What Does VR4 Mean On Mitsubishi Cars?

Throughout the years, there have been a number of Mitsubishi cars branded “VR4”. Generally, these have been high-performance, desirable variants.

Examples include:

3000GT VR4 (also known as the GTO in other markets – read our buyer’s guide here).

Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4

Galant VR4 (this was the original VR4 vehicle)

The extremely cool Legnum VR4 wagon (is there anything better than a fast wagon? We’d argue there probably isn’t).

But what does VR4 mean on Mitsubishi cars?

If you look at something like STI on Subarus, that’s easy to work out the meaning of (read our article here on what STI means if you’re not sure).

One thing to clarify is that VR4 is not the Mitsubishi equivalent of a “tuning house” like NISMO, STI or Abarth. Mitsubishi’s equivalent was Ralliart.

Instead, VR4 is more of a model “signifier” in the same vein as cars being called a “GTI” or a “Type R” etc”.

With that in mind, what is the meaning of VR4 on Mitsubishi cars?

Interestingly enough, Mitsubishi never went public with an explanation. The meaning of VR4 has always been open to conjecture, and there are lots of different proposals on forums, blogs and YouTube videos as to what the exact meaning is.

The most common explanation is that VR4 stands for: “Viscous Realtime Four” on Mitsubishi cars. 

Now I don’t know about you, but that’s hardly the most useful acronym.

Is there any more detail out there?

According to a forum post we found during our research, in the brochure for Mitsubishi’s HSX concept (the precursor to the GTO/3000GT) VR4 technically meant:

“Viscous realtime all wheel drive with 4 wheel steering.”

This would be a logical explanation for the meaning of VR4, as cars that carried the VR4 badge featured a viscous coupling, all wheel drive that transferred power based on road conditions in ‘real time’, and four wheel steering.

Here at Garage Dreams, we reckon that VR4 is one of the most badass sounding badges ever to be put into production!

Do you know more about the meaning of VR4 on Mitsubishi cars? If so, we would love to hear from you; please comment below with any additional information that you can provide.


  • Sam

    Sam focuses mainly on researching and writing the growing database of Car Facts articles on Garage Dreams, as well as creating interesting list content. He is particularly enthusiastic about JDM cars, although has also owned numerous European vehicles in the past. Currently drives a 3rd generation Suzuki Swift Sport, and a Volkswagen Touareg (mainly kept for taking his border collie out to the hills to go walking)

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2 thoughts on “What Does VR4 Mean On Mitsubishi Cars?”

  1. It is officially stated as Viscous Realitime 4wd on the legnum and galant vr4 in the 8th generation since they didn’t have 4 wheel steering nor all wheel drive that could actively transfer power, they used a full time 4wd system like a truck minus the low range mode

    • Very helpful information, thank you. Your input is greatly appreciated! take it from your username you know a thing or two about VR4s, so any other insights are always welcome.


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