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Mitsubishi Magna


Mitsubishi Magna

Mitsubishi Magna
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors Australia
Production 1985–2005
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size car
Predecessor Mitsubishi Sigma
Successor Mitsubishi 380

The Mitsubishi Magna is a mid-size car that was produced between 1985 and 2005 by Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL), based on Japanese platforms re-engineered for the Australian market. From 1991, the range was bolstered by a luxury variant, the Mitsubishi Verada. It was the first Australian-made vehicle to be exported worldwide in large numbers (chiefly to North America as the Verada-based Diamante) and it also featured Australian-production firsts such as tiptronic transmissions (1997) and all-wheel drive drivetrain (2002).

Manufactured between May 1985 at the Tonsley Park assembly plant in South Australia, Magna spanned three generations before being replaced by the Mitsubishi's last Australian manufactured vehicle, the Mitsubishi 380, twenty years later in September 2005. Although some of Magna's engines were imported, the most common four-cylinder (codenamed 4G54 and marketed as "Astron II") and V6 (codenamed 6G72 and 6G74 and marketed as "Cyclone") engines were also manufactured by MMAL in South Australia, at the Lonsdale plant.

Prior to Magna, Mitsubishi only had a large family car to rival the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore in the form of the six-cylinder Chrysler Valiant, which was inherited upon MMAL's takeover of Chrysler Australia's operations in 1980. Nevertheless, the Valiant was put out of production the following year, making the medium-sized Sigma MMAL's largest offering.

When Sigma's replacement became due, MMAL opined that a car's width was a crucial factor to Australian drivers who have traditionally favoured large cars. As a result, to compete more effectively against the large-sized Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore, former Chrysler engineers now working for MMAL, developed a wider mid-sized car specific for the Australian market. They accomplished this by splicing an extra 6.5 cm (2.6 in) right down the middle of Japan's mid-sized fifth generation Mitsubishi Galant sedan, in so doing creating the unique Mitsubishi Magna range. Given the inherent space efficiency of front-wheel-drive (FWD), this allowed MMAL to offer a passenger cabin that was as spacious, if not more spacious, than that of the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) market-dominant Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

Over the years, Magna grew in size and offered V6 power as well as all-wheel-drive (AWD), the latter to compete against the market's perception of better dynamics offered by its RWD rivals. The Magna was the first all-new Australian engineered and made Mitsubishi vehicle, and only one of two vehicles (along with the 380) manufactured in Australia by MMAL up to the full closure of its South Australian-based facilities in 2008.

Sale prices were a key critical factor in Magna's market competitiveness (especially with the first series[1]) since, for less or similar money, MMAL was able to sell a more refined and efficient package relative to its main rivals – the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore – thanks to the adaptation of Japanese platforms to Australian market conditions. This was especially reflected in the merits highlighted under the "Value for Money" category of the Australian Car of the Year titles won by Magna in 1985[2] and 1996.[3] In addition, the success of this formula lead other manufacturers (chiefly Toyota Australia as of its Camry of the mid-1990s) to populate this wide-body category of the Australian market.


  • First generation (1985–1991) 1
    • TM 1.1
    • TN 1.2
    • TP 1.3
  • Second generation (1991–1996) 2
    • TR / KR 2.1
    • TS / KS 2.2
    • List of models 2.3
  • Third generation (1996–2005) 3
    • TE / KE 3.1
    • TF / KF 3.2
    • TH / KH 3.3
    • TJ / KJ 3.4
    • TL / KL 3.5
    • TW / KW 3.6
    • List of models 3.7
  • Trivia 4
  • Australian sales figures 5
  • References 6
    • Bibliography 6.1

First generation (1985–1991)

First generation
TP Magna Elite sedan
Production May 1985 – March 1991
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Related Mitsubishi Galant (fifth generation)
Engine 2.6-litre "4G54"/"Astron II" I4
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,600 mm (100 in)
Length 4,600 mm (180 in) ('85–86)
4,620 mm (182 in) ('87–91)
4,723 mm (185.9 in) (wagon)
Width 1,760 mm (69 in) ('85–86)
1,765 mm (69.5 in) ('87–91)
Height 1,400 mm (55 in) ('85–86)
1,396 mm (55.0 in) ('87–91)
1,486 mm (58.5 in) (wagon)
Curb weight 1193–1265 kg (2630–2789 lb) ('85–86)
1211–1321 kg (2670–2912 lb) ('87–91)
1247–1420 kg (2749–3131 lb) (wagon)
TM Magna GLX sedan
TN Magna SE sedan

Following a claimed A$50 million development cost,[4] Mitsubishi introduced the Magna to Australia in May 1985, initially as a sedan only model, but with a station wagon added in June 1987. It was manufactured at Tonsley Park, South Australia but derived from the fifth-generation Japanese Mitsubishi Galant Σ (Sigma). MMAL engineers effectively created a new platform by widening the Galant by 65 millimetres (2.6 in) and strengthening it for outback conditions.[5] Mitsubishi Motors codenamed these cars as "YF" and "YFW"—"W" for "wide".[4] MMAL designated the original 1985 Magna as the "TM" series, with the 1987 and 1989 updated models coded "TN" and "TP", respectively.

This approach proved successful for the Australian market, making the Magna a strong competitor against all original competitors envisaged by MMAL, being the Toyota Corona, Holden Camira, Nissan Bluebird, and Ford Telstar, but also the larger Holden Commodore.[4] The platform widening also helped influence Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota to do the same for other markets,[5] such as in the case of the "wide-bodied" Toyota Camry (XV10) of 1991.

The only major aesthetic difference of the Magna relative to its Japanese donor was the wider body, as the general styling and side profile were similar also thanks to shared tooling for doors, guards and pillars.[4]

While still smaller and lighter than the then current RWD rivals, the Holden Commodore (VK) and Ford Falcon (XF), the Magna trumped the former for interior space due to the inherently superior packaging offered by a FWD layout. As the enlarging to accommodate Australian market requirements added minimal weight, and the overall footprint remained smaller compared to rivals, the Magna could get away with a big-bore four-cylinder engine instead of the more traditional six-cylinder engines used by Holden and Ford. Even despite a drag coefficient of Cd=0.36,[4] fuel efficiency was not significantly better. In particular, fuel consumption on average for all models was 11.0 L/100 km (21.4 mpg-US) in city driving and 7.8 L/100 km (30 mpg-US) in highway driving, as measured according to the applicable Australian Standard.

The engine fitted to the Magna was the Australian-made 2.6-litre transversely-mounted inline-four cylinder engine. Codenamed "4G54" and marketed as "Astron II", it was a development of the "4G52"/"Astron" engine fitted to the preceding rear-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Sigma, and it initially produced 85 kW (114 hp) at 5000 rpm and 198 N·m (146 lb·ft) at 3000 rpm. "Astron II" was an eight-valve single overhead cam (SOHC) design with advanced features for the time, such as hydraulic mounts and counterbalancing shafts to reduce vibrations—a characteristic of large four-cylinder engines. In the TM series, these Australian engines were carbureted, with Mitsubishi's "ECI Multi" electronic fuel injection (EFI) version launched in April 1987 with the TN series update boosting power to 93 kW (125 hp).

Magna was fitted with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic with electronic overdrive (its button on the front of the shift lever, providing a default three-speed mode or four-speed in overdrive mode), although the Executive and luxury Elite models were available only in automatic. In terms of suspension, Magna's front comprised MacPherson struts front design and at the rear a three-link torsion beam axle with coil springs (specifically, a torsion beam axle, located by two trailing arms and a Panhard rod, being a design similar to that used in the Audi 100 and Holden Camira).[4] The wagons ran a four-link beam axle with coil springs.


