Mitsubishi - Outlander Concept
Original name: 三菱 アウトランダー コンセプト
- Licence to Challenge -
France being the birthplace of the toughest off-road race ever – the infamous Dakar Rally, won 11 times by Mitsubishi´s Pajero* - it is only natural for Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) to use the 2006 Paris Motor Show (or “Mondial de l´Automobile”) as a launch pad for its new SUV strategy.
Seventy years after its seminal PX33 4 wheel-drive torpedo, MMC demonstrates in Paris its expertise in this area through a totally overhauled 4x4 line-up, filling carefully selected sectors of the growing SUV market in Europe:
- Mid-Size SUV => Outlander => Heart of the Market
- Full – Size SUV => Pajero* => Authentic Off-roader
- Pickup => L200 => Sport Utility Truck
All-new global platform
A derivative of the all-new Outlander launched in Japan in October 2005 and with sales still going very strongly in Japan (24,627 sales October 2005 / July 2006), Outlander-Concept will preview the upcoming Euro-spec. Outlander.
To be launched in Europe during the first quarter of 2007, Outlander will allow Mitsubishi Motors to enter the fastest growing SUV segment (up 54% from 325,000 in 2001 to 500,000 in 2006 and with further 35% growth expected between 2006 and 2009), right in the heart of this sector, against the likes of Toyota RAV-4.
Outlander-Concept will also preview in Europe MMC’s all-new global C-segment platform. Engineered by MMC for world markets and shared with DaimlerChrysler, it will also form the basis of a string of new models in various segments of the market, to be launched within the next two years.
This competent and flexible platform will feature – amongst others - advanced AWC (All Wheel Control) technologies, proven through MMC’s racing activities, as well as derivatives of the so-called “World Engine”, developed with DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai Motor Company.
Whilst MMC’s seventy years of 4x4 heritage makes Outlander-Concept a very legitimate SUV, it also gives this car licence to challenge an increasingly crowded and predictable segment with design, technology and features to suit.
As such, it will prove a very different animal from the first generation Outlander / Airtrek / Airtrek Sports Gear, as it was designed from the outset for world markets, incorporating “must-haves” in each and every regions.
In the case of Europe for instance, the availability of a Diesel engine (with DPF filter, according to models and markets) from start will allow it to challenge the heart of the market, covering 63% of the segment, as opposed to 37% for its petrol-only predecessor.
Since its introduction in Europe in 2003 with Lancer and then followed by Evolution VIII, Colt and Grandis in 2004, Mitsubishi Motors’ signature “Mount Fuji” grille has been warmly welcomed by media, customers and dealers alike, creating for the first time a clearly recognizable visual identity for the Brand.
In the face of this success, MMC has decided to make it specific to Europe, where it reflects acknowledged Mitsubishi sporting heritage and sharp Japanese modern styling. Therefore, this is no surprise for the 4,64 m long Outlander-Concept (vs. 4,54 m for the outgoing Outlander) to be a further showcase of this strong visual identity, highlighted through the satin finish of both slates and surrounds as well as the trapezoidal shape of the LED headlamps.
Clearly inspired by the 2002 Pajero Evo 2+2 concept up to the A-pillars and windshield, Outlander- Concept’s front design blends into the muscular fenders with flared wheelarches and sharp lines, leaving no doubt about its dynamic abilities.
Wide (1,80m), lean and low, Outlander-Concept brings drama without gratuitous effects, its kicked-up window line, show car piercing LED headlamps (as well as mirror-mounted side repeaters) and 20” six-spoke specific alloy wheels, giving the appearance of permanent motion.
The rear sends the same dynamic message, doing away with “wannabe” external spare tire for the striking arch-like combination of LED wraparound combination lamps and black privacy backlight.
Outlander-Concept is presented in a sporty metallic red with silver accents (roof rails, side body strips, front skid-plate, grille surround, etc, …).
Leaving the role of authentic off-roader to Pajero*, Outlander-Concept is nevertheless a no-compromise solution for a different type of recreational vehicle.
