In early 2011, Mitsubishi announced that it will be discontinuing one of the marquis economy sports cars of the last two decades, the Eclipse. The Eclipse lived a rather odd life, starting out with two nearly identical siblings in the Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon. After the elimination of the Laser, the Eclipse and Talon remained, turning into two of the most beautiful economy sports cars ever built, in 1995.
In 1998, Eagle folded and only the beautiful Eclipse remained, but the death of its sibling didn’t set too well with the Eclipse, as after just one year of being on its own, it morphed into a rather ugly and over-styled pig that required a V-6 engine to be even remotely fun to drive.
In 2006, Mitsubishi finally came to its senses and realized that the new body style just wasn’t doing the “Eclipse” name justice, so they went back to the drawing board and created a rounder Eclipse that more closely resembled the one from the late-90s. Oddly enough, this new sportier Eclipse is actually heavier than its predecessor, but that certainly does not take away from its beauty.
In the earlier years, when a car was on its last production year, the final model to roll off of the production line was kept by the manufacturer and stored. In more recent years, the last model typically ran off of the production line like any other model and became lost in the sea of models. Mitsubishi seized this opportunity to fully customize the final Eclipse, which is an SE model, so that it was truly a one-of-a-kind vehicle. Now this brand new Eclipse is up for sale by RK Motors Charlotte.
Click past the jump to read about this custom 2012 Eclipse SE final model.
No penny was spared on the outside of this Eclipse SE, as it pretty much got the royal treatment from Mitsubishi. The body was meticulously inspected for any defects or flaws and any findings were immediately rectified. The body panels were inspected for absolute perfection, so that the body lines line up smoothly. The exterior is draped in Kalapana Black paint, which is essentially just a very deep, non-metallic black paint. The paint is beautifully buffed to a smoothness not typically seen on an Eclipse.
The apparent theme of this final Eclipse was obviously an attempt to black it out, as there are only six pieces of chrome amongst the sea of black, two are the Mitsubishi emblems on the nose and tail, then there’s the “ECLIPSE” logo on the back end, the “GT V6” emblem, the upper lip on the rear spoiler, and the dual exhaust tips.
We know that you are wondering why the "GT V6” emblem when this is an SE model. Well, the fact of the matter is that this car is really neither a GT nor an SE, as it is a hybrid combining the best from both models, but is titled as an SE due to the VIN. The engine happens to be from the GT, so it wears the appropriate badging.
The front end boasts the beautifully sculpted headlight assemblies expected of an Eclipse. Inside the headlight assemblies are HID headlights that brightly illuminate everything in front of this vehicle. Beneath the headlights are a pair of projector fog lamps to get you through that low-lying water vapor.
On each of the four corners is an 18-inch satin black 10-spoke wheel. These satin black wheels are what really set off this sports coupe, making it look almost stealth-like.
As with all 2012 Eclipses, the side profile of this machine does not look like a sub-40,000 economy sports coupe. It rather resembles a sleek imported sports car begging to be driven and costing far more than the average Joe can afford. The side windows even add to the sleekness of the side profile, as the front quarter window, side window, and rear quarter window all combine to perfectly mimic the roofline. This really gives the Eclipse an exotic look. A low beltline with an “SE” badge just in front of the rear wheel lets you now that this is actually an SE bearing a GT’s power.
On the back end, there’s a small spoiler with the aforementioned chrome strip on the top. There’s also a set of sharp-looking clear taillight lenses and two rather large chrome exhaust tips that are partially integrated with the rear bumper.
Overall, the exterior of this special edition SE/GT Eclipse is pretty much what’s offered with a stock Eclipse, sans the “GT” and “SE” badges. However, that is not a bad thing, as the 2012 Eclipse is one sexy piece of machinery in our eyes. Our hats go off to Mitsubishi for taking the additional time to make sure this car looks absolutely perfect!
