Mitsubishi Association of Inspired Lancer Boxtype
Inside the BOX:

Explanation of codes

Mitsubishi engines designed since 1970 use a four-digit naming convention:

  • The first (digit) signifies the number of cylinders; "2" = straight-2, "3" = straight-3, "4" = straight-4, "6" = V6, "8" = V8.
  • The second (letter) formerly referred to the fuel type; "D" = diesel, "G" = gasoline. However, since the 1980s, this has changed. Two engine families were introduced using the letter "A" to denote that all the engines in the family had an alloy cylinder head. Their latest engines, however, do not follow any previous conventions (e.g. 4M4, 3B2, etc.).
  • The third (digit) previously denoted the engine family. Five of the "4G" straight-4 engine families had distinct names; "4G1" = Orion, "4G3" = Saturn, "4G4" = Neptune, "4G5" = Astron, and "4G6" = Sirius.
  • The fourth (digit) is the specific engine model within the family. It is not a guide to its place within that family, nor is it a guide to the capacity of the engine.

There may also be supplementary letters after the initial four characters. "T" can indicate that the engine is turbocharged (e.g. 4G63T), "B" that this is the second version of the engine (e.g. 4G63B). Where engine codes are used which include the supplemental letters, the first digit denoting the number of cylinders may be omitted, so 4G63T may be seen as G63T.


Mitsubishi has developed twelve families of straight-4 engines:

  • 4A3 — A 660 cc engine designed for kei cars in 1994, enlarged to 1100 cc in 1999.
  • 4A9 — A 1.3 and 1.5 L engine introduced in the 2003 Colt.
  • 4B1 — The newest family of straight-4 engines being developed in a joint-venture with DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai known as the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA), all featuring aluminum engine block, DOHC heads, 4 valves per cylinder and MIVEC variable valve timing. The first of these are the 4B11 2.0 L and 4B12, a 2.4 L fitted to the 2007 Lancer and Outlander.
  • 4DR — Two 2659 cc straight-4 normally aspirated and turbodiesels, 4DR5 and 4DR6, fitted to some Canter light trucks, and also fitted to the company's Jeep which it built under licence from Willys between 1953 and 1998. The naturally aspirated 4DR5 produced from 75 to 80 PS (55 to 59 kW), while the turbocharged and intercooled versions produced a torque of 22.5 kg/m (220.65 Nm) at 2000 RPM and had a compression ratio of 21.5:1, with a maximum power of 100 PS (74 kW) at 3,300 rpm. The direct injected 4DR6 has a lower compression ratio of 17.5 producing a torque of 21.0 kgm (205.94 Nm) at 2000 rpm with a maximum power of 94 PS (69 kW) at 3,500 rpm [1]
  • 4G1x "Orion" — 1.2 L to 1.6 L. First introduced in the 1978 Colt, and now the basis for the high-performance variant of the 2003 version.
  • 4G3 "Saturn" — Ranging in size from 1.2 L to 1.8 L, this family first saw service in the 1969 Colt Galant.
  • 4G4 "Neptune" — 1.2 L to 1.4 L straight-4 engines available in the Lancer and Galant in 1979.
  • 4G5 "Astron" — Offered from 1972 in capacities from 1.85 L to 2.6 L, the Astron family pioneered the modern use of twin balance shafts in a straight-4 configuration. The system, introduced in 1975 and dubbed "Silent Shaft", built on the patents of Frederick Lanchester which Mitsubishi had obtained, and proved a lucrative venture when it was licensed to numerous other manufacturers.
  • 4D5 "Astron" diesel — Also part of the "Astron" family, the 2.3 L was the first diesel engine to be fitted to a Japanese passenger car. The subsequent 2.5 L version, introduced in 1986, is still in production, a popular choice in its line of pickup trucks where it is regarded as rugged, reliable and inexpensive to maintain.
  • 4G6 "Sirius" — Available in capacities from 1.6 L to 2.4 L, this was the favoured performance variant for Mitsubishi. The 4G61T powered their Colt Turbo, while the 4G63T, first introduced in the 1980 Galant, went on to see service in the Sapporo and Starion coupés during the so-called "turbo era" of the 1980s, before creating for itself an illustrious motorsport heritage as the powerplant under the hood of the World Rally Championship-winning Lancer Evolution. A UK-market Evo known as the FQ400 had a 298 kW (405 PS) version of the Sirius, making it the most powerful car ever sold by Mitsubishi.
  • 4G9 — 1.5 L to 2.0 L. The first modern gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine, in the Mitsubishi Carisma, was an 1834 cc 4G93 straight-4.
  • 4M4 — Mitsubishi's replacement for the "Astron" diesel, available as a 2.8 L, and later as a 3.2 L with direct injection.
  • 4N1 — New family of next generation clean diesel engines, to be introduced in early 2009
  • KE4 — A range of OHV straight-4s powering the Colt range in the 1960s.
Second generation (1979–1988
Lancer EX was unveiled in Japan. Only two engines were offered at the time, a 1.4 L MCA-JET equipped engine paired with Mitsubishi's Silent Shaft Technology, which generated 80 hp (60 kW) and a 1.6 L engine that generated 85 hp (63 kW) and 100 hp (75 kW). The MCA-JET system was an entirely new concept when compared with the previously used carburetor system. The MCA stands for Mitsubishi Clean Air which meant that the EX passed both Japan and US emission standards, while the new cylinder head design of the engine gave way for a Jet valve which introduced an extra swirl of air to the combustion chamber, swirling the fuel-air mixture for a cleaner, efficient and more thorough burn.