Using the in-built adaptability of MMC´s new global platform, it brings passenger car-like levels of active safety and driving pleasure, thanks to its 4-wheel independent suspension, high performance brakes and low center of gravity. The latter is helped by an aluminium roof panel, using a technology tested with the Lancer Evolution IX.
Less extreme than the rugged, transfer-case equipped Pajero*, Outlander-Concept aims at fulfilling the requirements of an all-weather grand tourer, on road or on track, featuring an all-new All Wheel Control drive-train. Marrying the Active Stability Control technology (incl. Traction Control) to an electronically-managed 4-wheel drive system, it allows smooth progression on dirt tracks or in difficult weather conditions, from 2WD (for better fuel economy when maximum traction is not required) up to a “Lock 4WD” mode. The transition from 2WD to 4WD is easy, the driver needing only to turn the illuminated easy-to-grip dial positioned prominently between the front seats.
Engine-wise, Outlander-Concept is powered by a derivative of the Volkswagen AG-supplied 1,968 cc, turbo-charged w/intercooler, DOHC, 16-valve, EU-4 compliant Diesel powerplant fitted to the recent Grandis Di-D.
Mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, in Outlander-Concept it produces an estimated 103kW / 140 ps**, plus 310Nm of torque, for a top speed of nearly 190 km/h***
A Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) will be made available on the upcoming production car – according to models and markets - whilst further engines will be launched alongside later on, including an all-new Mitsubishi Motors-developed 162kW / 220ps** petrol V6 with MIVEC variable valve timing technology, plus a 125kW / 170ps variant of the new petrol “World Engine”.
A multifunction steering wheel with audio, cruise and Bluetooth handsfree controls will, on automatic versions of the production car, house shift paddles allowing keen drivers to change gear quickly while keeping their hands on the wheel.
Flexible in essence, Outlander-Concept has been designed as a stylish living space, able to suit all requirements and with features – to be found later on in the production car - to match:
- Entertainment: A faithful partner of Mitsubishi Motors with high quality systems available in North America in Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder, Rockford Fosgate® is about to be introduced in Europe, with both Pajero* (under the Rockford Acoustic DesignÔ brand) and the upcoming second generation Outlander.
Outlander-Concept is equipped with a 650W 9-speaker premium audio system with 25 cm subwoofer, 9 speakers and Digital Signal Processor. To extract every decibel and detail from the system, Outlander-Concept employs deadening techniques using sheet panels, ABS plastic covers and sound-absorbing material to seal the openings and convert doors into speaker boxes.
The innovative hard disk-based system with music server, 7” color touch screen, DVD player and integrated navigation incorporates a CD Database (CDDB) from GraceNote® that relays information about the CD being played to the display screen.
- Seating: Outlander-Concept is the latest recipient of Mitsubishi Motors’ clever “Hide&SeatÔ” system that can be stowed under the floor when not needed. Applied to the 3rd row, it gives a two-seater road-facing occasional bench seat complete with inertia seat belts and headrests for occasional 5+2 accommodation.
- Utility: Outlander-Concept uses a split tailgate to maximize the benefits of the low-floor luggage compartment and to give better access to the luggage compartment. The lower section opens at 600 mm above the ground, thereby allowing bulky items to be loaded / unloaded with ease. Splitting the tailgate means that the regularly used upper section is light and compact, enhancing ease of use.
Outlander-Concept is also the showcase for the introduction in Europe of MMC’s clever 2nd row Auto-Folding function. Introduced in Japan with the compact Colt Plus in October 2004 – and to be featured in the upcoming production car - this system turns the often awkward tumbling of the second row into a simple one-step operation: operating a switch on the side of the luggage compartment causes the backrest to fold down, the seat to slide forward and then the whole assembly to tumble forward.
In line with its living space brief, additional production-ready Outlander-Concept convenience features include rails that facilitate loading and unloading of the cargo, as well as utility bars for attaching a variety of accessories and three 12V AC power sockets.
* Shogun in The UK / Montero in Spain
** Figures subject to homologation
*** Where legal