Just like the exterior of the 2012 Eclipse, the interior is gorgeous too. Mitsubishi used the same care on the inside that it used on the outside in making this car unique while retaining the Eclipse’s natural beauty. All Eclipse SE models come standard with leather interior, so seeing the gorgeous black leather interior on this car is no shock. What is a shocker are the beautiful French seams on the leather seats and white thread to contrast the black cow’s hide.
You also get “Eclipse” labeled scuff plates, which remind you of what car you’re driving, just in case you forget. The steering wheel is your run-of-the-mill four-post Mitsubishi wheel and lacks any audio or HVAC controls to get in the way of driving enjoyment.
Mitsubishi did a wonderful job on the Eclipse’s center stack, adding in the necessary technology without making it look like you are about to launch a space shuttle. In this center stack is a powerful 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate that features SiriusXM capabilities and Bluetooth hands-free capabilities. This audio system connects to a total of nine speakers, one of which is a 10-inch subwoofer that is easily visible in the hatch area. The 2012 Eclipse also features a rearview camera, which shows up on the information screen near the center of the dashboard.
Our only real complaint about this final edition Eclipse, which is common with all Eclipse’s, is that the back seat is very tiny. Then again, this is a sports coupe, not a family car, so what are we whining about? It’s just one more reason for people not to ask you for a ride anywhere.
Overall, we like what Mitsubishi did with the interior of the 2012 Eclipse, though some people find it a little bland. When it comes to interiors, we actually prefer the simple to use and clutter-free look, not 200 different buttons to push and knobs to turn. The black interior with silver accents really fits nicely with the black exterior, but could lead to some rather heat soaked summer days.
Engine and Drivetrain
The engine is where this Eclipse SE really becomes unique. There were no SE models offered with the 3.8-liter V-6 engine, only the GT came with this engine. Well, to make this vehicle special, Mitsubishi scrapped its usual SE blueprints and dropped the 3.8-liter V-6 engine from the GT, which cranks out 265 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 262 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm, into the SE’s engine compartment. Short of an Eclipse SE with an engine swap, this is the only 2012 Eclipse SE with the 3.8-liter MiVEC engine.
Special care was taken during the assembly process of this car not to leave any tool marks on any of the engine components, making it look like this engine just appeared in the compartment without any human intervention. The valve covers are painted red to help set off the otherwise bland-looking engine compartment.
In odd fashion, Mitsubishi chose to link the 3.8-liter V-6 to the SE model’s four-speed Sportronic automatic transmission, which features a manual gear-selection mode. You would assume that given the fact that it has the GT engine, that this Eclipse would also inherit the GT’s five-speed automatic transmission, but for some reason Mitsubishi chose to leave the SE’s four-speed. This leads us to believe that this SE/GT hybrid still has the SE’s more aggressive 4.21-to-1 axle ratio. This would mean that this special edition is slightly quicker than its GT counterpart. If only Mitsubishi could marry this 4.21 axle ratio to the five-speed automatic, we would have a win-win situation!
There are no performance specs available for this final edition Eclipse, but we can reasonably deduce the specs using existing information. Given the GT has a 0 to 60 time of 6.47 seconds, we can reasonably assume that the taller gear ratio in the SE would allow this powerful V-6 to more effectively accelerate the Eclipse, dropping the 0 to 60 time to about 6.43 seconds. The GTs quarter-mile time is 14.99 seconds at 94.53 mph, but with the lower gear ratio we should see a slight decrease to 14.96 seconds at about 95 mph.
We definitely have to commend Mitsubishi for thinking outside of its blueprints and using a V-6 to power this special car.
Handling and Braking
This Eclipse sits on a standard SE chassis, so the front and rear suspensions are standard SE versions. The front end has an independent MacPherson strut system with an anti-roll bar. The rear suspension is an independent multi-link system that features gas-pressurized shocks and an anti-roll bar. You may read that the SE model handles slightly better than the GT, netting 0.90 g on the skid pad, as opposed to the GT’s 0.89 g. That slight difference is only based on the additional weight that the GT has with the V-6 engine and with this SE having the same V-6, you can anticipate results similar to those of the standard GT model.
