click above image to view high-res gallery of the Mitsubishi Concept-RA

Performance enthusiasts have witnessed the devolution of the Mitsubishi Eclipse from the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive thrill ride it once was to the V6-powered, front-wheel-drive highway cruiser it is today. Perhaps the Concept-RA that Mitsubishi will unveil at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show in January heralds a return to that original Eclipse. The concept certainly has the look of those first-gen cars, with a low slung body and perfectly arching roof line. The rear even has a bit of Boxster to it. The fender flares and what we hope are functional extraction vents give purpose to the design, which is backed up by the use of lightweight materials and an eco-friendly though potent powerplant.

The Concept-RA is built on an aluminum space frame and most of its body panels, including the hood and fenders, are made from a recyclable plastic resin that's impact resistant. That brings the weight down so that the 2.2L four-cylinder turbodiesel doesn't have to work as hard to make the car go. The diesel features Mitsu's MIVEC valve timing technology, as well as direct injection and piezoelectric injectors. It requires no urea injection to meet our strict emissions standards for diesels, instead relying on a smorgasbord of traps, filters and catalytic converters. Despite its formidable green cred, the 2.2L mill produces just over 200 HP and 310 ft-lbs. of torque. Like the best Eclipses of old, it sends power to all four wheels, though through a more modern Twin Clutch SST transmission. Mitsubishi's Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) also keeps the car planted by coordinating the efforts of a variety of systems, including the brakes, stability control, steering and damping.

The Concept-RA should to be one of the most exciting concepts in Detroit this year, not just because it looks sharp, but also because Mitsubishi took the time to fit it with a workable drivetrain and cutting edge powerplant that could make it to market. As for whether or not the Concept-RA has any official ties to the first-generation Eclipse, that was our own wishful thinking... but you can't deny the resemblance.

[Source: Mitsubishi]

Related GalleryMitsubishi Concept-RA


PRESS RELEASE:

Mitsubishi Motors new "MITSUBISHI Concept-RA" to receive global premiere at 2008 Detroit Motor Show

Tokyo, November 27, 2007 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. (MMNA, based in Cypress California) will premiere MITSUBISHI Concept-RA to the world at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS or the Detroit Motor Show). MITSUBISHI Concept-RA fuses a passion for dynamic, exciting driving with a heightened sensitivity for the environment thanks to clean, efficient high performance diesel power. The 2008 NAIAS runs from January 13 to 27 at the Cobo Center in Detroit and opens to the general public on January 19.
MITSUBISHI Concept-RA shows that thrilling performance and environmental responsibility need not be mutually exclusive concepts. This coupe concept features the Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) vehicle dynamics control system driveline and the Twin Clutch SST automated manual transmission used in Lancer Evolution*1, is powered by a new high-output, high-efficiency clean diesel engine.

*1: Lancer Evolution X in Japan

The MITSUBISHI Concept-RA S-AWC driveline adds Active Steering and Active Damping control to the ACD*2, AYC*3, Sport ABS*4 and ASC*5 component systems that comprise the system used on Lancer Evolution. S-AWC integrally manages all of these systems to realize advanced levels of control over drive torque and braking, thereby upgrading traction, cornering and vehicle stability. All this adds up to intuitive, on-demand vehicle behavior that faithfully reflects driver intent under all driving conditions, from everyday use to emergency avoidance situations.

MITSUBISHI Concept-RA is powered by a new high-efficiency, low-emissions 2.2-liter 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve turbodiesel engine with MIVEC*6 continuously variable valve timing control. With piezoelectric injector common-rail direct fuel injection that allows a lower compression ratio and with a VD (Variable Diffuser)/VG (Variable Geometry) turbocharger, the clean diesel unit delivers a maximum output of 150 kW (204 PS) and maximum torque of 420 Nm (42.8 kg-m). For compliance with U.S. emissions standards (Tier 2 Bin 5 emission regulations), the engine relies on a new catalytic converter system that brings together diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), NOx trap catalyst (NTC) and diesel particulate filter (DPF) technologies. The new diesel engine will deliver exciting driving manners with a high degree of fuel efficiency.

For improved crashworthiness and to reduce vehicle weight MITSUBISHI Concept-RA features a new body structure using an aluminum space frame made from extruded aluminum sections and die-cast aluminum members, as well as engine hood, fenders and other outer panels made from high impact-resistance and easily recyclable plastic resin.

*2: Active Center Differential
*3: Active Yaw Control
*4: Sport Antilock Brake System
*5: Active Stability Control
*6: Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system