In addition to these improvements, another breakthrough in the Lancer lineup was the Silent Shaft Technology, which was actually two counterbalancing shafts that rotated in opposite directions, cancelling the power pulses inherent in an inline 4 cylinder engine. This reduced both engine noise and vibration, and provided a smoother driving experience. The 1.8 L Sirius 80 engines were then introduced in the Lancer in 1980, along with a new 70 hp (52 kW), 1.2 L engine a year later, providing a broader range of engines for the Mitsubishi's Lancer. Also, a turbocharged, 135 PS (99 kW; 133 hp) engine was added in 1980 for sportier performance, and an Intercooler system was also integrated in the existing turbocharged engine to produce 165 PS (121 kW; 163 hp) in 1983.

Lancer EX 1800GSR and GT Turbo

In 1980, The Lancer EX was introduced with a 1.8 L turbocharged 4-cylinder option known as the 1800GSR and GT Turbo. The first generation 1800GSR and GT were only available with a turbocharged, non-intercooled 135 PS (99 kW; 133 hp). However, in 1983, an intercooler was introduced, helping the turbocharged engine to produce 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp)..

Japan model and trim levels

  • 1400SL - 4-door sedan powered by a 1.4L engine, with a 4-speed Manual Transmission. 5-speed was also introduced. (1979–1987)
  • 1200SL - Same as the SL, with a 1.2L engine option. (1979–1983)
  • 1400GL - 3-speed Automatic version of the SL (1979–1983)
  • 1400SL A/T - Same as the GL, with minor changes. (1983–1987)
  • 1600XL - 4-door sedan powered by a 1.6L engine, with a 3-speed Automatic Transmission. (1979–1983)
  • 1600GSR - 4-door sedan powered by a 1.6L engine with twin carbs, with a 5-speed Manual Transmission. (1981–1983)
  • 1600XL Super - Same as the XL, with minor changes. (1983–1987)
  • 1800SE - 4-door sedan powered by a 1.8L producing 100 hp (75 kW) engine, and available with a 5-speed Manual Transmission or a 3-speed Automatic Transmission. (1981–1983)
  • 1800GSR Turbo - 4-door sedan powered by a turbocharged 1.8L engine producing 135 PS (99 kW), with aesthetic upgrades.(1981–1983)
  • 1800GT Turbo - Same as the GSR, but with a different body trim. (1981–1983)
  • 1800GSR Turbo Intercooler - Intercooled version of the first turbo version, producing 160 PS (118 kW), and with minor changes to the aesthetics. (1983–1987)
  • 1800GT Turbo Intercooler - Same as the GSR Turbo Intercooler, again with different body trim. (1983–1987)
  • 1800GSL Turbo - Same as the GSR Turbo Intercooler, only it used the engine from the GSR/GT Turbo, and equipped with a 3-speed Automatic Transmission, and with a more luxurious interior. Along with an AM/FM Multi-Cassette Stereo System. (1983–1987)
  • In Europe, the Lancer EX was offered with a turbocharged 2.0 L 4–cylinder engine known as the Lancer EX 2000 Turbo. It was the first Lancer to use the very first 4G63 engine which was then used in succeeding models such as the Galant VR-4 and the Lancer Evolution I to IX.

