Mitsubishi FTO

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Mitsubishi FTO

Year: 1994-1997 `````````````````````````````````` Type: Coupe
Country: Japan ``````````````````````````````````` Host: GT1, GT2, & GT5

Price: 8,379 cr. ('94 GR, GT2)
         15,808 ('99 GP Version R, GT5)

GPX Specs
Length: 170" // Width: 70.6" // Height: 51.1"
Wheelbase: 98.4"
Overhang: 5' 11"
Ground Clearance: 5.9"
Tires: 205/50R-16
F. Suspension: MacPherson Strut / Coil / ARB
R. Suspension: Multilink / ARB
Weight: 2,535 lbs.
Brakes: Vented Discs-ABS [F] Solid Discs [R]

GP Version R specs
Length: 171.8" // Width: 68.3" // 51.2"
Wheelbase: 98.4"
Overhang: 6' 2"
Ground Clearance:
Tires: N/A
Weight: 2,534 pounds  

Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC V6
Aspiration: Normal
Valves per Cylinder: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.09"x2.72"
Compression Ratio:

The GT2 car tested below was probably a GPX, while the GT5 car is definitely a Version R 

GT2 Redline: 7,500 // Deadline: 8,000
GT5 Idle: 750 // Redline: 8,000 // RPM Limit: 8,500 

GT2 Tested HP: 167 @ 7,000 rpm
GT2 Tsd. Torque: 137 @ 4,000 

GT5 Tested HP: 197 @ 7,500
GT5 Tsd. Torque: 147 @ 6,000  

Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual

GT2, probably a GPX
Credits / HP: 15.17
Lbs. per HP: 15.2
HP / Liter: 83.6

0-60 mph: 8.0 seconds
0-100 mph: 21.4
¼ Mile: 16.331 @ 88 mph
1KM: 29.535 @ 115

Track Test: 1:52.883

Top Speed: 153.89 @ 7,300 rpm

GT5, GP Version R
Credits / HP: 80.24
Lbs. per HP: 12.86
HP / Liter: 98.6

0-60 mph: 7.974 seconds
0-100 mph: 18.395
0-150 mph:
400 M: 16.196 @ 93 mph  
¼ Mile: 16.252 @ 94 mph  
1 KM: 28.466 @ 122 mph  
1 Mile: 39.026 @ 134 mph

Braking: 100-Zero: 5.334 seconds    

Daytona Lap: 1:01.426

Top Speed @ Redline
1st: 35 mph
2nd: 62
3rd: 91
4th: 122
5th: 153.3 @ 7,900 rpm


The Mitsubishi FTO. It began production way back in 1971 as the “Mitsubishi Galant FTO”, but the cars being focused on in this review didn't arrive until 1994.  

This was one of those front-drive fast and furious-type hotrods which appeared smack-dab in the middle of the great 1990s Japanese Domestic Market goldrush of machines. The FTO appeared in all the main Gran Turismo games to date, yet it's a car most people outside of Japan are not so familiar with on a day-to-day basis on those streets, right?

For us Americans, there's a great chance we'll see an authentic Nissan Skyline well before glimpsing an FTO, matter of fact one of my neighbors has a '93 GTS-t. It's because of Gran Turismo, Forza, and the Fast & Furious movies that people in my country know what a Skyline is, and because of their desire, a few of them go to great lengths to get one.  

But the FTO?  It's just not as common. I've never seen a real one.   

Wikipedia says there was a "grey market" for the FTO. For those who really wanted to have one there were unofficial ways to get it. Problem was, the main destinations for grey-market Mitsubishi FTOs was Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and a few other select countries and regions. Not America, that's for sure.   

Mitsubishi built 36,805 FTOs, all of them a variety of 2-door coupes, though there were several submodels, all which appear in at least one of the Gran Turismos. Visually, the main difference between them can be found on their trunks, whether there's a wing there or not, and if so, how big this wing is. The GS and GR models have no wing, while the GPX possesses a three-tier piece which looks as though it was designed with the car.

Finally, the Version R has the most radical design, sticking up and out, away from the car. The Version R also has some extra decals (including a MiVEC sticker just behind the doors) and has small air ducts leading in from its front spoiler.

The FTO won Japan's Car of the Year for 1994, its very first year of production. Wow. That's certainly interesting. So, what's so special about the FTO?

It's got a rather feminine look to it with its swoopy front fender line and curvy design, right? Shark-like mouth matched with insect eyes. Apparently I tried driving the Mitsubishi FTO from the first game, but couldn't get into it much.

