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Mitsubishi’s fast family sedan

The Magna proved a reliable family model for many Australians during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, but during the latter decade a collaboration with the local Ralliart arm created some special high performance variants.

The eye-catching Mitsubishi Magna Ralliart proved the Japanese manufacturer’s first foray into the performance sedan market alongside models such as the Holden Commodore SV6, Ford’s popular XR6 Falcon and the Sportivo variant of the Toyota Camry.

Featuring a body kit inspired by Mitsubishi’s halo Lancer Evolution VI and Enkei alloy rims ensured the family sedan had all the sporting credentials of its sister model.

Engine-wise, the six-cylinder Magna went through the Ralliart process through a high-lift camshaft, sports exhaust, new cylinder head, increased compression ratio, stainless steel exhaust headers and revised engine management calibration, with power up to 180kW as torque moved to 333Nm.

Koni handled the revised suspension package with springs and dampers enhanced to provide better responsiveness, neutral handling, which partnered by improved steering components gave great feedback during spirited driving.

The interior featured a red, black and silver theme highlighted by the Ralliart instrument cluster, MOMO steering wheel, a premium (at the time of course) security-coded, 14-speaker, 188 watt remote controlled Eclipse audio system with seven-CD in-dash facility and ability to expand.

Laugh at this Magna at your own peril, the Ralliart example is quick and although it was planned to be an all-wheel-drive, the production model was released with power going through the front wheels leaving it to a tendency to torque steering.

This model is a true oddity and remain a much loved model for owners now more than 20 years on from its release.

Mitsubishi and Ralliart continued to collaborate until local manufacturing for the Japanese marque ended in 2006, with the 380 replacing the Magna in 2004.

A smart 380 TMR concept was built, but never entered the Mitsubishi showrooms, which was quite a disappointment.