Mitsubishi has unveiled the latest evolution of its compact SUV Outlander, revealing a performance-orientated GT Prototype at the New York Auto Show.
Drawing on influences from Mitsubishi's Lancer sport sedans, the Outlander GT prototype is the centrepiece of the Japanese manufacturer's exhibit at New York.
Mitsubishi's design department has incorporated a number of striking physical changes compared to the basic Outlander, most notably the 'jet-fighter' front grille which currently adorns the Lancer Evolution.
Elsewhere, the car sports a redesigned front bumper, side mirrors, fenders and hood as well as a new rear bumper and side sills. To cap it off, Mitsubishi included re-shaped Bi-Xenon HID headlamps and a pilot-blinding polished aluminium roof.
Under the bonnet, Mitsubishi has made a number of improvements to the engine currently found in the Outlander XLS, with the all-aluminum 3.0-litre SOHC MIVEC V6 motor undergoing a reduction in intake restriction and gaining optimized camshaft timing and an increased compression ratio.
This results in a boost to maximum output by 7.5kW (10hp), for a total of 171.5kW (230hp), as well as an increase in low-down torque.
Mitsubishi's clever S-AWC all-wheel-drive system has trickled down from the lofty heights of the Lancer Evolution, and the Outlander GT Prototype makes good use of the system's active limited-slip differentials and electronically-controlled centre diff. A set of hefty Brembo brakes also help the big wagon handle.
Using the term 'sporty' for the umpteenth time, Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi Motors North America, John Koenig said:
"The Outlander GT Prototype is packed with technology, performance and premium features that are uncommon in the compact SUV class.
"Along with its faster heartbeat, we also wanted to quicken pulses by channeling the look of our sportiest cars."
Although it looks 99 percent showroom ready, the prototype doesn't quite represent what we'll see rocking up to Mitsubishi dealerships.
Speaking to the press at New York, Mitsubishi confirmed that the production Outlander GT will lose the prototype's Brembo brake package, polished roof and low-slung ride height. On the plus side, the Evo-derived S-AWC drivetrain remains, and there'll be more power from the Outlander's V6 too.
It looks like Subaru's Forester XT is about to get some company in the "hi-po AWD CUV wagon" segment.
MITSUBISHI MOTORS CONDUCTS WORLD DEBUT OF OUTLANDER GT PROTOTYPE
AT NEW YORK AUTO SHOW
Features updated exterior, S-AWC, FUSE Handsfree Media Gateway
NEW YORK, April 9, 2009 ? Mitsubishi Motors pulled the wraps off its Outlander GT Prototype today, providing clear directional clues into the next generation of the popular Mitsubishi Outlander CUV. The Outlander GT Prototype is loaded with new technology, greater performance, higher fuel efficiency and an aggressive new design. The world debut occurred at the annual New York International Auto Show.
The Outlander GT Prototype features a revised exterior treatment, increased engine output, an advanced S-AWC system, 19-inch OZ Racing wheels, polished aluminum roof, Brembo brakes and the all-new FUSE Handsfree Media Gateway system. A revised interior and freshly added electronic options also help to raise the luxury and comfort levels of the Outlander GT Prototype.
Fresh Exterior Design
The Outlander GT Prototype features a sporty new exterior treatment inspired by Mitsubishi's own Lancer family of automotive products. Designers sought to create a dynamic and athletic presence by utilizing new materials and a wider stance. A "jet fighter" look grille, with design elements from the Lancer Evolution model, has been added to accent the boldly reshaped front bumper, side mirrors, fenders and hood. A byproduct of the new flowing bodylines is a reduction in the coefficient of drag for the Outlander GT Prototype, increasing fuel economy as well as acceleration. Reshaped Bi-Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps also lend an aggressive appearance while a new rear bumper and side sills accent the upscale look.
One show stopping revision is the fully polished treatment on the Outlander GT Prototype's aluminum roof. Standard on all Outlander models and inspired by Mitsubishi racing DNA, the lightweight roof panel lowers the center of gravity and increases the car's handling capability.
More Aggressive Handling
With the Outlander already one of the best handling SUVs on the market, engineers had a great base from which to begin. Slightly lower with the use of a shorter and stiffer suspension, the Outlander GT Prototype lends a menacing and race-bred look with 19-inch OZ Racing wheels and large Brembo brakes.
Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC)
Merging Mitsubishi's experience in off-road and rally racing with production car development, the Outlander GT Prototype features the revolutionary Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system. More than just four-wheel drive, S-AWC is a handling system that provides increased handling, traction and stability, while still maintaining maximum fuel economy.
Utilizing a first-in-class active front limited-slip differential and an electronically controlled 4WD coupling, S-AWC can prevent wheel slip between front to rear and side-to-side to enhance tire grip. To the driver of the Outlander GT Prototype, this translates into greater traction through all types of terrain and inclement weather, including ice, snow and rain. By measuring throttle input, wheel speed, engine output, steering angle, gear selection, acceleration and yaw rate and combining that data with input from the Active Stability Control (ASC) and Anti-Lock Brake (ABS) computers, S-AWC can accurately detect driving conditions and adjust accordingly. With S-AWC, the Outlander GT Prototype can turn tighter, find traction and is more stable during cornering, while still returning excellent fuel economy and increased driver feedback. Designed to tackle all variants of road conditions, S-AWC is seamlessly integrated into day-to-day operation, with an ease of use overshadowed only by its ability to deliver passengers safely through all weather situations.
Three selectable S-AWC modes are available on the Outlander GT Prototype, including "Normal", "Snow" and "Traction". Hill Start Assist is also featured, which prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards when starting from a standstill on inclined surfaces.
Increased Engine Output
Improving upon the all-aluminum 3.0-liter SOHC MIVEC V6 currently found in the Outlander XLS, the Outlander GT Prototype features a reduction in intake restriction and an optimization of both camshaft timing and compression ratio for engine efficiency. With these adjustments the maximum engine output for the Outlander GT Prototype has been raised by 10hp, for a total of 230hp, and torque output is available earlier for more practical city driving and improved pickup. The gain in engine efficiency means that the Outlander GT Prototype has improved both in terms of fuel economy and emissions.
To further increase fuel economy towards four-cylinder engine levels, the Outlander GT Prototype has been fit with a revised shifting program and Idle Neutral Logic, which automatically shifts into neutral during vehicle standstill.
FUSE Handsfree Media Gateway
Enhancing the Outlander GT Prototype's functional use is the addition of the all-new FUSE Handsfree Media Gateway system. Offering greater convenience and reduced distractions, the FUSE Handsfree Media Gateway system combines advanced voice-recognition capabilities with Bluetooth 2.0 enabled hands-free calling and audio playback. With the FUSE system, drivers can experience new levels of entertainment convenience while still retaining the capability to focus fully on the road. Automatic phonebook transfer and multiple phone support are both elements of the FUSE Handsfree Media Gateway system, as well as control of the onboard navigation system, which is equipped with a 40GB hard disk drive for quick point-of-interest lookup. Full iPod and USB music device charging and playback are featured as well for portable music compatibility.
More Comfortable Interior
Through the addition of quality soft padding and coverings, the Outlander GT Prototype's interior has taken on a more upscale and luxurious feel. Both comfort and image have improved thanks to the addition of grained synthetic leather, double stitching and chrome accents. Borrowing styling cues from the Lancer Evolution, the Outlander GT Prototype is equipped with aluminum "racing style" pedals and a sport-type steering wheel for improved driver feel. The Outlander GT Prototype also features a new high contrast 3.5-inch QVGA LCD instrument meter, which combines multi-color looks with increased detail for visibility and improved "at a glance" viewing of such engine vitals as fuel level, water temperature and gear selection.
The Outlander GT Prototype features a variety of new electronic accessory upgrades. These additional features solidify the Outlander GT Prototype's refined and rich driving experience. The 40GB hard disk drive navigation system is carried over from the Outlander model, although NAVTEQ RDS real time traffic has been added in the Outlander GT Prototype for accurate updates of real-world driving situations. With a 7-inch LCD on board for the navigation display, the Rockford Fosgate in-car entertainment system has been upgraded in the Outlander GT Prototype from 650 watts to 710 watts of power for greater sound detail and quality. A Total Security Alarm System has also been added, which utilizes an accurate ultrasonic wave motion sensor for improved security and detection.