TM Magna SE sedan

At launch, the TM series range included the: GLX (base model from A$12,502 manual), SE (entry luxury model from A$14,400 manual) and Elite (high-level luxury, automatic only for A$18,972).[6] August 1986 saw the range expanded to include a better-than-GLX equipped model known as the "Executive". Aimed at fleet buyers, this new variant added full plastic wheel coverings, standard power steering and manual or automatic transmission with air conditioning as the sole option.[7] The luxury-oriented models—SE and Elite—featured higher equipment: seats were covered in velour trim with the driver's seat being seven-way adjustable (instead of four-way) and lumbar support for driver and passenger; rear integrated headrests and folding centre armrest with boot access; map lights and remote boot release; power windows, central locking and alloy wheels (standard on Elite and optional on SE); metallic paint standard (two-tone standard on Elite and mono-tone optional on Elite and SE); radio/cassette players (equipped with novel security system that would make the unit completely inoperable in the event that its power was disconnected) with the Elite also adding a rear quarter panel electric antenna, separate equaliser and steering wheel controls. In addition, instead of standard control steering stalks and ventilation panel on their dashboards, both the SE and Elite had two steering side pods, thus bringing all major controls within a driver's fingertips, and making them jointly height adjustable with the steering column. Elite also featured an LCD instrument panel, thanks to the Japanese automotive trend in the late 1980s. Common to all models were a tilt adjustable steering and fuel filler door release. Non-Elite models also had a roof mounted manual antenna and the following optional equipment: air conditioning (GLX, Executive and SE), power steering and automatic transmission (GLX and SE).

TN Magna GLX sedan

The first range TM Magna was marred by various quality-control problems (chiefly: fragile engine heads and automatic transmissions), which were eventually rectified throughout the life of this first-generation Magna. Nevertheless, at launch, this car was voted Wheels magazine's 1985 Car of the Year.

  • GLX (carbureted; manual and automatic)
  • Executive (carbureted; manual and automatic)
  • SE (carbureted; manual and automatic)
  • Elite (carbureted; automatic)


TN Magna Elite sedan

April 1987 brought the first update to Magna, designated TN. Cosmetic changes included a new grille insert, the relocation of the rear license plate to the bumper and revised trim. Better seats, an optional EFI engine upgrade, revised automatic transmission, improved audio and more equipment marked the technical changes which kept sales strong. From June 1987, a station wagon body variant engineered and exclusively built in Australia, broadened Magna's appeal further, particularly with fleets) thanks to a 1,200 kilograms (2,600 lb) load capacity. In June 1988 a sporty Elante model (with EFI, sportier suspension tuning and bodykit) and an Elite wagon also arrived.[8]

  • GLX (carbureted and EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Executive (carbureted and EFI; automatic)
  • SE (carbureted and EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Elite (EFI; automatic)
  • Challenge (EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Elante sedan (EFI; manual and automatic)


TP Magna Executive sedan
TP Magna Grand Tourer wagon

In June 1989, a final update and facelift of the first generation Magna was launched, known as the TP series. In this update, trimmings were again updated to keep the appearance fresher with a revised grille insert and wheels fitted, plus new colours available. A redesigned four-speed automatic transmission and improved seats were again featured in this update. Power steering became standard across the range during 1990, as did EFI except for the base GLX.[9] In September 1990, a Grand Tourer model of 1,000 sedans came to the market with bigger wheels, the Elante’s tauter suspension set-up and EFI.[9] Grand Tourers were offered in white (500 units), 250 in burgundy, 250 in Riviera blue, and also featured a full bodykit, gold striping and gold alloy wheels.[10]

The TP sedan remained in production until April 1991 whereas the station wagon continued to be sold alongside the new TR series Magna sedan until November 1991. Several limited edition TPs were introduced to support sales. In May 1991, the GLX-based Encore (sedan and wagon) with air-conditioning and EFI arrived.[9] Then in September 1991, 500 more Grand Tourers were released—this time as station wagons featuring silver striping and silver alloy wheels from the Elante trim.[10] The final run of production was taken up by 500 units of the Safari limited edition wagon in November 1991.[9]

  • GLX (carbureted and EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Encore (EFI, manual and automatic)
  • Executive (carbureted and EFI; manual and automatic)
  • SE (EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Elite (EFI; automatic)
  • Elante sedan (EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Grand Tourer sedan (EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Grand Tourer wagon (EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Safari wagon (EFI; manual and automatic)

Second generation (1991–1996)

Second generation (TR, TS)
Also called Mitsubishi Diamante
Mitsubishi Sigma
Mitsubishi Verada
Mitsubishi V3000 (New Zealand)
Production April 1991 – March 1996
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Related Mitsubishi Diamante (1st generation)
Engine 2.6-litre "4G54"/"Astron II" I4
3.0-litre "6G72"/"Cyclone" V6
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,722 mm (107.2 in)
Length 4,746 mm (186.9 in)
Width 1,775 mm (69.9 in)
Height 1,430 mm (56.3 in)
Curb weight 1,356 kg (2,989 lb)


Magna was reengineered from the ground-up in 1991, with the introduction of larger sedan and wagon bodies. The Magna, Diamante and Sigma models were created by splicing an extra 6.6 cm right down the middle of the platform from the Mitsubishi Galant, which won the Japanese Car of the Year Japan in 1987. The resultant wider car carried over the handling characteristics of the Mitsubishi Galant VR4 which was the basis for Mitsubishi's participation in the 1988–1992 World Rally Championships. Unlike its Japanese cousins, however, the 2nd-generation Magna featured conventional B-pillars and suspensions designs and did not contain advanced electronics such as user adjustable air suspension.

Despite this, the Australian-made TR Magna range was designed to be exported and its build quality reflected this engineering intent. With this new generation Magna, for the first time in its history, MMAL created a 2-tier luxury range called the Verada Ei or Xi. Both Magna and Verada shared the same body but the latter featured larger bumper bars to meet export market safety standards as well as luxury fittings. The top of the range Verada Xi also included electronic suspension control.

At launch, the original TR series Magna range comprised the Executive sedan (manual and automatic for A$21,568 and A$22,988), SE sedan (manual and automatic for A$24,725 and A$26,145) and the automatic sedan-only Elite (A$33,835).[11]

TR Magna was more powerful than its predecessor, notwithstanding carrying over the venerable "Astron II" engine – this time reworked and fitted with EFI. This was across the range except for the base model GLX, which remained carbureted (for a lower retail price to again appeal to company fleets; re-introduced for duty sometime after the original launch of the TR range). While Australia continued to endure the early 1990s recession, MMAL's ambitions to battle against Ford and Holden with a 6-cylinder Magna remained on hold.

Finally, in 1993, with the economy recovering and oil prices stabilised after the Gulf War, a V6 engine (codenamed "6G72" and marketed as "Cyclone") was indeed offered on Magna for the first time in its history – albeit as an option. This Australian-made 3.0-litre V6 was only available on the Executive which also had 15-inch wheels and a different interior trim. The V6 was effectively the same unit that had powered the luxury KR Verada range since late 1991.

Both TR/KR's four-cylinder and V6 powerplants were engineered to run on either normal (ULP 91 RON) or premium unleaded (PULP 95 RON) fuel.

