The Mitsubishi Diamante Story (Half III)

The Mitsubishi Diamante Story (Half III)


At the moment is the third installment in our protection of the Mitsubishi Diamante, the Diamond Star model’s solely luxurious providing ever offered within the North American market. Half I launched us to the Diamante through the Sigma. That fancy hardtop Galant gave method to the Diamante in 1992, based mostly on an prolonged size Galant platform. The second-generation hardtop sedan and its wagon counterpart had been completed for 1995 on vendor heaps, although fleet consumers (which fleets although?) had a Diamante out there to them in 1996. In 1997, Mitsubishi was again with an all-new Diamante and aimed even increased than it had earlier than.

Whereas the primary Diamante benchmarked the Acura Legend and deliberate to be a reduction different to Honda’s fanciest sedan, the second Diamante aimed its sights on the Lexus ES 300. The near-luxury Japanese sedan market had modified significantly by the mid-Nineties: Acura’s Legend was lifeless after its second era wrapped up in 1995, and was changed by the smooth and pudding-like close to full-size 3.5 RL. That automotive was not Legend-like or a superb alternative, however we’ll finish the tangent there. In the meantime, the Japanese luxurious sedan to beat within the midsize class was the Lexus ES 300, which entered its third era for 1997. Helpful timing for Mitsubishi to introduce some stiff competitors, then.

As soon as once more the American buyer waited longer for the brand new Diamante than Japan, which was most likely a product planning fail at Mitsubishi in hindsight. There was practically a two-year lag between the third-gen Diamante’s debut in Japan and its arrival in America late in 1996 as a model-year ’97. When the brand new Diamante arrived in Japan there was a distinction within the lineup to the prior era: no pillared sedan branded as Sigma. It turned out Japanese clients, although impressed by all of the tech current on the hardtop Diamante, had been none too within the sedan model with its extra restrained luxurious objective. Sigma offered poorly over its last era in Japan, and nearly all of them discovered their means into fleet use as a taxi or police automotive.

The physique model that remained was the four-door pillared hardtop sedan, which was then the one model upon which to base the wagon model. Value noting: Whereas the Japanese market Diamante was made in Japan, variations for all different markets had been made in Australia alongside the brand new Magna. As soon as once more the Magna and its upmarket sibling the Verada had been derived from the Diamante. Australian market Diamantes finally acquired all-wheel-drive like was elective in Japan. That may’ve been a pleasant product differentiation for the sedan within the U.S., however Mitsubishi determined to maintain 4 pushed wheels Down Beneath.

There have been appreciable variations between the Japanese market Diamante (which was extra of a flagship) and export Diamantes made in Australia. The suspension in export fashions was a unique (and cheaper) design than Japanese ones. In Japan Diamante continued with a multilink suspension because it had earlier than, however Australian-produced vehicles had MacPherson struts on the entrance. Japanese market vehicles had been outfitted with elective fabric upholstery because the Japanese typically discover leather-based too garish, however all Australian-made Diamantes had leather-based. Japanese market Diamantes had a metal entrance cross member for extra rigidity, which was not discovered on export vehicles.

In Japan, the Diamante was as soon as once more a tech showcase for Mitsubishi. The brand new automotive featured a satellite tv for pc navigation system, and a heads-up show for the motive force. Very superior for its time, there was a radar cruise system that had distance and lane-keeping capabilities. It labored with a front-mounted digital camera and a few lasers and was immediately adopted from its use within the flagship Debonair the place the tech appeared in 1992. The Japanese market Diamante additionally used a brand new model of Mitsubishi’s energetic traction management system, which was not launched on export vehicles till later. Apart from the traction management that arrived after introduction, all different tech was held from export Diamantes.

Styling bore a transparent household resemblance to the outdated Diamante, although all the things was smoother and softer. The entrance clip maintained the identical cut up grille, however the second-gen’s pointed central divider chrome didn’t fade again to both aspect as dramatically as earlier than. Headlamps had been once more a quad model, however their presentation within the second-generation automotive seemed extra Japanese and fewer impressed by BMW.