For GT2 I tried again, buying several FTO versions according to my stat pages. This time I loved it, but didn't get to drive it much since there were so many other cars that overshadowed it. It's one of those cars I spent a few days driving here and there in GT2, before moving on.   

And here I am again, this time driving the car in GT5 for this game's Polyphony Digital Cup. Again, I've got several sub-models in this game, but this review shall focus on the very best, the '99 Mitsubishi FTO GP Version R.    

Well, here's a few opinions on why the FTO stands out (other than its shark-like looks). In any GT game, the FTO is one of the best cars a beginner can pilot, period. The GR in particular starts one off with a nice low price in the two earliest games--and though its power is a bit wimpy, the way it tears into courses is so good, the GR is extremely easy to drive whether one is using analog controls or the D-pad.

Besides its striking appearance, the car is well-balanced. There is more overhang towards the front, increasing traction even under power, and the rear has just enough weight to keep the car planted firmly, but not too much to cause excessive oversteer or looseness. The FTO is also a middle-weight, and those who have just bought one will not need to get it lightened immediately.

But for those who want to go all the way, most FTOs in this game can be brought down to just over 2,200 pounds, with the mighty FTO LM Edition tipping just 2,050. Max power rates from 252 for a '94 GR to 328 for a '94 GPX. Oddly, the GPX rates with more power than the '97 Version R in this game.   

In GT5 the Version R's minimum weight is 2,158.    

FTOs were built en massé till mid-2000, but were then dropped from Mitsubishi's line-up due to declining sales. Pretty sad. Maybe they should have tried exporting some of them here to the U.S.


ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------------------

Two engine sizes can be found in FTOs, depending which year and sub-model. The GS and GR were the weakest, with 1.8 liter SOHC inline-4s pulling both, although some sites say only the GS had a 4. All other submodels (GPX,  GP Version R, and various limited editions of each) possessed the more-powerful 2.0 liter V6. Here we have a true Japanese small block of madness, AND this motor got a power upgrade of 30 horses in 1997.     

The main thing about this V6 is that it's got a short stroke (2.72") engine. And this means it's going to be revs, not torque, which call the shots power-wise. Sure enough, the tachometer is dialed with a high redline, anywhere from 7,500 rpm or higher, which gives us plenty of room for power in the higher ranges, but not so much down below. Doesn't matter if you're using an automatic or a standard gearbox.  

Acceleration is lacking, but can be easily upgraded in GT2 after winning a few races. A novice player can theoretically (1) buy an FTO GR, (2) add sports aspiration: mufflers & filters (3) win Tahiti's Sunday Cup race (4) buy stage 1 engine tuning (5) win at High-Speed Ring (or go back to the tropical vibes at Tahiti) (6) buy better drivetrain parts (lighter flywheel, heavier clutch...maybe) (7) win at Red better tires, etc.

Those who want more initial pep can get a '94 FTO GPX, which comes standard with a 192 horsepower engine. Either of these cars (GR or GPX) can be entered in many of GT2's horsepower-limited events, except the Kei-car races...although this is assuming the GPX hasn't had permanent engine upgrades applied.

The GPX is more expensive, I don't think it can be bought for less than 10,000 cr. Upgrades for the GR or GPX can be bought, though there is little difference between the '94 and '97 GRs once all power-ups have been applied (252 hp vs. 253).

The '97 GPX actually winds up with less power than the '94 car, oddly (322 vs. 328), and since the weight of any GT2 FTO winds up being the same, there is really not as much of an advantage to the '97 car. Not sure about any of the GT1 Mitsubishis, though. I only raced one FTO from GT1, and that was months ago.

As can be expected, the gearbox is great like a bowl of Frosted Flakes® or a cherry Pop-tart. The close-ratio box is great for small tracks, though sometimes it'll be sufficient for the bigger ones, too. Brakes are also awesome in this game. Braking is so good, it'll be a while before most drivers will need to tamper with them. 

The FTO in 5 feels similar to what's described above when it comes to engine energy. There's a few moments when the car lags off the line, as the car's short-stroke engine builds momentum. But once it's dug past those first three-thousand RPMs boy does this car start moving.

Unfortunately, first gear is very short, very touchy. Difficult to launch from a dead stop, while also trying to avoid that rev-limiter. 

