If acronyms sold cars we'd be knee deep in Mitsubishi Sigmas. The fact that we're not is down to the British buyer going with what they know, and the small matter of the Sigma being nowhere near as good as its immediate competition. Initially bandied as a BMW 5 Series competitor, the first generation Sigma fell on its face, and the grandiose Series II car was little better. In estate guise it made more sense, but here was a car that crashed and burned horribly in the sales charts. Canny used buyers will realise that this equates to a lot of car for not a lot of money, all backed up by Mitsubishi's legendary reliability. A car that was a total duffer from new now makes a very clever used buy.
The car we're referring to as the first generation Mitsubishi Sigma is in fact nothing of the kind. Readers with long memories will remember angular Sigma models of the seventies, but for the sake of simplicity we'll use this nomenclature. The car arrived in the UK in May 1991, offered in one model only, the front-wheel drive 3.0-litre 24v V6 saloon, priced at a not inconsequential £26,009 and stuffed with more technology than you could shake a stick at. Grizzled stick shakers could list MVIC (Mitsubishi Variable Induction Control), TCL (traction control), TRACE (stability control) and plenty of fake wood should said stick suffer wet rot. With a BMW 525i SE costing £25,515 it didn't take a genius to predict that the Sigma would be about as welcome as Kaposi's sarcoma.
The slightly lugubrious styling was given a good makeover at the tail end of 1992, and an Australian-built estate was launched at the start of 1993, powered by a 12-valve version of the 3.0-litre V6 and with most of the fancy systems stripped out. Retailing at £21,000, the estate made a more convincing case for itself than the freshly styled but ever more expensive saloon, which continued to stay rigidly attached to showroom floors.
A colour-keyed grille, revised interior trim and high-intensity headlights appeared in 1994, but buy then interest had tailed off to a terminal degree and the Sigma disappeared quietly from sight in early 1996. Nobody even noticed it go.