I’ve never figured out why some cultures perform rain dances in dry weather — all they need to do is give me a convertible to drive. My week with the 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder included rain every single day, but I braved the sprinkles for the joy of driving with the roof down.
The Spyder has faults, but on a summer’s day, it’s easy to forgive them once the top stows away. It isn’t quite the driver’s car that Mitsubishi claims it to be, but it’s a good wind-in-your-hair machine.
There’s no 2010 model: Its production dates would have released it in the dead of winter, so Mitsubishi Canada went straight from 2009 to 2011. There are two versions: the GS, at $30,498, uses a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, while my tester, the $35,998 GT-P, contains a 3.8-litre V6. Mine used a six-speed manual transmission, while a six-speed automatic can be added for $1,200.
The 265-horsepower V6 is a work of art. It’s strong and smooth, with a deliciously throaty exhaust note; the clutch is light, the shifter is precise, and it’s simply a joy.
What isn’t pleasant is the torque steer, the tendency for a front-wheel-drive car to pull to one side on acceleration. With this much power, the car will all but turn a corner if you’re not holding on tight.
An all-wheel system would make a huge difference, and Mitsubishi makes an incredible one that it plugs into its Lancer Evolution, but it would undoubtedly push the car’s price out of reach.
The outside is gorgeous, and the inside is, too. The heated sport seats are heavily bolstered, and when combined with my tester’s orange exterior shade, the interior is three-tone.
Consider this a winding-road sportscar and you may be disappointed; look at it as a drop-dead-gorgeous topless traveller, and you’re closer to the mark. Given the prices of some rivals, it’s hard to do much better.