for gasoline) and a two-digit number. The first digit of the number indicates the engine family and the second digit identifies the engine model. Here are most of the performance Mitsubishi engine codes deciphered...

Engine Code

Engine Cylinders/Capacity

4G91

4/1.5 litre

4G92

4/1.6 litre

4G93

4/1.8 litre

4G61

4/1.6 litre

4G62

4/1.8 litre

4G63

4/2.0 litre

6A12

6/2.0 litre

6A13

6/2.5 litre

6G72

6/3.0 litre

6G73

6/2.5 litre

6G74

6/3.5 litre

8A80

8/4.5-litre

Mitsubishi V8s...

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There has been only one V8 engine produced by Mitsubishi in recent times. Fitted to the Japanese market MMC Dignity and Proudia saloons is the 8A80 4.5-litre V8 with DOHC, 32-valve breathing and GDI. For an explanation of GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) check out http://www.autospeed.com/cms/A_0655/article.html This bent-eight's output is the Japanese regulation 206kW at 5000 rpm and 412Nm at 4000 rpm. Note that this engine has never been factory fitted to a high-performance vehicle - it's intended to lug around heavy luxury vehicles.

Mitsubishi Sixes...

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The largest capacity six-cylinder currently manufactured by Mitsubishi is its 6G74 3.5-litre V6. Australian readers should be familiar with the SOHC version of this engine - it has been standard fitment to the Magna/Verada range for the last few years. The local 6G74 3.5-litre V6 is currently available with a base output of 155kW at 5250 rpm and 316Nm at 4000 rpm. This is achieved running a single overhead camshaft per bank, 24-valves, a 9.0:1 compression ratio and a Karman Vortex airflow meter.

Simple exhaust changes (along with slight remapping of the ECU) give more sporting versions of the current Magna/Verada an extra 8kW and 1Nm. Note that this same 163kW output has been available since the introduction of the TJ-series Magna Sports/VRX.

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If you want mega grunt from the SOHC 3.5-litre V6 you can't go past the TJ Series 2 Ralliart Magna. This motor cranks out 180kW at 5500 rpm and 333Nm at 4000 rpm with ease. To achieve these outputs, Mitsubishi Australia took the base SOHC 6G74 and upped the compression ratio (to a mild 9.4:1), modified the head and combustion chamber, fitted more aggressive camshafts (with unique valve springs), improved exhaust flow and developed a pair of headers. The ECU was also remapped to suit.

Although extremely impressive, the Ralliart Magna's 180kW output is bettered by the 191kW Japanese market MMC Debonair. The top-line Debonair uses the same 6G74 3.5-litre V6 bottom-end but is crowned with double overhead cam heads and a highly efficient 10.0:1 compression ratio. Its 191kW maximum output is reached at 6000 rpm and 324Nm is available at 4500 rpm. Impressive stuff - isn't it a pity the Australian 3.5-litre Magna/Verada doesn't come with DOHC heads?

But the most powerful six in the Mitsubishi line-up is not the big 3.5-litre...

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A massive 206kW and 427Nm (at 6000 and just 2500 rpm respectively) is on tap from the 6G72 twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6. This engine came fitted to the Mitsubishi 3000GT/GTO, which was discontinued in Japan in 2000. In addition to having twin (simultaneous) turbochargers, this engine boasts DOHC, 24-valve breathing, 8.0:1 static compression, twin air-to-air intercoolers and a sophisticated management system. This is one of the most underrated performance engines outa Japan - a stonker.

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That same 206kW output is also achieved by the even smaller 2.5-litre 6A13 twin-turbo V6 - as fitted to vehicles such as the Japanese market Galant VR4 (late model). Not surprisingly given its modest capacity, the 6A13 TT needs more revs than the 6G72 TT to get cookin' - peak torque (363Nm) is found at 4000 rpm but, interestingly, peak power is found at a relatively low 5500 rpm. This engine uses a similar simultaneous turbo set-up to the GTO, incorporates DOHC, 24-valve breathing and an 8.5:1 static compression ratio.

The Japanese market Diamante 30M (similar to the Australian Verada) was also released with an optional 198kW version of the 6G72 3.0-litre V6. It cranked out this power thanks to the fitment of DOHC heads with MIVEC technology and 10.0:1 compression - not a turbo in sight. Peak power was attained at 7000 rpm and peak torque (301Nm) came at 4500 rpm. This is a highly sought after engine in Magna tuning circles.

Note that that MIVEC technology was also applied to the 3.5-litre V6 - but only for a very limited number of Ralliart Pajeros.

What is MIVEC?

In the Japanese market, Mitsubishi introduced a system to combat Honda's VTEC design - MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve and Lift Electronic Control System). This system employs a multi-mode variable valve timing mechanism that is set in three modes - low speed, high speed and MD (modulated displacement). The improved head flows that the system delivers enables it to deliver substantial torque across the entire rev range - but especially at higher revs, where conventional engines are usually limited by conservative valve lift and duration.

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Another hot little Mitsubishi V6 is the 6A12 as fitted to the Japanese market GTO GPX. With a displacement of just 2.0-litres, the GPX's 6A12 employs MIVEC, DOHC, 24-valve breathing and a 10.0:1 compression ratio to reach 147kW and 200Nm (at a lofty 7500 and 6000 rpm). These figures suggest this is a peaky engine, but it certainly doesn't drive that way in the FTO.

Note that there was also a twin-turbocharged version of the 6A12 2.0-litre V6 (minus MIVEC) that made the same 147kW peak output.

