Friends from Afar

In Automotive Journalism, there’s often the use of the term “time capsule” or “time machine”. 100 times out of 100, it is referred to cars from another era with the magical ability to transport its occupants back in another period of history. Bugattis, Figoni and Falaschi bodied Hispano Suizas, Bentleys Straight 8’s are all capable of giving you a sneak peak of what the good old times were like. However, have you ever thought of a car from the past that can do exactly the opposite? I am not talking about the “Back to the Future” DeLorean, but about a Mitsubishi 3000 GT from 1993. This car has the unique ability to reverse the usual car-time capsule. If you drive one 25 years after its introduction this Japanese legend will still give you an idea of what a 2016 sportscar looks like.

The 3000 GT is a forgotten premium sportscar, whose refinement and top class equipment were 20 years ahead of its time. It’s the sort of car that was able to make a strong point in the car industry: why buying a Ferrari 348 when it could have something better performing, reliable for so much less money? Exhilaration is guaranteed. For about half the price of a Prancing Horse, you got four wheel drive with 45:55 front to rear torque split ratio , a twin turbocharged transversal 300 hp V6, self-levelling and 3 way adjusting suspensions, sport mode, cruise control, four wheel steering, active exhaust and aerodynamics, electric seats, automated climate control…all wrapped up in the most 90ies package you’ll ever come across: and this is a very positive thing.

This lovely “Mitsu” is the effective and affordable time machine everyone would love to own and drive. It’s one of the  capable yet forgotten JDM cars that will soon be considered among the great cars of the Rising Sun in a not distant future.
We were thrilled to drive one the rare ones that made it in Italy. To pay our respects to this astounding piece of technology from the past/present we had to choose a worthy companion. That’s why we paired it to a car that could be considered the 3000 GT of modern times: the almighty Nissan GTR. Let’s face it: two JDM cars with identical
equipment and an attitude to challenge any supercar on earth, in any era are a must to see.

The GTR was a sensation when it came out: a handbuilt V6 twin turbo engine, four wheel drive and spaceship acceleration. Like the 3000 GT the GTR was a lot of car for so much less money than a regular supercar.
Both cars have four seats, a vast, standard optional package and the ability to shape time to their liking: the one from 1993 is a time capsule  from the past to the present, and Godzilla is the closest thing to a time machine you’ll ever come across. 

Why? It just goes like stink. Trust me, the Millennium Falcon was powered by a GTR engine. It just laughs at nerdy ion thrusters. Since we love to add wasabi and ginger on our sushi we choose one with 700 horses under the bonnet. 

Since we did this test during Epiphany, there was no other place to test them then the mountains covered in white and fresh snow. After all, with four wheel drive and with 1030 hp combined, what could possibly go wrong?

While everyone loves to go in the supermaket wasting their time in shopping, we love to go to empty gas stations to spend our hard earned money and see how quickly we empty the tank. We love to take holidays to the next level.

The roads we choose were the ones on the mountains located to the north eastern side of the Lake Garda: due to the very odd warm temperatures, we needed to climb up to 2000 mt. to find the ideal conditions to test the cars.

Predictably, both had incredible traction: the pace we were able to keep on the curvy roads was incredible! We needed to monitor our speed, since both were extraordinarily capable. 
The GTR was composed and very controllable even when we pressed the throttle hard on the wet surface. As you might guess, the accelerations were ferocious and the G force squeezing your body to the seat made you become one with the car. The car wasn’t as supple as the 3000 GT yet it handled wonderfully, in spite of its heavy weight. Through fast sections it felt very stable: not once we wished to have a lighter car at our hands. The GTR is a package that comes beautifully together when it’s driven hard: the chassis and the suspension work magnificently and it all comes down to that spectacular engine.
The paddle-shifted dual clutch gearbox is a delight to use: in automatic mode it shifts all gears before 2000 rpm and it is a joy to see how the car manages to use its torque to keep a low fuel consumption. At speed are properly quick and effective.

The interior of the GTR is a paradise for those who love to have a ton load of buttons: there are those for the sport mode, the “Save” mode, which appartenly relieves some stress to the differential, in order to preserve the mechanics, the ones for the navigation, radio, heater and air con…the choice is yours. The infotainment system provides all the info you need  on the car: aside from the usual turbo boost display, it also shows the water and oil temperature and pressure. I wonder why not all sportscars have these as standard.
Of all cars you can buy on the market today, the GTR is perhaps one of the most usable sports cars you can find and the most complete package you can find, at a very affordable price. Think the GTR as the 911 from Japan.
The mountains are the perfect place to spend Epiphany. 

The roads were empty and we had a free fire zone in front of us. The 3000 GT was a joy to drive: very predictable, perfectly balanced and with sublime ride. There is turbo lag until 2000 rpm and the response from the car is very direct. It feels strange to see the “sport mode” button on a 1993 car: it is quite effective indeed. On the fast sections, the Mitsubishi is a delight, while on narrow corners is perfectly controllable.

Despite the snow, both cars were so good that we hardly struggled for traction and we covered more than 150 km in both comfort and exhilaration.
What JDM cars do is force you to come to a point where being different is remarkably a good thing. Why buying cars with a premium over their badges when you can have so much more for so much less?

The post Friends from Afar appeared first on Escape on Wheels.

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