Entrance bumpers had been smoother now and tucked a lot nearer to the entrance finish than the shelf-type bumpers on the prior era. Parking lamps appeared on the corners of the entrance bumper, and fog lamps had been astride of the decrease valance as an alternative of the extra central placement that they had within the prior automotive. As was widespread within the period, exterior trim modified to body-colored and was much less reliant on chrome. The entrance finish seemed tauter, and a bit sportier, which made the outdated Diamante look a bit dated and formal compared.

The aspect profile was comparable between the 2 vehicles, with the identical pull lever door handles as earlier than. On the brand new automotive, the handles had been extra notable than that they had been and sported a chrome trim strip. And that seemed cheaper.

The ’96 Diamante sported a chrome trim strip across the complete perimeter of the automotive that included the bumpers, sides, and rear. The chrome was gone for 1997, and changed solely by a body-colored rub strip in roughly the identical place it was on the outdated automotive. The chromed loop across the frameless home windows continued very like the outdated Diamante, however the glass software down the aspect was not fairly as clean: Particularly, the B-pillar had thicker, extra seen climate stripping between the panes of glass.

The chrome window trim itself was clumsier on the brand new automotive, most notably on the nook of the rear doorways the place it was clearly two separate items. Beforehand, the items curved towards each other and practically handed as a single steady little bit of trim. The sheet metallic on the rear door seemed costlier on the outdated Diamante, too. The door’s edge curved upward (a traditional Japanese frameless window design cue), however had no such finesse on the new-for-97 Diamante.

On the rear, the brand new Diamante was a stark departure from the outdated. There was extra formal styling than earlier than, and a brand new chrome strip that served as a trunk deal with. Rear lamps had been a mimic of the Lancer Evolution, which was an attention-grabbing styling name as an alternative of a tie to the Galant. Lamps wrapped across the rear and prolonged upward as the massive lens shaped the arc that grew to become the trunk lid. The take a look at the rear was completed by thicker C-pillars, which narrowed the width of the rear window notably. New physique appears to be like had been set off by seven-spoke chrome wheels that had been very of their time.

Although it wore all-new styling, the Diamante wasn’t so trendy beneath. Beneath the mid-Nineties appears to be like had been the identical prolonged Galant platform that had its roots in 1987. Thus, the wheelbase stayed the identical 107.1 inches because it had earlier than. Total size grew for each sedan and wagon, because the sedan elevated from 190.2 inches to 194.1″. The wagon additionally gained about 4 inches in size, as much as 196.1 inches from 192.4 in its first era guise. Width elevated barely this time, from 69.9 inches to 70.3″. Each variations had been taller than earlier than, as general peak elevated from 52.6 inches to 53.9 inches.

Engines had been usually bigger within the second era Diamante and had been once more restricted to V6 configuration in all markets. The smallest mill on supply was the two.5-liter 6A13 (a brand new engine), alongside the two.5-liter 6G73 that was carried over from earlier than. The three.0-liter 6G72 made a return for the late Nineties, in 24-valve format as earlier than. High-tier and newly out there within the second-generation automotive was the three.5-liter 6G74. Energy ranged from 175 horses within the smaller engine, to 270 within the 3.0-liter MIVEC model for the Japanese market.

Once more, American clients acquired zero selection on engine or transmission configurations. The Diamante was imported solely with the three.5-liter V6 shared with the Montero Sport, which made 205 horsepower. There was not a handbook transmission on this era, and all markets acquired both four- or five-speed automatics. The American Diamante used 4 speeds, which meant 16 mpg metropolis, 24 mpg freeway.

There was not a lift in energy for choosing the very best Diamante LS trim. The five-speed auto was a notable growth and was launched because the world’s first five-speed computerized on a transverse engine automotive. It featured superior shift logic and even Tiptronic. However in fact, that transmission remained a JDM unique, very like all the opposite attention-grabbing options of the Diamante.

Mitsubishi had its newly restyled Diamante on sale for 1997 and was hopeful it could claw again a few of the gross sales it misplaced because the near-luxury automotive market moved on to new fashions whereas the outdated Diamante lingered. They even had some annoyingly pretentious new adverts, just like the one above! Would the second Diamante carry gross sales success and glory to Mitsubishi? Not fairly. We’ll end up this story tomorrow.

[Images: Mitsubishi]

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December 2022