Mechanically, there are 3 main versions of the FTO
GS - 4 cylinder 1800cc 16v DOHC engine - 130bhp
GR/GX - 2.0 V6 24v non- Mivec engine - 170/180bhp
GPX/GPvR - 2.0 V6 24v Mivec engine - 200bhp.
The extra 20bhp or so of the MIVEC engine is courtesy of electronically controlled variable cam lift and timing.
The Mivec engine can be distinguished from it's lesser brethren by the large black plastic engine cover handily displaying the words MIVEC in bright red letters. A second, perhaps redundant, check is the location of the oil filler cap. On the non-Mivec engines this is on the nearside (passenger side) of the front bank of cylinders, whereas with the Mivec engines the oil filler cap is on the offside or drivers side. I have purposely not used left and right, as these terms are generally accepted as viewed from the driver's seat and in this case your head's under the bonnet.
Cosmetically there are 2 versions of the FTO
The original version of the FTO ran from 1994 until 1996 under the guises of GS, GR and GPX, available in both 5 speed manual and the much more popular, in Japan anyway, 4 speed tiptronic auto versions.
Except for the comparatively unloved 4 cylinder 1.8 GS model, a facelift version was introduced in 1997 for the remaining 2 litre models. This later offering can be identified by a different front bumper and the ovalish combined front sidelight, indicator and foglight arrangement gave way to separate round front fog lamps and front indicators with the side light migrating to the headlamp cluster.
Whilst the MIVEC engined GPX retained its name from 1994 onwards, the GR was replaced by the face-lifted GX model from 1997 onwards. The GP version R was only available in facelift form from 1997 and is essentially a stripped down lightweight version of the GPX with different interior trim and more angular rear spoiler.
Although the pre and post facelift FTOs are broadly similar, under the skin there are quite a number of important changes, the most significant being the inclusion of ABS brakes across the range and the adoption of 5 speed for the tiptronic models.
The Mitsubishi FTO, in common with most other Japanese vehicles and despite its age and relative complexity, is essentially a pretty reliable beast.
From our experience, problems often arise when the inherent Mitsubishi reliability is compromised by sloppy maintenance or simply duff repairs.
We would suggest a service interval of ideally 6 months or 6000 miles and no longer than 9 months or 9000 miles for both 4cylinder and V6 versions.
Ideally you should alternate an interim or oil service with a major service where, in addition all brakes are stripped and cleaned.
Don't forget that there are differing service schedules for the replacement of timing belt, spark plugs, auto transmission fluid, brake fluid and engine coolant.