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13/11/2011 679

Mitsubishi - i Concept

Original name: 三菱 i コンセプト

"i" Concept Test Car

"i" is a fully-drivable concept test car developed around a "small & surprising" theme as a next-generation small car designed to bring fun and emotion into people's lives. It represents Mitsubishi Motors' latest solution to the universal small car theme of maximizing roominess within limited exterior dimensions. The "i" is also the first car to be awarded 5 stars in both the fuel consumption and emissions testing categories of the ADAC/FIA1 EcoTest in Germany.

The company is planning to introduce a small car incorporating the ideas introduced in the "i" concept model and adapted to Japanese market requirements in 2005. MMC has also started to look at phasing a similar model into some overseas markets soon after.

1:Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil Club/Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Design approach

Breaking with tradition, "i" presents a one-motion form that gives it a sporty look and offers a comfortable ride for its passengers. The design fully exploits the benefits of the new midship engine/rear wheel-drive platform in marrying together a spacious interior with a cheeky exterior appearance.

Exterior design

In its exterior design, "i" reflects MMC's Japanese Modern theme based on the essential qualities of a Japanese culture that has developed a world-class hi-tech industry founded on its traditional predisposition towards precision, detail and refinement. The highly endearing one-motion form cleverly incorporates advanced aerodynamics to successfully present a laid-back and sophisticated design that offers occupants safety, practicality and comfort as well as enhanced safety for pedestrians.

The design maximizes harmony between styling, packaging and aerodynamic performance. Shape optimization of the trailing edge of the roof, the rear spoiler, door mirrors, front and rear fenders and underbody result in a very slippery Cd of just 0.24.

Interior design

Inside, the focus was on engineering a "festival of light" to create a refined and pleasant airiness throughout this town-size vehicle, bringing light flooding in through the extensive glazing area. This effect is enhanced in the black keynote interior color scheme by the "hovering" dashboard styling and by the seats which are made of a transparent material. Illuminating the "information key" located in the middle of the sweeping curve of the dashboard, a green light strip glows discreetly to create a cozy and pleasant mood at night and add to the light and airy feeling of the interior.

Featuring a mini-display and memory, the "information key" communicates with the audio, car navigation, dealer servicing information and other on-board systems. When inserted into its bay in the center of the dashboard, the information key enables operation of a number of applications and functions. The memory card enables the owner to share audio and other data with his computer at home and select functions and information as and when required. This light-on-space system is easy on the eye as well as being easy and fun to operate.


A new platform locates the engine under the rear seats to give "i" levels of living space, ride comfort and handling well above its compact, slightly larger than Kei-class (Japanese minicar category) dimensions. Powertrain "i" realizes ultra-low fuel consumption with a new gasoline engine mated to an advanced continuously variable transmission and using the Mitsubishi Smart Idling System-an automatic stop-start feature which switches the engine off when the car is stationary.

"i" is powered by a new 1.0-liter 3-cylinder 4-valve DOHC engine. Exhaustive reduction of weight and of friction and pumping losses contribute to the unit's maximum output of 50 kW (68hp) at 6000 rpm and 92Nm at 3500 rpm. Features include: an aluminum cylinder block, compact chain-driven camshafts that open and close the valves directly, Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and Electronic Control (MIVEC), and lower tensile strength piston rings.

The use of a 14V high-performance belt-driven starter motor/generator unit in the Mitsubishi Smart Idling System ensures the engine starts without noticeable vibration when the driver releases the brake from stationary or moves the shift selector from N to D.


The body uses an aluminum space-frame and floor pan, while the front hood, doors, outer panels, rear gate and other panels are formed from ultra-light plastics. A special hybrid laser welding process is used to bond together aluminum extrusions and die-cast and pressed sheet components to maximize strength in strategic areas.


"i" uses McPherson struts and a De Dion axle-Watts link arrangement for its front and rear suspension respectively. The use of aluminum for the suspension members, lower control arms, steering knuckle, brake rotors and calipers reduces weight, while ceramic wheel bearing stubs reduce friction and improve drive efficiencies.


"i" realizes high levels of crashworthiness and pedestrian protection thanks to the midship engine/rear wheel-drive platform that provides an ample crumple zone and enables the use of straight frame rails which effectively absorb crash energy in a frontal impact. The front hood is also designed to provide optimum pedestrian protection.

Major specifications

(1) Dimensions & weight


Overall length


Overall width


Overall height









Vehicle weight





(2) Engine & Transmission


No. of cylinders/valvetrain

In-line 3 / 12Valve DOHC MIVEC



Max. Output (net)


Max. Torque


Emission certification






McPherson strut


De Dion Axel with watt link







SOURCE: Mitsubishi


2003  Frankfurt
2003  Tokyo



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