    It achieved a maximum output of 170 PS (125 kW) and manages a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) and a quarter mile time of less than 15.5 s. A new feature on this model is that it is equipped with ECI or Advanced Electronically-Controlled Fuel Injection which gave the Lancer more power and outstanding fuel economy as it did 23.0 mpg in city driving and 28.8 to 37.2 mpg in highway driving. A rally version of the Lancer EX 2000 Turbo was made for the 1000 Lakes Rally that gave out 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp). Sales of this model were low because of emission regulations Japan imposed at that time.

    Philippines (1979–1989) 
  • In The Philippines, the Lancer EX (which is popularly known as the Box Type Lancer) was offered with three variants. These variants are the SL, GSR, and GT. All engines were equipped with the Silent Shaft Technology (the SL had the 1.4 L while the GSR and GT had 1.6 L) and soon after, Automatic was available for SL and GSR variants. Sales stopped in 1989 since it was to be replaced by the fifth generation Lancer.

    • SL -  (Sports Lightweight )Base Model. 4-door sedan powered by a 1.4L engine with a 4-speed Manual Transmission and later introduced with the 1.2 L engine (4G11) alongside with the 3-speed Automatic Transmission
    • GSR -  (Grand Sport Racing ) Mid Range Model. 4-door sedan powered by a 1.6L engine with a 5-speed Manual Transmission. 3-speed Automatic Transmission along with a 1.8L engine option (4G62 - carb ver.) was then introduced.
    • GT - ( Grand Touring ) Limited Edition version with the Lancer EX Turbo Bodykit, 14" alloy rims, and same 1.6L engine.

    Other markets

    The Lancer EX (the Lancer name was used, and excluding Japan) was sold throughout the Asia and the Pacific (Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Australia, New Zealand). It was also sold in South America.
    Engines used
    • ECI turbocharged SOHC 1997 cc (2.0L) I4, 170 hp (127 kW)
    • ECI turbocharged SOHC 1795 cc (1.8L) I4, 160 hp (119 kW)
    • ECI turbocharged (3rd gear) SOHC 1795 cc I4, 135 hp (101 kW)
    • Carb SOHC 1795 cc I4, 100 hp (75 kW)


      • Carb SOHC 1597 cc (1.6L) I4, 85 hp (63 kW)


      • Carb "MCA-Jet" SOHC 1410 cc (1.4L) I4, 80 hp (60 kW)


      • Carb SOHC 1244 cc (1.2L) I4, 54 hp (40 kW)


      List of engines2G1 · 2G2 · 3B2 · 3G8 · 3A9 · 4A3 · 4A9 · 4B1 · 4D5 · 4D6 · 4G1 · 4G3 · 4G4 · 4G5 · 4G6 · 4G8 · 4G9 · 4M4 · 4N1 · 6A1 · 6B3 · 6G3 · 6G7 · 8A8 · KE
      Astron · Cyclone V6 · GEMA · Neptune · Orion · Saturn · Saturn 6 · Sirius · Vulcan
      Mark Francisco,
      Dec 9, 2011, 9:30 PM