All three vehicles were built on the same platform at the DSM (Diamond Star Motors joint venture between Chrysler and Mitsubishi) manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. All three vehicles were mechanically identical (when comparing the same option level) including engine, transmission, and drivetrain. Cosmetically, differences between the three were found in wheels, availability of colors, tail lights, front and rear bumpers, and spoilers. The primary way to establish the identity of an Eagle Talon is its two-tone body color - the 'greenhouse' (roof, pillars, door-mounted mirrors) was always black regardless of the body color (Note: 1G Eclipses with a 2.0 L engine also have black 'greenhouse' roofs). The basic characteristics of the Eagle Talon are:Two doors
2+2 seating (2 front seats and 2 marginal, fold down rear seats)
Front-wheel drive (FWD) for all option levels except for the top option level, which had all-wheel drive (AWD)
5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions
Two-tone color combination as described above
Hood bulge on the left-hand side of the car in order to provide adequate clearance for the camshaft sprockets/timing belt cover on the 4G63 engine (Note: the base model DL did not use this engine but still had a bulge as evident in the 1992 Talon brochure. 2nd Generation cars all had such a bulge, even with the inclusion of the 420A engine.
The first generation Talon was released in mid-1989 as a 1990 model and ran through 1994. This era of DSM vehicles is commonly referred to as the first generation, or "1G" for short. However, there were two 1G styles. The "1GA" models of 1990–1991 featured pop-up headlights lights and a "6-bolt" engine, while the "1GB" model of 1992–1994 featured composite style headlights with integrated turn signals.
The 1993–1994 base model DL was front-wheel drive and used a 92-horsepower 1.8 L engine (4G37). The ES model (or just the base Talon before 1993) sported a naturally aspirated 2.0 L 135 hp Mitsubishi 4G63 engine. The TSi and TSi AWD models used the same engine but added an intercooled Mitsubishi 14b turbocharger producing 11.06 psi of peak boost from the factory, resulting in 195 horsepower (145 kW) on TSi AWD models. The front-drive TSi produced only 190 due to a more restrictive exhaust system, and the automatics produced 180 horsepower (130 kW) due to a 13g turbo.
The "six-bolt" engine on all Talons built before April 1992 refers to the number of bolts connecting the flywheel to the crankshaft. All 1G Talons built after April 1992.5 received a freer revving "7-bolt" engine borrowed from the 1992 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution's lighter rods and seven-bolt crankshaft.
The Eagle Talon was consistently featured on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1990–1992.base - 1990-1992
TSi FWD Turbo - 1990-1994
TSi AWD Turbo - 1990-1994
DL - 1993-1994
ES - 1993-1994
The second generation (or "2G") Eagle Talon was introduced in 1995 simultaneously with its Mitsubishi Eclipse counterpart, while the Plymouth Laser model was eliminated. Mechanically, the new Talon and Eclipse models were almost identical with the engines in the turbocharged versions receiving a modest increase in output thanks to a redesigned intake and exhaust, higher 8.5:1 (vs. 7.8:1) compression pistons, and new turbocharger. The new T25 turbocharger, provided by Garrett, had boost increased to 12 psi of peak boost and was smaller than the previous Mitsubishi built 14b turbo that was on 1G models. The T25 did spool up faster than the previous turbocharger in order to increase the turbo response or reduce turbo lag. The other important change concerned the suspension. While the 1G had MacPherson struts in the front, the 2G had double-wishbone in the front and multilink suspension in the rear. The double wishbone suspension gave the 2G a much better roll-camber curve in the front, allowing for much better handling.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the differences between the Eagle Talon car and its Mitsubishi equivalent were somewhat more substantial than exhibited in the first generation models. These differences were most obvious at the rear of the car. For example, the rear fascia of the Talon featured a bumper cap with a dip in the middle to allow for a high-mounted rear license plate; rear light clusters incorporating amber turn signals (the Eclipse used red turn signals); reverse lights as part of the main rear tail light clusters (the Eclipse's reverse lights were mounted separately and lower around the mid-mounted license plate); and a sickle-shaped rear spoiler for the TSi and TSi AWD version mounted at the base of the rear window that was painted black regardless of body color (the Eclipse used a body colored, conventional "basket handle" spoiler mounted on the rear deck). Other differences included the air intake beneath the front bumper, which did not have a body-colored splitter (minor difference), and the absence of side skirts. Also, the hard-top Talon featured a black roof while the Eclipse had a body colored top.
For model year 1997, a design update occurred for both the Talon and the Eclipse that is sometimes referred to as "2Gb". The update was primarily limited to the non-metal portions of the car. The front and rear fascias were heavily revised to incorporate more aggressive looking features. At the front, a larger air intake was created and the "Eagle" emblem was enlarged and embossed into the center of the bumper cap (as opposed to a badge that inset into a similarly shaped hole). At the rear, a new high-mount spoiler was introduced that projected further into the airstream, replacing the flush-mounted sickle spoiler. Added plastic moldings on the bumper caps and doors completed the revisions to the body. Lastly, on the TSi and TSi AWD models, the aluminum wheels were increased to 17 in (432 mm) and incorporated more angles replacing the 16 in (406 mm) curved 5-spoke wheel. Another important, non-cosmetic change concerned the driveline. There was a slight change in gear ratios and the number of splines on the shaft feeding power to the transfer case was altered.
