Mitsubishi

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MITSUBISHI Motors Corporation (MMC) has released teaser images of a pair of concept models it plans to introduce at next month’s Tokyo Motor Show (officially named Tokyo Auto Salon). 

The duo includes a kei-class EV concept, which previews what’s likely to be a Japan-only model, as well as a Ralliart concept. The latter, however, is likely to be a precursor to the brand’s hotly anticipated Outlander Evolution high-performance SUV.

Earlier this year, Mitsubishi announced the return of its rally-inspired sub-brand and showcased Ralliart-branded Triton and Pajero Sport models. The firm also indicated that it would reveal a symbolic replacement for its fabled Evolution models in the form of an electrified, hard-charging Outlander SUV.

The model was slated to make its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in October last year, but the  event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s understood that the model teased in the images is indeed the Outlander Evolution, which will now go on show from January 14.

“The Ralliart concept car brings together Mitsubishi Motors’ engineering and passion for Monozukuri challenges (craftsmanship). With a premium-feel and a strong sense of presence, the styling expresses the company’s vision for the new Ralliart,” MMC said in a statement.

No other specifications for the Outlander Evolution have been released, but it’s expected that a petrol-electric multi-motor driveline will be offered alongside a larger battery pack to improve the vehicle’s range. It is likely the model will feature dual-electric motors on the rear axle to enable torque vectoring and a third on the front axle to provide all-wheel grip.

Reports elsewhere suggest the Outlander Evolution may feature the 200-kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol motor that powers the Infiniti QX50 – that model is based on the same platform architecture as the newest Outlander SUV.

Mitsubishi last teased a high-performance SUV concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the e-Evolution concept, which premiered the brand’s current Dynamic Shield design language, It had a high-capacity battery and trio of electric motors – one of the front axle and two on the rear.

At the time, Mitsubishi said the rear-end arrangement would provide what it called Dual Motor Active Yaw Control. The concept model also showcased an updated version of the brand’s acclaimed S-AWC all-wheel drive system and even electrically operated brake calipers.

More recently, MMC revealed plans for a “radically changed” Eclipse Cross. The brand’s general manager of design, Seiji Watanabe, said the revised model would draw inspiration from MMC’s e-Evolution Concept and emphasise the “strength and dynamics” of the brand’s “SUV heritage”.

It’s unclear, however, if MMC’s smaller Eclipse Cross would receive the same performance upgrades designated for the larger Outlander.

The Ralliart Concept will be joined by a kei-class EV concept, which the image file name suggests may be dubbed K-EV Concept X Style. The pint-sized electric vehicle is expected to go on sale in Japan from mid-2022 as a production twin to the Nissan IMk “luxury small SUV”.

“The kei EV concept is a new generation all-electric kei-car, founded on safety, security and comfort, as well as environmental-friendliness. It combines easy handling and practical size of a kei-car with smooth yet powerful road performance of an EV, while offering advanced driver assistance systems and connectivity,” MMC said in a statement.

The Tokyo Motor Show is open to the press on January 14 and the public on January 15 and 16.

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