The respective outputs of the four-cylinder "Astron II" engine were:

  • ULP: 131 hp (98 kW) at 4750 rpm / 212 N·m (156 lb·ft) at 3750 rpm
  • PULP: 137 hp (102 kW) at 4750 rpm / 220 N·m (160 lb·ft) at 4000 rpm

The respective outputs of the V6 "Cyclone" engine were:

  • ULP: 160 hp (120 kW) at 5500 rpm / 235 N·m (173 lb·ft) at 4000 rpm
  • PULP: 166 hp (124 kW) at 5500 rpm / 244 N·m (180 lb·ft) at 3000 rpm


TS Magna Executive interior

All models were facelifted in March 1994, thus creating the new TS Magna and KS Verada. Their respective engines were further upgraded, while Verada benefitted from extra for-export fittings such as more distinctive front grille and multi-parabola headlights (the first on an Australian-built car and a distinguishing figure of future luxury and sport Magna-derivates) and extra equipment to distinguish it from the increasingly popular Magna V6. The strong establishment of the Verada as the luxury flagship, and upmarket shift of the Magna SE, resulted in the demise of the Magna Elite.

In a show of confidence to demonstrate MMAL's ability to build high quality cars, with the TR Magna wagon, Australia became the only source of Diamante-based wagons for Japan, in so doing, planting the seed for a future world export program.

The ensuing premium export version of the V6 wagon was sold locally as the Mitsubishi KS Verada Touring wagon in December 1995 in a limited edition of only 81 manuals and 99 automatics. In Japan it was sold in small numbers as the Diamante wagon.

TS Magna was replaced by the all-new TE series in 1996, however, TS wagons remained for sale up to 1997 pending the delayed arrival of the new generation TE-based wagon.

List of models

TR (1991–1994)

  • GLX (carbureted; manual and automatic)
  • Executive (EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Executive V6 (manual and automatic)
  • SE (EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Elite (EFI; automatic)

TS (1994–1996)

  • GLX (carbureted; manual and automatic)
  • Executive (EFI; manual and automatic)
  • Executive V6 (manual and automatic)
  • Advance V6 (manual and automatic)
  • SE (EFI; manual and automatic)
  • SE V6 (automatic) — the SE contained many of the interior upgrades from the Verada, including power windows and red door lights. The bumpers were also body coloured, however they were the shorter Magna variant.
  • V6-Si sedan (manual and automatic)
  • Safari wagon (manual and automatic)
  • Challenge sedan and wagon
  • Profile wagon (manual and automatic)

Limited edition, released August 1994. 400 units were built,[12] 120 with manual and 280 with automatic transmission. The standard interior colour was blue, while the exterior was available only in Sarajevo White, Mirage Silver and Calypso Red.

  • V6Si decal to right hand side deck lid and both front quarter panels
  • 15" Alloy wheel (5-spoke J42)
  • Body coloured trims: grille, side protection mouldings, front and rear mud flaps
  • Deck lid spoiler added including hi-mount stop light
  • Dual exhaust muffler cutter added
  • Albans interior trim replaces Dawson trim
  • Air conditioning
  • ABS brakes

Third generation (1996–2005)

Third generation
Production April 1996 – September 2005
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Related Mitsubishi Diamante (2nd generation)
Engine 2.4-litre "4G64" I4
3.0-litre "6G72" V6
3.5-litre "6G74" V6
Transmission 4-speed automatic
4-speed "Tiptronic"
5-speed manual
5-speed "Tiptronic"
Wheelbase 2,722 mm (107.2 in)
Length 4,746 mm (186.9 in)
Width 1,775 mm (69.9 in)
Height 1,430 mm (56.3 in)
Curb weight 1,372 kg (3,025 lb)


TE/TF Magna Altera sedan
TF Magna Executive wagon

In 1996, MMAL released its third generation Magna, the TE series (codenamed "YR") broadly based on the pillar-less Japanese Diamante. Powerplants included a new, Japanese-imported, 2.4-litre four-cylinder (codenamed "4G64-S4" and with 90% new parts to its related engine fitted on the 2nd-generation Magna) and new Australian-made V6 with a 3.0-litre capacity for Magna and 3.5-litre for the upscale Verada.

The latter was a new variant planned for export to 18 countries such as the USA, primarily badged as the Diamante (Italian, Spanish and Portuguese for "diamond" linking it to the Mitsubishi 3-diamond badge). It was distinguished by more luxurious fittings and longer front and rear bumper bars to meet U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Due to slow sales thanks to growing consumer preference for more powerful engines, Magna's imported four-cylinder was dropped in March 1999, in time for the TH facelift.[13] At this time, the 3.0-litre V6 became standard and Verada's 3.5-litre engine also became a Magna option.

The TH/KH Magna/Verada won Wheels’ 1996 "Car of the Year" award (11 years after a similar feat by the TM Magna).

At the time of its launch, the TE Magna again displayed advanced styling – as did the pioneering TM Magna – turning into the most aerodynamic Australian-made sedan of the time with a drag coefficient of Cd=0.28. This achievement was due to a sweeping roofline (which, however, reduced rear headroom) and such things as "flag" external rear-view mirrors, fixed to independent door posts instead of directly from the front doors' A pillar triangle.

TE Magna and KE Verada again shared the same body, which was stiffer (13% improvement), bigger (longer than the TS Magna but close to the KS Verada; 10 mm higher but of similar height) yet only marginally heavier (by less than 20 kg) than the preceding 2nd-generation. This time around, the Magna/Verada duo had coupe-like frameless windows plus slim centre/B pillars, with increased front and rear legroom and boot space. Magna's interior sported a combination of grey trim and a high waistline, resulting in some criticisms about a claustrophobic 'bunker' effect this caused.

The TE Magna range included four- and six-cylinder engines, with increasing market preference for the larger engine thanks to relatively low fuel prices in Australian after the Gulf Wars in Iraq. The range initially comprised two models, the Executive and the Altera, both of which offered the choice of four-cylinder and V6 engines, four-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmissions. From October 1996, fully equipped Advance and Altera LS models (the latter, a modern-day Magna Elite) were added. The four-cylinder engine was a new 2.4-litre unit offering 105 kW (141 hp) and 205 N·m (151 lb·ft). The 3.0-litre V6 was also all new with 140 kW (188 hp) and 255 N·m (188 lb·ft), and claimed to be markedly quicker to the 100 km/h (62 mph) benchmark. As well, it claimed improved acceleration in the crucial 80–100 km/h overtaking region. The four-speed electronic automatic transmission with "INVECS II", was new and could adapt to the driver's pattern of use and road conditions to select the optimum gear for any situation, thanks to "fuzzy-logic". Front independent front (MacPherson struts) and rear, along with disc brakes with the option of a multi-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS). The braking system also included Australia's first "Banksia" parking brake, some 10 to 20% lighter and cheaper than conventional systems at the time.

Australian retail prices for the initial TE series Magna sedan-only range were: Executive 2.4-litre manual/automatic for A$27,250/A$28,900; Executive 3.0-litre manual/automatic for A$28,000/A$29,650; Altera 2.4-litre manual/automatic for A$33,060/A$34,710; Altera 3.0-litre automatic for A$35,540,[14] again undercutting its main rivals Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon with a more modern and refined package. The Executive was the entry level model that featured: power steering, four-speaker sound system, power mirrors, remote boot and fuel filler release, central locking and an engine immobiliser. The Altera model, which was a mid-entry level model added: air-conditioning, power windows and cruise control. Options included: airbags for driver and passenger, ABS, a CD player and alloy wheels. Subsequent additions to the range included the Advance (safety-package) and the Altera LS (mid-luxury package) model included: ABS, airbags, CD and alloy wheels. The Advance and Altera LS were MMAL's marketing response to the equivalent packages by Holden, in the form of the Commodore Acclaim and Berlina models.