At each corner you have the standard 2012 Eclipse SE disc brakes, with the front brakes featuring ventilated discs and the rears featuring solid discs. The Eclipse also features a four-wheel anti-lock braking system to keep you out of trouble in emergency braking situations. Also on the corners are the standard 235/45R18 Goodyear Eagle RS-A V-rated tires.
Fortunately, the Eclipse is a competent handling car, so having the stock SE suspension is not necessarily a bad thing. We definitely would have liked to have seen at least a few upgrades, but we can understand Mitsubishi for not wanting to go too crazy on this car.
Now comes the pricing point, which we somewhat disagree with. First let’s look at what this car has in addition to a standard SE model. First you have the French seam leather seats with contrasting stitching. Next you get the more powerful 3.8-liter V-6 engine. That’s about it, save for some minor unlisted additions here and there. Does that really warrant a price of $49,900, which is $20,000 more than the standard Eclipse GT?
We really question how they arrived at this number. We completely understand that some extra time was added into the building process to assure it was 100 percent flawless, but shouldn’t that already be the goal of every single new Eclipse that rolled off of the showroom floor? We really don’t think that the change in seating material and stitching warrants that type of price, as it’s nothing truly spectacular in today’s world.
Honestly, we think the RK Motors Charlotte is pulling the old “Pay us now for its future worth” game with this model and we don’t like it. Granted it is the last Eclipse to roll off of the production line, for now, but there is no guarantee that is will not come back (see: Camaro). If it does come back, that will have a serious negative effect on this car’s value, despite its rarity.
We are willing to pay a premium for this one-of-a-kind vehicle, but not a $20,000 one. If the car was going for closer to $40,000, it might be worth it, but not nearly $50K.
We venture to say that this Eclipse will remain in RX Motors’ possession for a while before some Eclipse enthusiast snags it up.
When you have a brand new one-off car like this, there is really no competition for it. The only competition we can think of is whether or not it is a safer bet to just buy a normal Eclipse GT rather than spending a huge premium for a “special edition.”
We love the car, but that price is a true killer. There is no way that a car of this nature is worth almost $50,000. We would understand if it was tuned for performance and had some extra goodies that you can’t get on any Eclipse GT, but it does not have any of that. It is basically a 2012 Eclipse GT in an SE wrapper and featuring an SE VIN.
Unless RK Motors is willing to drop about $10K off of that price, we say avoid this car. It will take 10 to 20 years to get a return on your investment, if it ever does net you any equity. Plus, we have no clue if Mitsubishi will decide that axing the Eclipse was a bad idea two years down the road and release it again, thereby killing the value of this “final edition” Eclipse.
Awesome Eclipse exterior styling
265-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6
Stock suspension and braking
"GT V6" and "SE" badges on the same car is a little tacky
Profit is okay, but a $20K markup on an Eclipse, c’mon
Automotive historians can tell you that the very last ANYTHING is often a collector’s dream, especially when it is heavily documented and a true one-of-a-kind vehicle like this 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse SE. Designed to commemorate 22 years of building Eclipses at the Normal, Illinois factory, this Eclipse sports custom paint, every possible option, and is without question the very last Eclipse to ever roll off the assembly line (we know, because we picked it up at the factory last week and it’s still on the MSO). True opportunities like this don’t come along very often, so act now on this truly historical vehicle.
