Mitsubishi reveals visionary Evo

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The latest 'virtual' prototype car for the Gran Turismo 6 video game has broken cover in the shape of the Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV Evolution Vision.

Looking like the offspring of a Hyundai Veloster and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, the new model is the fifth digital concept car developed for Gran Turismo 6 on the Playstation 3 videogame console, following in the footsteps of the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision, BMW Vision, Toyota FT-1 and Volkswagen Golf GTI Vision.

Displaying hints of the XR-PHEV concept first seen at the 2013 Tokyo motor show, the  Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Evolution Vision takes the company's design philosophy to the next level, displaying a far more visceral, aggressive design.

The design was heavily influenced by motorsport, as evidenced by the car's dramatically flared wheel-arches shrouding 20-inch aluminium, a huge rear wing, low front splitter, ground-hugging side skirts and a bold rear diffuser that together leave no doubts as to the car's purpose.

Mitsubishi says its wild new concept car was devised by the same groups that work on Japanese company's real-world cars, including its Aerodynamic Engineering Development Group and Advanced Vehicle Research and Development Group, using "the same process they would normally follow to plan and develop real motorsports vehicles", according to the company.

The body is constructed from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic to keep weight down and the car-maker says "the downforce produced by the aerodynamic form of the front and rear diffusers produces excellent cornering performance".

Although it describes the concept as a "stoic racing machine", Mitsubishi has not divulged the vital statistics of the powerplant that sits under the car's long bonnet, merely noting that it's a plug-in hybrid engine hooked up to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that works through an all-wheel drive set-up with S-AWC, or super all-wheel control.

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Last year's XR-PHEV concept, understood to be a preview Mitsubishi's next-generation ASX compact SUV, was propelled by a three-cylinder 1.1-litre turbo-petrol engine (100kW) that worked in tandem with an electric motor (120kW), but this hardcore concept is likely to have a lot more herbs.

Mercedes-Benz's virtual concept car, the AMG Vision, is the first of the Gran Turismo prototypes to be given the green light for production, with five units being built at an estimated price of $1.5 million each.

However, Mitsubishi Evo fans are unlikely to see this creation cruising around the Nurburgring or Phillip Island.

Mitsubishi has previously stated the Lancer Evolution is essentially dead, and will be replaced by a performance crossover or SUV, following delays in the development of the new Lancer.

The most likely next step for the ageing Lancer small car, which remains fundamentally unchanged since 2007, is a model that shares its platform with upcoming small cars from Renault and Nissan, after Mitsubishi's decision not to invest in the development of its own all-new model.

Mitsubishi has previously stated its short- and medium-term plan is to focus on SUVs, crossovers and light commercial vehicles.

Nevertheless, those interested in driving the striking XR-PHEV Evolution Vision concept car can download it via the Gran Turismo 6 video game.

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Words: Feann Torr
www.motoring.com.au

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