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Mitsubishi Concept Poised for Motor City Launch

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will set free a powerful concept car poised for launch at the North American International Auto Show next month. The concept is designed to give aficionados some hints about the forthcoming Eclipse.

Called the "Mitsubishi Concept," the stunning coupe is powered by what the Japanese automaker describes as a "new high-efficiency, low-emissions 2.2-liter four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve turbodiesel engine." The said engine, equipped with a new catalytic converter, generates 201 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It also gets a new catalytic converter system. Mitsubishi did not release fuel economy numbers, only noting that the concept has "a high degree of fuel efficiency."

The Eclipse sports coupe has been a cornerstone of Mitsubishi's American lineup since 1989 and helps to draw the Y generation, often first-time buyers to the brand. The Concept-RA, designed in Japan with a more aggressive profile than recent concepts from the automaker, is powered by a new 2.2-liter, 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine that harks back to the Eclipse's roots, reported The Detroit News.

The car's engine delivers power to all four wheels through a dual-clutch automated manual transmission. The Concept-RA borrows many parts from the Lancer Evolution and Evo X, including anti-lock brakes and stability control, but is also equipped with active steering and active suspension control to advance driver input over torque and braking, while enhancing traction control, cornering and vehicle stability, the report continued.

The Concept has a new body structure using an aluminum space frame. Some exterior parts, including the hood and fenders, are made from plastic resin. According to the automaker the plastic resin has high impact resistance compared to the traditional material. The concept coupe also gets the S-AWC vehicle dynamics control system driveline and the Twin Clutch SST automated manual transmission used in the Lancer Evolution X.

The concept is also equipped with an aluminum space frame, and engine hood, fenders and other body panels constructed of plastic resin, to enhance crash protection and reduce weight. With less weight, the smaller engine does not have to work as hard to propel the Concept-RA. The next-gen Eclipse will showcase advanced auto technology developed by the Japanese automaker. The technology will also be featured on forthcoming models of the automaker.

The sales of Mitsubishi's American division have rebounded 16 percent this year. So far, the maker of Mitsubishi pickup radiator hose has the Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder convertible as the second best-selling models in its lineup, behind the Lancer.

The fifth-gen Eclipse was launched as a 2006 model, and the next-gen version of the car, meanwhile is not unexpected until 2010 or later.

About The Author Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.
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