Other Sweet Mitsubishi V6s

On Australian turf, the first generation TE Magna was released with an optional 6G72 SOHC 3.0-litre V6 producing 140kW. This engine might not have as much grunt as the SOHC 3.5-litre versions, but it does offer slightly better NVH. Early 6G74 SOHC 3.5s - which were rated at 147kW - appeared in the KE Verada and TH Magna. An ultra restrictive rear muffler and very conservative cam profiles stifled performance of these early 3.5s.

In recent years, the Japanese market Diamante has also came with the option of GDI V6s. The top-line version is the 6G72 3.0-litre DOHC with 11.0:1 compression - this makes an impressive 176kW at 5750 rpm and 304Nm at 3500 rpm. The smaller 6G73 2.5-litre DOHC version (with 10.5:1 compression) is rated at 147kW and 250Nm.

The latest Japanese market Pajero has also seen a GDI version of the 6G74 3.5-litre with DOHC and 24-valves. This engine makes 162kW at 5500 rpm and 348Nm at 3750 rpm.

Mitsubishi Fours...

Fours

The most powerful Mitsubishi four-cylinders are hard against - and probably beyond - the Japanese 206kW regulated output.

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First and foremost is the 4G63 DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged 2.0-litre as fitted to the Lancer Evolution. These brilliant engines currently use hollow camshafts, a large front-mount air-to-air intercooler, 8.8:1 static compression and a twin-scroll TD05 turbocharger delivers considerable boost pressure. Depending on the model, the Lancer Evolution engine is rated at 206kW and up to 383Nm. Automatic versions of the Evolution 7 - the GT-A model - employ a smaller turbocharger and make 'just' 200kW and 343Nm.

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The 4G63 DOHC turbo engine has been available since the 1988 Japanese market Galant VR4, in which it delivered 151kW at 6000 rpm and 294Nm at 3000 rpm. These outputs increased with model updates and a rare Evolution RS version maxed at 176kW using (among other things) a larger '16G' turbocharger.

Mitsubishi's DOHC turbocharged four-cylinder category is further strengthened by 1.8 and 1.6-litre powerplants.

The 4G93 1.8-litre DOHC turbo generates 141kW at 6000 rpm and 249Nm at 3000 rpm in the snout of the locally delivered Lancer GSR AWD.

The 4G61 1.6-litre DOHC turbo - as fitted to the earlier generation Lancer AWD turbo in Japan - pushes out 108kW at 6000 rpm. The Australian delivered version of the early GSR - without a turbocharger - makes 90kW from its atmo 4G61 1.6-litre DOHC four.

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And again Mitsubishi proves it can generate impressive power without resorting to forced induction. The 4G92, DOHC, MIVEC, 1.6-litre is an absolute firecracker of an engine. Factory-fitted to the Japanese market Lancer Cyborg R front-wheel-drive, the MIVEC 1.6 spins out about 131kW at 7500 rpm and 167Nm at 7000 rpm. With a specific output of approximately 81kW per litre, this engine is the perfect choice for a lightweight go-fast hatchback.

Back during the early 1980s, Mitsubishi was also one of the leading manufacturers of turbocharged engines.

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The engine that delivered awesome racing success was the SOHC G63B 2.0-litre turbo, as fitted to the groundbreaking Starion. Using throttle body injection, a front-mount intercooler and a knock sensor, the top-line Japanese version of this engine (the 3-valve-per-cylinder Dash model) could muster as much as 147kW at 6000 rpm and 280Nm of torque. More pedestrian versions - with 2-valves-per-cylinder - pushed about 130kW at 5500 rpm and 216Nm.

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Also released in the early '80s was the SOHC G62B 1.8-litre turbo engine, as fitted to the Cordia chassis. Running without the aid of an intercooler, the Japanese-spec G62B produces 118kW at 5800 rpm and 216Nm.

Before then you're talking predominantly ol' style carbie performance - nothing to get too excited over.

Mitsubishi Performance Motors at a Glance...

V8s

 

8A80 4.5 litre DOHC GDI

206kW

V6s

 

6G72 3.0 litre DOHC Twin Turbo

206kW

6A13 2.5 litre DOHC Twin Turbo

206kW

6G72 3.0 litre DOHC MIVEC

198kW

6G74 3.5 litre DOHC MIVEC

191kW

6G74 3.5 litre SOHC - Ralliart

180kW

6G72 3.0 litre DOHC GDI

176kW

6G74 3.5 litre SOHC - Sports/VR-X spec

163kW

6G74 3.5 litre DOHC GDI - Pajero

162kW

6G74 3.5 litre SOHC - Base Magna

147 - 155kW

6A12 2.0 litre DOHC Twin Turbo

147kW

6A12 2.0 litre DOHC MIVEC

147kW

6G73 2.5 litre DOHC GDI

147kW

6G72 3.0 litre SOHC - Base Magna

140kW

Fours

 

4G63 2.0 litre DOHC Turbo - Recent Evo

206kW

4G63 2.0 litre DOHC Turbo - Evo GT-A

200kW

4G63 2.0 litre DOHC Turbo - VR4 Evo RS

176kW

4G63 2.0 litre DOHC Turbo - Early VR4

151kW

G63B 2.0 litre SOHC Dash 12V Turbo

147kW

4G93 1.8 litre DOHC Turbo

141kW

4G92 1.6 litre DOHC MIVEC

131kW

4G63B 2.0 litre SOHC Turbo

130kW

4G62B 1.8 litre SOHC Turbo

118kW

4G61 1.6 litre DOHC Turbo

108kW

4G61 1.6 litre DOHC

90kW

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