The TSi and TSi AWD models again featured an intercooled turbocharged engine, now replacing the 14B Mitsubishi turbo with a Garrett T25 model. Although the T25 was a smaller turbo, it spooled faster at a lower rpm resulting in increased low end acceleration performance. The TSi AWD model retained the all-wheel drive drivetrain system.ESi - 2.0 L DOHC 2.0 L 420a engine naturally aspirated I4, 140 hp (110 kW) at 6000 rpm and 130 pound-feet (180 N·m) at 4800 rpm
TSi / TSi AWD manual transmission - DOHC 2.0 L Mitsubishi 4G63 turbo I4, 210 hp (157 kW) at 6000 rpm and 205 lb·ft (278 N·m) at 3000 rpm
TSi / TSi AWD automatic transmission - DOHC 2.0 L Mitsubishi 4G63 turbo I4, 205 hp (153 kW) at 6000 rpm and 220 lb·ft (298 N·m) at 3000 rpm
ESi: 2.0 liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine, 5 speed manual transmission, 4-wheel disc brakes, driver and passenger air bags, variable-assist power steering, cloth reclining front bucket seats, folding rear seat, front console with storage and armrest, tinted glass, tachometer, coolant temperature gauge, trip odometer, map lights, dual remote mirrors, visor mirrors, AM/FM radio, digital clock, remote fuel door and hatch releases, tilt steering column, intermittent wipers, rear wiper/washer, rear spoiler, color-keyed bodyside moldings, 195/70R14 tires, wheel covers.
TSi adds: turbocharged engine, sport-tuned exhaust system, upgraded suspension, driver's seat lumbar support adjustment, split folding rear seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and manual gearshift handle, power mirrors, turbo boost and oil pressure gauges, cassette player, lighted visor mirrors, rear defogger, cargo-area cover, cargo net, lower bodyside cladding, fog lamps, 205/55/R16 tires, alloy wheels.
TSi AWD adds: permanent all wheel drive, cruise control, power door locks and windows, 215/55/VR16
Eagle offered various option packages as well as optional equipment that could be added individually.
Option Packages:Pkg 21B/22B, ESi: Air conditioning, cruise control, rear defogger, power mirrors, cassette player, cargo area cover, front floormats. Pkg 22B requires 4-speed automatic transmission.
Pkg 21C/22C, ESi: Pkg 21B/22B plus power windows and door locks, cargo net, upgraded interior trim. Pkg 22C requires 4-speed automatic transmission.
Pkg 23P/24P, TSi: Air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and door locks, front floormats. Pkg 24P requires automatic transmission.
Pkg 25S/26S, TSi AWD: Air conditioning, front floor mats,. Pkg 26S requires automatic transmission.
Pkg 25L/26L, TSi AWD: Pkg 25S/26S plus power driver's seat, leather/vinyl front upholstery, CD/cassette player with graphic equalizer, power sunroof, remote keyless entry with security alarm. Pkg 26L requires automatic transmission.
Optional Equipment:4-speed automatic transmission, ESi, TSi, TSi AWD. TSi AWD includes 205/55/VR16 tires.
Limited-slip differential, TSi AWD
Remote keyless entry with security alarm, ESi w/ Pkg 21C/22C and TSi AWD w/ Pkg 25S/26S.
Rear defogger, ESi
Cassette/CD Player, ESi w/ Pkg 21C/22C, TSi w/ option pkg, TSi AWD w/ Pkg 25S/26S. Credit back w/ pkg 25L/26L
Cassette/CD player with graphic equalizer (includes 8 Infinity speakers,) TSi w/ option pkg, TSi AWD w/ Pkg 25S/26S.
Power sunroof, ESi w/ Pkg 21C/22C
Leather/vinyl upholstery, TSi w/ option pkg and TSi AWD w/ Pkg 25S/26S
Power driver's seat, TSi w/ option pkg or TSi AWD w/ Pkg. 25S/26S
Homelink, requires option pkg. (96-98 only)
Alloy wheels, ESi w/ option pkg.
By November 1997, the Talon was the last model in the declining Eagle lineup and the rarest Talon model year. Amid declining sales, Chrysler management decided to stop promoting the Eagle brand and in 1998 stopped production of the Eagle Talon. The last one rolled off the assembly line on February 10, 1998.
In 1994, a concept car called the Eagle Jazz was developed for the 1995 automobile show circuit. "It was a sporty sedan with a rounded hatchback tail. Built into that was a hatch-within-a-hatch, so a driver could easily open the rear end to store cargo." It was considered by some to have "a strange resemblance to a 4-door Eagle Talon".
The Talon won the SCCA World Challenge touring car championship from 1990 to 1991 and the GT Touring championship from 1993-1995. Along with Oldsmobile, Eagle is one of only two American brands to win the TC championship.
Eddie Garrison drove a 1997 Eagle Talon TSi to Rookie of the Year honors in the 2007 Grand Bayou Race Series hosted by No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, LA. Garrison also won the Touring Car Class in the same Red Line Oil, K&N Engineering, DSM Tuners sponsored Eagle Talon in 2008.
Some of the Eagle Jazz concept design and ideas resurfaced in the second-generation Chrysler Concorde.
The TSi nameplate appeared on Jeep's Grand Cherokee for the 1997 and 1998 model year. The model, which was the sportier among the Jeep Grand Cherokee line-up (with the exception of the 5.9 Limited) featured trim reminiscent of Talon's TSi model, including a similar Indigo blue trim and monochromatic scheme found on the Talon. The TSi reappeared once again, as a high-performance model for the Chrysler Sebring sedan, for the 2005 and 2006 year model
The Eagle Talon has appeared in several video games such as the Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport series. Eagle Talons (along with their Eclipse siblings) are very popular in the sport-compact tuning realm because of their performance and handling. There is a considerable number of aftermarket companies who offer performance parts for Talons of all years.
Club DSM was an international owners group that at its peak boasted over 3000 members - founded by Todd Day. The annual club meet was at the "DSM Shootout" which had its first event in 1996 in Norwalk Ohio. The DSM Shootout was regularly sponsored by Buschur Racing and other specialty shops. Legacies of this club reach across the nation and globe.