On the New Zealand market, all V6 models from this series onwards were only sold as Diamante's – MMAL's prior exports there had otherwise been known as V3000 for the V6, and Magna for the four-cylinder.

The TE was launched with an initial palette of eight colours. Four were carried over from the previous TS Magna (i.e. Paris White, Calypso Red, Arctic Blue, and Maderia (maroon)) and another four were newly introduced (i.e. Silverleaf (silver), Kashmir (light beige), Greenstone and Embassy (charcoal grey)). A short lived Olive Green colour was introduced during the late production of the TE/KE and Atlantis Blue (dark sapphire blue pearl) was unique to the KE Verada.


The TF Range was introduced in the first half of 1997 and consisted of five versions: Executive, Advance, Altera, Altera LS and Sports. The imported 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine was seen only in the Executive. These cars had upgraded interior trims and redesigned wheel covers and featured a speed-limit chime and cup holders. The Executive and Advance were identical in appearance but the Advance had a different interior trim and was fitted as standard with airbags and ABS. The full colour-coded Altera and Altera LS introduced power windows and several other options such as dual front airbags. Manual transmissions became only available on Executive, Advance, Solara and Sports. From June to August 1998, a limited edition Solara was introduced that included all Advance features as standard, plus: factory alloy wheels; colour-coding; "Solara" badging on the rear doors and at the bottom right-hand side of the boot.

The TF Sports was available in only four colours: Paris White, Calypso Red, Nautilus Blue (deep blue), and Frontier Green (deep green), the latter two colours being new to the TF range. It carried all the standard features of the Executive model on which it was based, plus a deck lid spoiler, red side strip, 16" alloy wheels (borrowed from the Verada range but polished), and unique interior trims such as a metal-style instrument cluster fascia. Its V6 was as standard on all Magna's, however, it could be optioned with a four-speed automatic transmission featuring for the first time on an Australian-built car, a "tiptronic" manual mode (on a different transmission plate plane, with "push-forward" upshifts and "push-back" downshifts). The Sports had improved handling characteristics thanks to the addition of an 18 mm rear swaybar (a rear bar swaybar was not fitted to the standard Magna's), 11% firmer rear springs, firmer upper control arm and trailing arm bushes, and suspension height lowered by 10 mm. Options included dual airbags and ABS. This specific version represented MMAL's foray into the Australian sporty family passenger car sector, as well as an initial and long overdue departure from the more conservative Japanese way of thinking. TF Sport's production ceased after September 1998.

Several new colours (Cocoon White (pearl white), Astral Blue (metallic blue), Lugano Green (pearl blue/green) and Burra (pearl dark red/bronze)) were introduced during the later production of the TF range and the final unit built came out in December 1998. The 3.5-litre KF Verada's were identical to the previous KE, except for a few upgrades such as the speed-limit chime. About 60,000 TF Magna's were built and over 5,000 KF Verada's for Australian roads (the latter battling in the world's most competitive market at the time – the USA – against the likes of the Lexus ES300, also sold in Australia but at significantly higher "prestige car" prices).


TH Magna Advance sedan

The TH Range was launched early in 1999 with the earliest examples built in December 1998. The cost of this upgrade (including Verada models) reached $112 million. There were some upgrades to the basic design of the car, such as a more aggressive front grille, redesigned rear, revised interior designs, complete new designs in the wheel covers and alloy wheels. Air conditioning was made standard across the range. A number of colour changes occurred: Calypso Red was replaced with Sienna Red, while Sable Black pearl (pearl black with green flakes) took the place of Embassy grey. Riversand, a new strong beige metallic colour, was also introduced in April 1999 as were Mawson White, a brighter more pure white (pictured right) and Pewter (metallic silver), which replaced Silverleaf. Island Blue and Glacier Green (aqua blue/green) were 2 other new colours used on the TH but are rare. The 2.4-litre engine was dropped; the 3.0-litre V6 was fitted on the Executive; while all other models inherited the previous 3.5-litre V6 (optional on Executive). This Magna claimed the honours of being the first Australian-made car with a four-channel ABS featuring an Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) system – a Bosch 5.3 module. Another new key feature was an 8-function trip computer and integrated anti-theft alarm system. The line up was: Executive (manual and auto); Advance (manual and auto); Altera LS (auto) and Sports (manual and auto).

MMAL also became the first Australian manufacturer to offer a traction control system named "TCL" that was switchable and initially available only on Magna Sports. A limited edition Solara was re-introduced later in 1999 as well as the V6 Si of April 2000. Altera LS was discontinued at the end of 1999, due to its closeness to the Verada Ei model. The 1999 models lacked V6 badges but the 2000 models often featured V6 badge on the back lower right end of the boot lid. The last TH models built between May and June 2000, were 1000 Executive LS units (automatic only), which were similar to the discontinued Altera LS but without power windows, dual airbags and somewhat not fully colour-coded (black mirrors).

A Magna Sports participated in the Australian GT Production Car Championship, with varying successes, driven by MMAL engineer and privateer, Robert Chadwick. The vehicle featured front limited slip differential (LSD) later brought to production on the TJ Magna Ralliart.


TJ II Magna Advance sedan
TJ II Magna Sports sedan (in rarest colour of the range – Ralliart Flame red)
KJ II Verada Xi
KJ II Verada Ei wagon

With the launch of the TJ series in July 2000, Magna presented itself with a more aggressive styling. The car's overall shape remained the same as the previous TE to TH range, except for a raised central section for the bonnet ending with a beak splitting the front grille, making some journalists coin the phrase "bird of prey". Magna Sports and the new VR-X model featured the same one-unit turn-light/headlights as Verada. At the back, the boot-lid featured a recessed centre section and new tail light lenses with circular lit chambers.

TJ Magna Executive 3.0-litre wagon

A new new-chromed Mitsubishi badge was also introduced, replacing the more traditional red triple diamonds. MMAL's proposal to use black triple Mitsubishi diamonds as a distinguishing feature of the Magna sports range was rejected by Japan's conservative management (ironically, years later, Toyota adopted this badging for its Australian Camry Sportivo range). Another external change in the TJ model was the replacement of the chrome-look window surround with a more modern black fitting (Verada models maintained the chrome).

At launch, the upgraded TJ range comprised:[15]

  • Magna Executive sedan 3.0-litre V6 sedan for A$27,770 manual or A$29,370 automatic with a 3.0-litre V6 (or 3.5-litre V6 for an extra A$920)
  • Magna Executive wagon for A$31,060 with a 3.0-litre V6 or A$31,980 with a 3.5-litre V6, both automatic only
  • Magna Advance 3.5-litre V6 sedan for A$33,990 or wagon for A$35,680, both automatic only
  • Magna Sports 3.5-litre "High Output" sedan for A$34,490 manual or A$34,490 for the automatic
  • the new, Magna VR-X sedan with the above 3.5-litre "High Output" engine for A$37,490 manual or A$39,490 automatic
  • Verada Ei 3.5-litre V6 for A$38,990 or wagon for A$41,520, both automatic only
  • Verada Xi 3.5-litre V6 sedan for A$47,990, automatic only.[16]

Several new colours were introduced including a very bright Island Blue (aqua) and Glacier Green (green aqua, which were both used on some previous TH models in 1999), which were discontinued after only a few months of production. In May 2001, a new darker Pacific Blue colour was introduced to replace the just mentioned two colours and Flame Red was also reintroduced to the range, mostly as the hero colour for the Ralliart model. Sapphire Blue and Daintree Green were added too and proved popular. Grey and beige interior options were made available to any exterior colour in the Executive/Advance, with grey otherwise the default, becoming the only option on the Series II given its greater sales popularity. Equipment levels increased in the TJ series with a driver's airbag and CD player now standard across the range.