Because of this, there's a way to launch this car, in this game. Start with FULL power for that moment or two off-the-line, but then scale back quickly. Give more, give less. The car lurches, but once it's moving, we can finally shift to 2nd. Second gear is rather tall, with the needle falling to 4 grand if we switch out of first prematurely. Again, the 2.0 needs to build some momentum if this is the case. It's difficult to avoid lower revs sometimes in this car as we're launching.

But the good news is, once we're in 2nd gear, all this car does is grip and hunker down as we'll see.   

Top power in this game is also pretty sweet for the Version R. Let's have a look.

Aspiration + exhaust + computer: 266 hp @ 8100 rpm

Engine Stage 1: 277 @ 8,200 // 189 ft-lbs. @ 6,700
Engine Stage 2: 285 @ 8,300 // 193 ft-lbs. @ 6,800 
Engine Stage 3: 297 @ 8,400 // 198 ft-lbs. @ 6,900

Turbo Stage 1: 329 @ 8,400 // 244 ft-lbs. @ 4,400
Turbo Stage 2: 345 @ 7,700 // 283 ft-lbs. @ 5,400
Turbo Stage 3: 418 @ 8,400 // 261 ft-lbs. @ 8,400

Oh yeah. The problem with Gran Turismo 5, of course, is it's difficult for an A-spec driver to actually race this car without blowing the AI away. The Turbo and PD Cups are the first chances to race fairly.


CHASSIS / HANDLING-------------------------------

DNP: Damn Near Perfect. That's how I described the FTO back in my GT2 days. And why is this?

Some FWD vehicles in this game are burdened with relentless understeer. Others have so much mid-section instability that any front-drive advantage (such as straight-on traction) can get lost if the underparts aren't upgraded. Not so with an FTO.

Going back to the novice driver is noteworthy to note that this sexy looking coupe also handles well, and Mr. or Mrs. Beginner may find that the FTO will be fine with its stock tires and suspension. Throttle-induced understeer can be expected here and there, but oversteer? The FTO can't even compute what oversteer means. It's not even a word this car can comprehend!

Again and again, you can expect the FTO to pull out of corners, like a chick-car version of a Honda Integra. Only exception is if the car's racing against other vehicles with insane amounts of power and good cornering, as well.

Generally, the FTO of this game can do extremely well in any of the FF series races, not to mention the Gran Turismo Nationals and many of the special races. I've even heard war stories from internet folks who have entered FTOs in races where it is out-classed and underpowered, and the FTO will still persevere.

There are many combinations of tires we can experiment with, for those who want a high-powered FTO to dr1fT!  But generally, these cars are in their prime when driven for grip...out-cornering, out-braking, and out-performing the AI, not to mention your buddy who thinks his higher-horsepower Camaro is gonna easily blow your rice car away! Let the game begin.

In this game the FTO is a rather common vehicle in that used car lot. I've got several of these Mitsys in one of my PS3's user IDs (aimed toward all those Japanese cars I don't know much about). To illustrate how popular these are, I currently own the following...

one '94 FTO GR
one '97 FTO GR
two '97 FTO GPXs
two '99 FTO GPXs
one '97 FTO GP Version R
three '99 FTO GP Version Rs
one FTO Super Touring Car

… and that's in a game lasting 934 days so far, which breaks down to 89 days per FTO.

Unfortunately the FTO (along with a lot of other famous JDM sports cars in this game) will simply destroy most races in GT5's first four halls. Enter an FTO into the Japanese 90's Challenge, and you'll be flat-out bored by the first or second lap.

(On the other hand the FTO is so easy to drive it makes a great car for B-spec!)  

The first chance an FTO can finally get used without that cheatin' feeling is during the Expert-level Turbo Sport Cup, and also the Polyphony Digital Cup: Madrid Mini, Trial Mountain, and Grand Valley. …. Off we go to Spain.

Driven on its comfort soft tires in the warm city of Madrid, factory-rated horsepower of 197, there is (of course) understeer at the limit, especially mid-turn. When really pushing the car, this understeer gets worse of course, especially mid-turn. Feels great going in; the FTO is a very pointable car. Feels awesome moving out. Traction of a bulldozer. But there's a point when those front tires shift from *grip* to *slip*, and this point shows up a little too quickly! That's the main limit to discover early on, that mid-turn pushing.
So find this limit, avoid it, and enjoy the rest of the drive. Because once those limits are found and avoided the Version R feels completely confident. Confident while braking, confident while turning in, and over-confident while leaving. Braking into the first hairpin at 100 meters for instance?  Too early. Try 90 next time. Mid-turn, the FTO simply hunkers into the turn. INTO the turn. It gets into a groove, you know? 