Mitsubishi has known this day was coming for a long time, and the demise of the Eclipse was accompanied by a collective groan from sports coupe fans around the world. Representing performance and comfort in an ideal blend, the Eclipse was one of Mitsubishi’s most successful models. The paint on the final Eclipse is called Kalapana Black, a hue selected by Mitsubishi fans on Facebook, and it’s truly awesome in person. As a special vehicle, it sure looks like there was a lot of extra attention lavished on this SE coupe during the assembly process, and the finish is factory fresh in every way. It’s also almost completely devoid of the little imperfections any production car will show, because they knew they were building something that would become a red-hot collector’s item. The gaps are near perfect, the finish is smooth and glossy in a way that would look more at home on a Rolls-Royce than on a Japanese sports coupe, and since we just picked it up at the factory a few weeks ago, it’s absolutely new in every way. It’s unlikely that this car will ever be driven and enjoyed like a regular Eclipse, and it is already well on its way to being a spectacular showpiece.
There’s really not much chrome on these cars, but the blacked-out trim is, of course, in new condition. From the chrome badge on the nose to the chrome-lipped rear spoiler, the car is completely untouched and undamaged. The crystalline HID headlights and cool clear tail lights shine like jewelry, and the dual chrome exhaust tips under the rear bumper glitter against the inky black paint. The final Eclipse is nothing if not a stunner.
The final Eclipse also offers a unique set of mechanicals to go with its status as the last of the breed. An SE model with the 3.8-liter, 268 horsepower MiVEC V6 was never available to the public, but this is indeed such a machine. With big bottom-end torque, this car, if you’re so inclined, will shred the tires and pull through the gears with an urgency that was once reserved for big cubic inch muscle cars. The engine bay, of course, is as perfect as it was when it left the factory, with no signs of use, age, or neglect—after all, it has only driven out of the factory, into our trailer, and then into the showroom. The aluminum remains bright and shiny, including the cast intake manifold, the fittings are free of tool marks, and the bright red cam covers add a welcome splash of color in the monochromatic engine bay. There’s no doubt that Mitsubishi designers understood that having the engine bay look cool as well as operate efficiently was an important consideration, and you’ll note that this car also carries one other special feature: the signatures of the engineers in the engine bay. Nothing has been modified, changed, or adjusted since it left the Normal, Illinois factory, and it has the original fluids, filters, and other disposables inside it.
The engine is backed by a 4-speed Sportronic automatic transmission with manual selection. The suspension is the upgraded SE package and the all-independent setup offers world-class handling with a comfortable ride. And like the engine bay, the chassis is completely original and unmarked, including the exhaust, shocks, and brakes. There’s no wear on the four-wheel discs—in fact, there are no signs of use anywhere on the car. Even those gorgeous argent black 18-inch alloy wheels, which are also unique to this car, are perfectly preserved and wear 235/45/18 Goodyear Eagle RS-A radials that even have the mold marks on the tread.
Beautifully finished, the black leather interior features seats with French seams stitched in contrasting white thread and zero signs of use. This special Eclipse is also loaded with every option Mitsubishi could throw at an Eclipse, including a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate nine-speaker audio system with Sirius/XM satellite radio, hands-free Bluetooth phone interface, and a rearview camera. The carpets are completely unmarked, the door panels are new, and the trunk compartment has never carried anything more substantial than a piece of paper (which is a good thing, because that massive subwoofer takes up quite a bit of space). This car is ready to go with everything intact and operational, and thanks to Mitsubishi’s careful engineering, it’ll likely stay that way forever.
Documentation on an important car like this is critical, and we have all the documents that came with it originally, including the window sticker, build sheet, shipping manifest, inspection sheets, manuals, brochures, and other pamphlets that come with a new vehicle. Also note that this car is new on the MSO and has never been titled, making it an unparalleled opportunity for the smart investor.
Car collecting has changed, and this is an opportunity to own something extraordinary. It used to be that automakers would keep the last car off the assembly line for themselves, or it would be a regular production model that would disappear into obscurity. Mitsubishi took the opposite view with the last Eclipse, and gave it a unique set of specifications with a one-of-a-kind color combination. This is a car that won’t just appeal to Mitsubishi fans, but to car fans that appreciate the unique opportunity it represents. Call today!