You’ve probably noticed this already, but nothing gets people more excited than a new Japanese sports car. That’s why Toyota, Honda and Nissan are continuing to develop them, even though they’re expensive and sell in low volumes. However, you might have noticed one particular brand and model is missing, the Mitsubishi Eclipse.
Mitsubishi isn’t the company it used to be. Most small automakers struggle due to the increasing cost of developing motors and safety systems that comply with the latest regulations. The company is now owned by the Renault-Nissan alliance, and while most fans have forgotten or given up on the Eclipse, being under Nissan’s umbrella actually provides an interesting opportunity.
Currently, the Eclipse is this little crossover. While practical and affordable, it doesn’t deserve the name of one of the most famous sports cars in history. So, what about a real Eclipse, based on the 2023 Nissan Z, or as we like to call it, the 400Z?
Obviously, this is just a rendering, created by the website Kolesa. But you have to admit it’s pretty entertaining. Why didn’t anybody think to make this by now? The computer-generated images also provide an opportunity to explore if and how the idea can be put into practice.
Cash-strapped Mitsubishi is already doing stuff like this. In Europe, it revealed a new ASX, also known as the Outlander Sport, and it’s just a Renault Captur with a different badge. I think they have plans to make a Clio-based Colt hatchback too. On the other hand, the bigger Outlander model is actually a Nissan Rogue in disguise.
There are, however, problems with a Nissan Z-based Eclipse. Firstly, Nissan simply can’t keep up with the demand for the sports car right now. It doesn’t have the parts it needs to produce this 400 horsepower 2-door, and its development money is going towards the Nismo version coming out next year.
And how would you even justify the Eclipse existing as just a Nissan with a Mitsubishi badge? In the case of the Toyota Supra and BMW Z4, one is a coupe and the other a roadster. They also handle differently, with the Japanese model being louder and more raw.
Offering a Mitsubishi-specific engine is out of the question since the company doesn’t many a competitive V6 at the moment. One solution would be to rely on styling, and this rendering suggests doing away with the round headlights of the 400Z while also modifying the grille to match the last true Eclipse sports car.
It’s an interesting idea, but would you give $50,000 to your local Mitsubishi dealership just for that? The original Eclipse was one of the most underrated tuner cars back in the day. For example, the Eclipse GSX came with the AWD system out of an Evo III. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that with the VR30DDTT, another engine with quite a lot of tuning potential? And what about all-wheel steering? Plenty of Japanese icons had this back in the day, but it’s now mostly reserved for German cars which are frankly too expensive for most people.