But it's while growling out of really slow areas (such as hairpins) that the FTO's prowess really shows, as it flawlessly clambers away. And while it does so, the driver can tighten or loosen its steering if need be. Damn, that VW's in my way, need to tighten up! Yep, go ahead and tighten up that line, while giving full gas. The FTO will comply. Heck. Go ahead and try to upset this car's leech-like traction at any time.

Partially it's due to the car's factory transmission. We get into that hairpin, those switchbacks, that low-speed S-curve. Below 6,000 rpms torque is still developing, but this is a good thing, in the sense that never will we have to worry about too much power getting laid down at this point. 

As the FTO moves over bumps and grids there are also these cute little twitches going on all the time. The car is constantly twitching and re-positioning itself. Bip-bip… bip-bip… .like that.

At best, I posted 1:05.827 in a used car on factory tires, and 1:02.942 with medium sports. Neither of those times were my best.

During the first PD Cup race at Madrid the car had a Stage 1 turbo equipped and was making 288 ponies. Even so, this front-drive still did not need a limited-slip. The fronts would go cherry red on those indicators, but traction always remained stellar. Options were plenty too, since soft tires were installed.

It's like driving the front half of a Mitsubishi Evolution sedan!

The FTO was an absolute joy to drive at the PD Cup's next two tracks: Trial Mountain, and Grand Valley. These two offer more turns than Madrid, of course. As the FTO undulated over bumps, skewed its way over grids, and got really tight into hairpins, kinks, and chicanes, never did I need the usual front-drive trick of handbrake-grabbing. Grabbing that parking brake is one of my favorite tricks while driving front-drive cars, yet in an FTO this is almost never needed. Could even hurt some racing lines.

Instead, just aim the car into those turns. In other words, a lot of lesser front-drives might enter that turn with confidence, but mid-turn they're in trouble. There's a slight bit of pushing going on, which comes as an unpleasant surprise. In such a situation I'll sometimes grab the handbrake to get a tighter cornering line. In the FTO such stunts are mostly not necessary. Aim the car, it goes the direction it's being aimed. Period. Granted, the PD Cup does require soft sport tires to keep up with the competition, but I've driven a few which don't do so well, even on these tires.

But that's the yardstick we've got for comparison to earlier games. We can use hard sports, maybe even comfort tires during the 300 km (for those drivers who are really confident). FTOs are overkill during much of GT5's earlier races, but we can drive them in several endurances for sure: Grand Valley 300km, Laguna Seca 200 Miles, and the 4 hour race at Nürburgring.

We can conclude that some Japanese front-drive remain mostly in loafer territory forever. The Mazda Protégé for instance. The Toyota Vitz. The Honda Fit. But there are a few that can go much further. The FTO is one of these for sure.  



1). Handles well with a lack of dramedy. Lack of understeer in most situations, until we really begin to push this one. Oversteer is also nothing to fear in this FWD.

2). The FTO GR is PERFECT for beginners, and is priced to start the game as well.

3). Tires, suspension, weight reductions, brakes can all be upgraded, but there's no hurry unless we're trying to enter this car in the GT 300 or the Euro-Pacific regionals or something like that.

4). Gotta love the pingy engine noise! It only gets better with upgrades, too.

5). Speaking of, in all games we can get top-line FTOs above 300 horsepower. In GT5 a GP Version R can rate over 410.

6). Standard Mitsubishi 5-speed gearbox is balanced for speed and acceleration. Will last many miles before full-customized tuning is needed.

7). High-rev tachometer comes standard.

8). FTOs just look cool, like some sort of carnivorous fish. My opinion, but plenty others also agree.

9). GT5: a lot of used cars can be hard to find in this game. The FTO is not really one of them. Not as much patience is needed as we hunt.   


1). Acceleration lacks off the line, is never anything stellar.

2). GT2: Engine upgrades only improve the GR's power by @ 97 hp. The '94 GPX can accept up to 328 hp, but there are still other front-drives which can pack much more than this in this game.

3). Low torque in any FTO version, which means keep those revs high, or else!

4). The whole girl-car vibe might turn some drivers off.

5). No 6-speeds.    
Originally Published: July 31, 2004
Edited for GT5 content: October 2022