The new range carried over the previous 140 kW (188 hp) 3.0-litre "6G72" V6 for the Executive models, which could be upgraded as an option to the 150 kW (201 hp) 3.5-litre "6G74" V6 fitted to all models TJ models. This has resulted in the TJ Executives with a 3.0-litre engines being extremely and that engine being dropped altogether with subsequent range upgrades. The 3.5-litre was slightly modified giving it an initial power output of 150 kW (201 hp), increased to 155 kW (208 hp) – primarily through the use of a more free-flowing exhaust system at the time of launch of the TJ series II.[17]

Unlike "6G74"-based engines in Japan, the Australian-built V6s still had 24 valves but used a SOHC design instead of a more complex and costly double overhead cam (DOHC) design. For the first time, a factory-fitted LPG option was made available on Executive and Advance models with those engines delivering the maximum power of 143 kW (192 hp) at 5000 rpm and maximum torque of 296 N·m (218 lb·ft) at 4000 rpm.

Sports and VR-X featured a larger 2.5" free flowing sports exhaust system, minor changes to the timing and duration of valve opening (both inlet and exhaust)[18] that boosted power up to 163 kW (219 hp), resulting in a moderately sporty exhaust tone and class-leading performance amongst Australian-made sport sedans. Their engine was marketed as "High Output" to distinguish it from the 150–155 kW base version. This drivetrain were later fitted to the automatic-only Verada models, thus creating the limited edition TJ-series Verada GTV model (a standard range model later in Magna's life, known as GTVi).

The Sports featured full exterior colour coding, 6-spoke 16"x6" alloy wheels, improved suspension and swaybars and a deck lid spoiler (which similarly adorned the Verada GTV exported to the USA as the Diamante VR-X). To these, the mechanically similar VR-X added aggressively styled front and rear bumper spoiler extensions, wheel arch extensions, side skirts and round chrome exhaust tip. Inside, the Sports and VR-X shared white instrument cluster dials, sports fabric seat trim and front seat backrests embroidered with the respective models' name. The automatic VR-X also had a chrome gear gate shared with the Verada.

Automatic Sports and VR-X (as well as Verada) models were now fitted with a 5-speed "tiptronic" transmission with "TCL" traction control module, making Mitsubishi the first Australian manufacturer to go beyond the then common four-speeds. Meanwhile, manual transmissions were dropped from the wagons, which gained standard automatic transmissions.

At the time, the Sports and VR-X models proved to be the best designed, if not fastest Australian-made 6-cylinder sports sedan relative to its main rivals such as the 172 kW (231 hp) AUII Ford Falcon XR6 VCT, 180 kW (241 hp) and the V6-supercharged HSV XU6 (that was a more expensive alternative and sports upgrade of the 171 kW (229 hp) Holden Commodore S).[19]

With build and wholesale between May and June 2001, MMAL presented a Magna "VR-X Limited Edition" marketed as "VRX-tra". It featured upgraded exterior and interior features as part of an optional "Leather Pack" offered in 2 parts. The upgrades of "Pack 1" included:

  • unique 5-spoke VR-X 17"x7" wheels (instead of the 6-spoke 16" alloys shared with Sports) shod with Bridgestone Grid II tyres
  • black callipers and external black door handles
  • clear front indicators bezels
  • a unique black fabric/Howe leather trim with "VR-X" embroided front seats in either blue or red and matching instrument cluster (with "VR-X" inscribed rev counter) inscripted dials depending on exterior colour (i.e. blue with Pacific Blue, Sapphire Blue and Mawson White paint; red with Sienna Red, Pewter and Sable (black))
  • silver panels for the centre console
  • Verada-sourced fittings such as upgraded 8-speaker sound system with power antenna and in-dash four-CD stacker plus upgraded trip computer with dual readout.

A sunroof (marketed as "Pack 2" with product code "AE4") was offered for the first time on Magna, as an add-on option to the Leather Pack. It added front map and 'C' pillar lamps. In all, MMAL build 175 of these models, of which 54 were fitted with the "tiptronic" transmission and a sunroof. Pack 1 and 2 cost A$1,750 each on top of the VR-X's retail price of A$38,690 for the manual and A$40,690 for the automatic.[20]

A Magna Limited Edition (also known as "LE") was a further special edition launched during the TJ series lifespan, to boost sales. Essentially, this Magna was a base model Executive that featured Verada Ei-derived fittings comprising full leather trim, front parabolic headlights (with amber turn signals), alloy wheels and fog lights.

In mid 2001, a mid-cycle update model called the TJ2 was released, not to be confused with the TJ Series 2 which followed in 2002. Equipment upgrades included an integrated digital odometer and trip meter (replacing the previous analogue version) and climate control from the Verada now available on VR-X models for example, plus minor upgrade features such as a glovebox light. The top-of-the-range status of the Magna VR-X was fully reinforced with the standard issue of the former Limited Edition's clear front indicators bezels, distinctive 17"x7" alloy wheels and black door handles, while the Sports was now fitted with a smaller deck lid spoiler (which became optional on all Magna's or standard on Executive-based limited editions). A further 95 Leather Packs were also re-issued for the TJ2 VR-X model.

In October 2001, MMAL's push to scroll off perceptions of conservatism lead to the showcasing of two prototypes at that year's Sydney Motor Show: a Magna Ralliart and Magna Sportswagon.[21] The latter was a Magna wagon with Sports/VR-X drivetrain, in ChromaFlair exterior paint and interior (centre console and tunnel trim), full bodykit accented in silver, lowered suspension and aftermarket 17-inch ROH Andrenalin alloy wheels.[22] It was launched 2 months later with the more conventional interior and standard 16-inch alloy wheels of the Magna Sport sedan.[23]

The Ralliart concept in sedan form only, was a further development of the VR-X and the most powerful Magna ever designed to leverage off Mitsubishi's World Rally Championship exploits. In fact, its overall styling was based on the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution range, in particular the front bumper bar (void of any fog lights) and its bi-plane deck lid spoiler inspired by the limited edition Lancer Evolution VI TME (the rest of the bodykit included carry-over VR-X wheel arch extensions, unique side skirts and squared-off chrome exhaust tip). Among other things, in prototype form, Magna Ralliart was said to feature AWD, Recaro front seats, Momo steering wheel and gear levers as part of a loud black and bright red interior. 500 individually numbered Ralliart models had been planned.

Due to budget constraints, however, the Ralliart (codenamed "TJ0R42")[24] was brought to market in February 2002 still as an individually numbered vehicle but only with a FWD platform and more standard fittings: side bolstered Mitsubishi-designed front seats; the standard Magna's steering wheel and gear levers wrapped in Momo black/red leather; the Magna VR-X Limited Edition's red-only instrument cluster dials (but with a "Ralliart" inscribed rev counter) and silver interior trims for the centre console and tunnel (but without the VR-X and Verada-sourced chrome gear plate for the automatic). The sound system was a complete upgrade, being a 14-speaker Fujitsu Ten Eclipse tuner with CD player and remote control. This car was also the first local Mitsubishi product to offer datadot paint technology."[24]

Mechanically, the 240 km/h speed-limited Ralliart (compared to 210 km/h for the Sports/VR-X) featured Pirelli-shod 17-inch Enkei alloy wheels, and Koni suspension dampers (tuned by Mitsubishi and optimised with the local Koni agent, Toperformance)[24] with similar same spring rates and 22 mm front, 18 mm rear anti-roll bars as the Magna Sports/VR-X, new power steering pump to increase weight and feedback, upsized brake disks from the Mitsubishi Diamante AWD. Specifically, the 294 mm front ventilated discs and 284 mm rear ventilated discs feature harder material and 18 mm and 26 mm bigger than other Magna models, which have solid rear discs. Front twin-piston and rear single-piston callipers provided 26% and 32% more pad area, with front pads sourced from Japan and rears from Australia, with the same friction material as the VR-X.

The engine was still a SOHC "6G74" 24-valve design but with a 180 kW output thanks to a more aggressive cam profile, modified head and combustion chamber (compression ratio from the Sports/VR-X's 9.0:1 to 9.4:1), remapped ECU and a modified Magna VR-X exhaust system – featuring stainless-steel extractors by HM Headers (the latter on their own contributing to a power boost of only 2–3 kW) and larger muffler in the centre pipe (to improve mid- and high-rev exhaust note). Ralliart was available with either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed "tiptronic" automatic transmission both costing less than comparable V6 and V8 rivals, at A$48,990 on launch and a A$1,850 sunroof being the only option. The hardware for the automatics was effectively inherited from Sports/VR-X models, in that it featured the same "TCL" traction control unit (instead of the LSD exclusive to the manual Ralliart, from the Mitsubishi FTO GPX) but with varied shift patterns.[25]

Despite its competitive pricing relative to the key rival products offered by Holden, Ford (and their respective performance affiliates, HSV and Tickford) plus Toyota, ongoing speculation of the Adelaide plant's closure forced MMAL to launch extensive marketing campaigns and promotions, such as free servicing and cash-back offers. Another initiatives included the TJ Magna, spearheaded by the VR-X and wagon models becoming the official vehicles of the 2002 'Tour Down Under' international cycling event held in Adelaide, South Australia, where these vehicles and V6 engines were manufactured. At the Sydney Motor Show in October 2002, MMAL also displayed a Ralliart painted in the same yellow paint as the Lancer Evolution of the time, to renew interest in its performance models. The colour was marketed as Wasp Yellow and became an option on the Magna VR-X, Ralliart and Verada GTVi.[26]

In 2001, a Magna TJ Sports won Class D of the GT Production Showroom Showdown Race at Bathurst and a RWD V8-powered Magna contested the V8 Future Touring class of the 2000–01 Australian Super Touring Championship. The Magna VR-X was voted the best-value performance car on the Australian market by a News Limited panel of motoring journalists.

Total production of the TJ series ended in 2001 reaching 43,492 units, with 19,215 TJ/KJ models exported to the US, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and the Middle East (where Magna also served as one of Iraq's police patrol cars for a time).

In 2002, the TJ Series 2 (also referred to as 'Series II') was launched, resulting in the 3.0-litre V6 being dropped in favour of the 3.5-litre V6. A "tiptronic" function to all four-speed automatic models (as originally featured on the TF Magna Sports) and other features standard across the range included ABS and side impact bars as fitted on export models. Sports and VR-X otherwise remained unchanged except for other minor upgrades to fittings such as full black exterior door handles (as opposed to the chrome striped versions on all other Magna models). The most important award for this series turned out to be the KJ Verada's title of New Zealand's Car of the Year for 'Best Large Car'.

By far the biggest highlight of the TJ Series 2 was the introduction, in late 2002, of the Magna AWD and Verada AWD range, whose mechanicals remained available to the market until 2005, when the new, FWD-only, Mitsubishi 380 was launched.

Marketed as "Quadtec", the AWD system adopted sought to leverage off Mitsubishi's international rally heritage and carried a development cost of $10 million.[27] With its introduction, MMAL effectively beat the Ford Territory and the Holden Adventra to the marketplace to claim the title of the first Australian mass-built AWD passenger car (excluding the XY Falcon-based commercial utility produced and sold by Ford Australia in the 1970s). The range comprised only 3 models all with automatic transmissions: Magna AWD, Magna Sport AWD and Verada AWD.[28]

With Magna now competing well in terms of overall size, the AWD development was an attempt by MMAL to counter Australians' long held perception that its perennial RWD rivals – Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore – offered better handling. This led to an advertising campaign portraying a VT Commodore and AU Falcon—driven by stunt drivers and with traction control switched off—oversteering wildly out of control on a dirt bend, implying that RWD is dangerous. Both Holden and Ford threatened legal action, the commercial was removed, and apologies were issued in newspapers. Despite all of this, the Magna AWD failed to provide any noticeable boost in sales.

The AWD system proved to be mechanically reliable with improved handling compared to its FWD only version, albeit at the cost of lower performance and official fuel consumption figures. Specifically, Magna AWD and Verada AWD shared the 154 kW (207 hp)/310 N·m (229 lb·ft) engine, while the Sports AWD had a 159 kW (213 hp)/318 N·m (235 lb·ft) version. Those power and torque outputs – and overall performance – were down on equivalent FWD Magna’s due to structural revisions (chiefly, a revised firewall developed in Australia by ROH) restricting the Sports' free flowing exhaust system, and the extra weight of the AWD driveline components (up to 140 kg (310 lb) depending on model and equipment levels). Due to budget and development constraints, the TL Magna VR-X AWD was also limited to 16-inch alloy wheels instead of the FWD's 17'x7'-inch wheels.

Original AWD sales projections were for 300 sales per month, but sales figures by August 2003 showed that only 150 AWD Magna's were being sold each month. Fleets and rental agencies are attributed as the buyers of the all initial production. The AWD system was available only on sedans and only with the 5-speed "tiptronic" automatic transmission of the FWD Magna Sports/VR-X and Verada.


KL Verada Xi

Mitsubishi previewed the new style Magna at the New York Motorshow in April 2003, as the export version "Diamante" for the United States and now Canada. Australia had to wait for the launch of the new Magna and Verada range – in TL and KL guise (codenamed "XR") till July 2003. In a similar evolution of the Holden Commodore – from VX II to VY – the TL Magna simply had newly styled front and rear ends, and mildly revised mechanicals and interior trims.

The range no longer featured Executive, Altera or Sports models, which had been replaced by ES, LS and VR, respectively. The only carry-over badge remained VR-X. A limited edition "Solara" was re-offered, carrying electric windows, alloy wheels and deck lid spoiler. Full leather trim became an option on the VR-X.

A Ralliart-accessorised VR and VR-X Limited Edition was marketed with the aid of Mitsubishi rally driver, Ed Ordynski. These models featured the TJ Magna Ralliart's Koni suspension components and Enkei alloy wheels but no upgraded engine and brakes relative to the rest of the range. Other distinctive features included full colour-coding including of the headlight surrounds, which was later adopted across the whole TW range. These models retailed, respectively, from A$33,990 and A$36,990 for the manual and more if automatic.[29]

Although mechanically the new TL/KL range remained the same as the TJ series, stylistically, the new TL/KL range featured a radical facelift by Frenchman and ex-Mercedes designer Olivier Boulay. Gone were the angular lines of the superseded model, replaced by what Mitsubishi's new global head of design envisioned as the new Mitsubishi corporate face – a style that would eventually be part of other Mitsubishi vehicles (e.g. Lancer Evolution and Colt/Mirage). The frontal appearance of the Magna/Verada range had a distinctive grille again divided like on the TJ series, but this time by an extension of the bumper bar and not the bonnet. Large chrome Mitsubishi triple diamonds logo adorned the front bumper, whereas the front guards now had a swoopy appearance with triangular headlamp assemblies. At the rear, a rounded boot lid and bumper bar were fitted to continue the swoopy front theme, but the rear tail lights remained effectively unchanged from those of the TJ series (except for VR-X which featured darkened lenses). The new car's design was controversial and not well received by Australian buyers, in a repeat of the crisis that hit the Ford AU Falcon of 1998. Inevitably, sales slowed dramatically.

Three new colours were added to the TL Magna range: Tanami (metallic gold), Grange and—from September 2003 production—Starlight (a pearl white, which replaced Cocoon White).

The TL Magna benefited from a number of safety upgrades. All models met the latest Offset Deformable Barrier (ODB) and Dynamic Side Impact requirements. Front driver and passenger airbags were standard, as were side air bags contained in the sides of the front seats. While the wheelbase of the TL Magna had not changed, rear legroom was claimed to have been increased by way of reshaping the rear of the front seats, the rear seat back and cushion, as well as careful re-arrangement of the rear seat hip points and squabs. Other interior revisions included rear air vents for the first time on Magna as well as electric driver's seat height adjustment. For the first time, a factory-fitted GPS system was also offered as an option whereas most cars gained climate control, without the previous' range, Verada-derived display. Cost-cutting measures included the relocation of the front power window controls on the lesser range models from the door panels to the centre console (as an aside, it is because of this systemic cost-cutting that TJ Magna is regarded as the highest quality and most developed Magna ever) plus no battery covers in the engine bays (though some claim this was due to avoid overheating of the battery).

The mechanicals and drivetrain of the Magna/Verada range for all models remained largely unchanged. The 3.5-litre SOHC, 24-valve V6 engine developed 155 kW (208 hp) of power at 5250 rpmand 316 N·m (233 lb·ft) of torque at 4000 rpmon Magna ES, LS, Verada Ei and Verada Xi models. Magna VR and VR-X (as well as Verada GTVi, no longer a limited edition as in TJ guise) retained their uprated 3.5-litre V6 engine 163 kW (219 hp) of power at 5250 rpm and 317 N·m (234 lb·ft) of torque at a higher 4500 rpm. Rear stabiliser bars were now fitted to all sedan models as well.

In terms of the AWD range, by 2003 sales extended to private buyers following the initial uptake by fleets (such as the NSW Police) and rental agencies. In TL guise, Sports models were now renamed as VR and, apart from AWD-specific driving and handling characteristics, MMAL relied on minimal badging to differentiate this range from FWD models. On the competition front, the TL Magna AWD entered in the Australian Cup class of the Australian Rally Championship in 2004, winning on debut albeit as the only car entered in its class.

Overall, the TL Magna became the oldest Australian-made passenger car offering, doomed in its redevelopment or replacement by the ever-increasing financial crisis that hit Mitsubishi's US operations plus the recall scandal that tarnished Mitsubishi of Japan (that caused its then partner, Mercedes-Chrysler, to eventually jump ship).


TW Magna Solara sedan

A minor facelift, coded as the TW series, was launched in late 2004 and can be differentiated by 'Series II' badging and colour-coded headlight surrounds (as first featured on the limited edition TL Magna VR/VR-X "Ralliart"). This was to be the last ever Magna (a similar fate awaited the KW Verada).

Three new colours were introduced: Platinum metallic (replacing Pewter), Zen pearlescent (replacing Pacific Blue), and Fusion metallic. The latter two were only made available on VR-X and VR wagon models.

With slowing sales, MMAL launched an extended warranty campaign applicable to all cars sold from 1 December 2004. The new warranty program extended full manufacturer's coverage from 3 years to 5 years or 130,000 km (whichever came first), and gave a further 5 years or 30,000 km coverage on the driveline components to the original owner only. In addition, MMAL launched an advertising campaign that starred MMAL's then CEO Tom Phillips, who told potential customers "If you can find a better built car – buy it!". This approach recycled the advertising used by Chrysler in the USA in the 1980s, when Lee Iacocca gave American car buyers similar advice.

Both strategies helped reduce the number of stockpiled vehicles (some 8000 unsold 2004 TL and 2004, 2005 TW cars) – an important requirement in the lead-up to the launch of the Magna's replacement, the Mitsubishi 380.

While new car buyers largely ignored them, TL and TW Magna's became popular in the second hand market given their sound engineering, reliability and – unfortunately – low resale values due to the never-ending speculation that engulfed MMAL's Australian production till its demise in March 2008. In particular, ex-government fleet cars became popular for conversion to taxi usage in South Australia – the birthplace of Magna.

List of models

TE (1996–1997)

  • Executive (2.4-litre 4-cylinder and 3.0-litre V6)
  • Advance (3.0-litre V6)
  • Altera (2.4-litre 4-cylinder and 3.0-litre V6)
  • Altera LS (3.0-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)

Luxury series:

  • Verada Ei (3.5-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)
  • Verada Xi sedan (3.5-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)

Note: manuals always 5-speed only and all non-limited edition models offered in sedan and wagon with manual or automatic transmissions unless specifically noted (TE to TW range).

TF (1997–1998)

  • Executive (2.4-litre 4-cylinder and 3.0-litre V6)
  • Advance (3.0-litre V6)
  • Altera (3.0-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)
  • Altera LS (3.0-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)
  • Sports sedan (3.0-litre V6; manual or 4-speed tiptronic automatic)

– Limited editions:

  • Solara (July and August 1998: based on Executive 3.0-litre V6)

Luxury series:

  • Verada Ei (3.5-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)
  • Verada Xi sedan (3.5-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)

Note: TF is the last Magna series offered with a 4-cylinder engine (never fitted to Verada).

TH (1999–2000; the first approx. 30 units built in December 1998)

  • Executive (3.0-litre or 3.5-litre V6)
  • Executive LS (May–June 2000: 3.5-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)
  • Advance (3.5-litre V6)
  • Altera LS (1999: 3.5-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)
  • Sports sedan (3.5-litre V6; manual or 4-speed tiptronic automatic)

– Limited editions:

  • Solara (based on Advance, same interior trim as Advance)
  • V6 Si (based on Executive 3.5-litre V6)

Luxury series:

  • Verada Ei (3.5-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)
  • Verada Xi sedan (3.5-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)

TJ series I/II (2000–2003)

  • Executive (up to 30 July 2002: 3.5-litre and 3.0-litre V6)
  • Advance (3.5-litre V6; 4-speed automatic)
  • AWD sedan (from 2002: down-powered 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Sports sedan (uprated 163 kW 3.5-litre V6; manual or 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Sports wagon (late 2001: uprated 163 kW 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Sports AWD sedan (down-powered Sports 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • VR-X sedan (based on Sports but with full bodykit; uprated 163 kW 3.5-litre V6; manual or 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Ralliart sedan (2002: based on VR-X but with revised bodykit; uprated 180 kW 3.5-litre V6 and LSD on manual models; manual or 5-speed tiptronic automatic from Sports/VR-X; total production approx. 500 individually numbered; limited number (4) in Wasp Yellow in 2003)

– Limited editions:

  • Solara (based on Advance; 4-speed automatic; 2 versions)
  • V6 Si (based on Executive; in Sports/VR-X colours only)
  • Commonwealth Games (2002: badged "LE" and based on Executive; in Sports/VR-X colours only)
  • Limited Edition (badged "LE" and based on Executive with Verada appointments; 4-speed automatic; Sports front headlights with amber turn indicators.)
  • VR-X Limited Edition sedan (TJ – May 2001: 175 units built; TJ2 – August 2001: 95 units built; featuring leather pack with matching instrument dials, silver centre dash, 2-DIN Verada sound system, 17-inch wheels with revised suspension settings and optional sunroof; marketed "VR-Xtra")
  • VR-X sedan painted in Wasp Yellow (2003: 50 cars built)

Luxury series:

  • Verada Ei (3.5-litre V6; 4-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Verada Xi sedan (3.5-litre V6; 4-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Verada AWD sedan (down-powered 3.5-litre V6; 4-speed tiptronic automatic)

– Limited editions:

  • Verada GTV (and later GTVi) sedan (uprated 3.5-litre V6 from Sports/VR-X; 5-speed tiptronic automatic; limited to 400 units prior to becoming a permanent model GTVi from TL series; 20 units built in "Wasp Yellow")

Note: manual transmission not available in wagons or AWD models and VR-X sedan only (TJ to TW series).

TL (2003–2004)

  • ES (previous 3.5-litre V6; manual or 4-speed tiptronic automatic; replaced Executive)
  • ES LPG sedan (143 kW 3.5-litre V6; 4-speed tiptronic automatic; first LPG dedicated Magna)
  • LS (previous 3.5-litre V6; manual or 4-speed tiptronic automatic; replaced Advance)
  • LS LPG sedan (143 kW 3.5-litre V6; 4-speed tiptronic automatic; first LPG dedicated Magna)
  • AWD sedan (previous down-powered 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • VR (previous uprated 163 kW 3.5-litre V6; manual and 5-speed tiptronic automatic; replaced Sports)
  • VR AWD sedan (previous down-powered Sports 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • VR-X sedan (previous uprated 163 kW 3.5-litre V6; manual and 5-speed tiptronic automatic)

– Limited editions

  • Solara (based on ES; automatic)
  • VR Limited Edition sedan (2004: main highlights – Koni suspension and Enkei wheels from TJ Magna Ralliart; standard VR/VR-X engine)
  • VR-X Limited Edition sedan (2004: main highlights – Koni suspension and Enkei wheels from TJ Magna Ralliart; standard VR/VR-X engine)

Luxury series:

  • Verada Ei (previous 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Verada Xi sedan (previous 3.5L-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Verada GTVi sedan (previous 3.5-litre V6 from Sports/VR-X; 5-speed tiptronic automatic; permanent range model)
  • Verada AWD sedan (previous down-powered 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)

TW (2004–2005)

  • ES (previous 3.5-litre V6; manual and 4-speed tiptronic transmission)
  • LS AWD sedan (previous down-powered 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • LS wagon (previous 3.5-litre V6; 4-speed tiptronic automatic; LS FWD sedan discontinued)
  • VR wagon (previous uprated 163 kW 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic; rare model; VR sedan discontinued)
  • VR-X sedan (previous uprated 163 kW 3.5-litre V6; manual or 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • VR-X AWD sedan (previous down-powered Sports/VR 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic; new model replacing VR AWD sedan)

Luxury series:

  • Verada Ei (previous 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Verada Xi sedan (previous 3.5-litre V6 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Verada GTVi sedan (previous 3.5-litre V6 from Sports/VR-X; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)
  • Verada AWD sedan (previous down-powered 3.5-litre V6; 5-speed tiptronic automatic)

Note: LPG dedicated models discontinued.


  • The Australian National Motor Museum in Birdwood, South Australia, has been exhibiting a white 1983 TM Magna sedan prototype, along with an export 1996 KE Verada wagon as milestone vehicles of this series of models.
  • The 2nd-generation Magna/Verada platform had the least series (TR and TS (2) compared to the 1st-generation TM to TP (3)), while the 3rd-generation platform was the longest serving series (TE to TW = 6) and spawned the most engine variants
  • Magna VR-X is the longest serving and only nomenclature used on all last generations of Magna's since its introduction (from TJ onwards), with MMAL rendering it its "sports" badge for various vehicles available in Australia – from Magna's successor, the 380, to the fully imported Colt, Lancer, Outlander, Grandis and Pajero – unlike the Magna, however, these VR-X models did not gain any engine power relative to the rest of their ranges
  • Magna AWD, VR-X and Verada Xi were never offered as station wagons
  • Verada Xi was never offered in AWD
  • The rarely seen TJ Magna Sports station wagons were fitted with a subtly 2-tone full bodykit unlike the sedan, which only had a deck lid spoiler
  • Both the Magna Sports and Magna VR-X variants share the same Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) model codes, with VR-X models denoted by the option code "AD3" for the manual version VR-X, and "AD4" for the automatic version VR-X. This is because, in effect, although Magna VR-X was marketed and sold as a stand-alone top-of-the-range model, it was an options pack on the Magna Sports
  • Magna Sports 3.5-litre V6 mechanicals were shared with Magna VR-X and Verada GTV & GTVi
  • At their time, Magna Sports/VR-X and, subsequently Magna Ralliart, were the fastest Australian-made normally aspirated 6-cylinder cars (Motor magazine favouring the TJ Magna VR-X (pre-update) over the AU2 Ford Falcon XR6 VCT and HSV XU6 (May 2001)).
  • The largest-engined Magna is a Ralliart V8 reengineered into RWD for racing in the V8 Future Touring class of the Australian Super Touring Class Championship
  • A 2-door coupe version of the TL Magna exists in the form of the V8-engined "Ovakil" hot-road
  • The KL Verada (Diamante) was the first Magna/Verada to be first launched internationally (2003 New York Auto Show)
  • The 3rd generation Magna's upper part of the round centre-dash cupholders has a square shape in order to also accommodate the famed Farmers Union Iced Coffee carton, also produced in South Australia.
  • "Diamante" means diamond in several Romance languages, being a homage to the three-diamond Mitsubishi emblem
  • The longest serving Magna colour was Kashmir pearl (silver/beige), which was introduced with the TE in 1996 and continued until the last TW in 2005, a period of over 9 years, although Riversand Beige metallic replaced Kashmir between March 1999 and end of 2000. Mawson White, which was introduced in 1999, continued into the 380 range up until 2008 (also 9 years). The shortest lasting colours were Atlantis Blue pearl on the KE Verada only (late KE models only) and Olive Green pearl on the late model TE Magna and KE Verada.
  • Given its long service and slow sales from circa 2000, MMAL management specifically excluded the Magna name at the time of researching for the name of the all-new and unrelated Mitsubishi 380 replacement.[30]

Australian sales figures

Sales in Australia
Variant 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Magna 4-cyl 31,808 27,066 29,020 27,114 24,828 16,619 10,209 5,916 3,099 307
Magna V6 5,903 12,208 13,850 20,640 29,964 29,523 24,814
Verada V6 1,699 4,989 4,654 3,437 2,746 1,538 5,128 3,222 3,118
Variant 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Magna V6 23,270 21,720 21,258 21,541 14,250 11,415 591 3
Verada V6 3,001 2,661 2,147 2,125 1,718 1,054 51 3


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  • Gregory’s, Magna TP Series service and repair manuals 1989–1991, page 7, Gregory Automotive Publications, 1991
  •, model specifications
  • Article on release of the AWD Magna
  • Carsguide review of the AWD Magna
  • Carsguide review of the AWD Magna
  • Drive on used AWD Magna
  • Key Automotive Statistics
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