Auto blogThu, 28 Aug 2014 10:17:00 EST
We love the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, but by this point, we've accepted the fact that the its days are numbered, despite the noticeable back and forth that accompanied rumors of the vehicle's future for so many months and years. And while the Evo's coming death in 2015 is pretty sad, a report from Automotive News claims that the road-going rally machine will at least be leaving with a fairly substantial bang.
According to AN, Mitsubishi will send off the Evo with a Special Action Model. Limited to between 2,000 to 2,500 units and destined exclusively for the United States, the Evo X SAM should boast, most notably, a bump in power for its 291-pony, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. There should be a few other performance tweaks to accompany the increased output, although it's unclear what those might be. AN claims the limited-edition model will drop during the last six months of Evo production, some time next year.
AN's report was confirmed to us by Mitsubishi spokesman Alex Fedorak, who said that, yes, there will be "a US special edition in 2015." We've asked for additional information, but all we've heard back, so far, is that mum's the word. Here's hoping we won't be waiting too long to get official details.
The '80s is just far enough away now that it no longer seems like an era defined by Reagonomics and neon clothing. Filmmaker Matt Clark has embraced the look of the music videos of the decade in his new short film titled Orange Orchid, set in 1987 in Chiba and Yokohama, Japan. The video features some great sports coupes of the time and is set to the song I Know There's Something Going On from Abba-alum Frida (along with drumming and backup vocals from Phil Collins).
Clark really embraces the pop-culture look of the era's videos with big hair, a healthy dash of neon, inexplicable smoky rooms and big, over-wrought movements. However, the real stars for us are the pair of '80s sports coupes that also kind of personify the main characters. Nijo in her denim jacket has a modded Camaro Z/28 with huge, dished wheels sticking way out past the fenders. Naturally, the Chevy also features some great butterscotch paint and a car phone inside. Alex, the guy pursuing her, forgoes any obvious upgrades in favor a clean, all-white Mitsubishi Starion to go along with his tailored suit and giant cell phone.
We wish this video featured the cars a bit more prominently, but that drumbeat from Collins on this forgotten 80s gem is pretty fantastic, too. Give it a listen in the video.
Mitsubishi has a big secret to keep under wraps when it comes to the looks of its refreshed Outlander crossover. Our spy shooters recently caught it testing in Germany, and the CUV had enough buckles, straps and snaps covering up the front end for the vehicle to fit in at an S&M party for cars. The rear was hidden just as thoroughly, too.
Given the areas that Mitsubishi's engineers are obscuring, it seems safe to assume that the Outlander is getting a heavily revised front end with redesigns for the grille, front bumper and possibly hood. The lights might be reshaped too, judging from these photos. The changes are just as hard to spot at the rear, but you can make out the shape of the taillights. They appear more rectangular than the current model, and the bumper looks more angular, as well.
This is likely our first glimpse of the of the major restyle for the Outlander that Mitsubishi execs told Autoblog about in July. The interior is also getting an update to improve interior material quality, we were told. The revisions are supposed to coincide with the launch of the PHEV model in the US at roughly the same time.
Take a listen folks - you're hearing the eventual future of motorsports. This is Greg Tracy and the Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III as they assault the treacherous course at Pikes Peak in just 9:08.188.
This run is significant for a number of reasons. As we recapped in our Pikes Peak finale post, Tracy's run was a mere two seconds off the best overall time at this year's event, snagging him and Mitsubishi second place overall, as well as first in the Electric Modified class and the fourth fastest time ever recorded. Perhaps more importantly, though, Tracy thoroughly trounced the previous EV record at Pikes Peak, beating the legendary Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima's 2013 best of 9:46.530.
It's an impressive feat, and now you can experience the whole run from as near a first-person viewpoint as you're going to get. Scroll down and have a look.
While attending the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with Mitsubishi we got a chance to speak to three Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) executives about the Outlander PHEV, how the brand is strengthening its lineup and how it plans to promote that.
The Outlander PHEV that's quickly and quietly rolling off lots in Japan, Europe and Australia right now is not the same model we're going to get when it arrives in Fall 2015, with MMNA Executive Vice President Don Swearingen and US PR chief Alex Fedorak telling us that "it will be completely different." It can probably be viewed as the next-generation vehicle, part of the "major restyle in 2016" that will reskin the model in the new design language being applied to the brand's crossovers.
Its hybrid system is being tuned for more refinement, and the same work being done on the interior.
Chrysler and Mitsubishi have had a close relationship since the early '70s. Back then, they partnered up to sell the Japanese brand's models under American names as captive imports in the US. Vehicles like the Dodge Colt, Eagle Summit, and eventually the 3000GT/Stealth twins and lots of other cars and trucks became the fruits of that alliance. In fact, the two companies still maintain a good rapport, as evidenced by reports of a new deal to sell the Mitsubishi Attrage, also known the Mirage G4, in Mexico starting in November.
The Attrage is a small, four-door sedan that borrows many of the mechanical bits from the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback. According to Automotive News, the deal allows Chrysler to sell the model in Mexico for the next five years. The deal could be a win-win for both companies. Mitsubishi gets to use more capacity at its Laem Chabang, Thailand factory where the car is made, and Chrysler gets a new vehicle for a growing market with almost zero development costs. At this time, there's no indication of the new model's name in Mexico, though.
There's also still a chance the Attrage might make it to the US market as well. The automaker showed off the sedan as the Mirage G4 at the 2014 Montreal Motor Show ahead of promised sales in small-car-friendly Canada. The Mirage hatchback was introduced to the US in a similar way, debuting in Canada first and then crossing the border. While reviews for the Mirage have been pretty atrocious, it would still be interesting to see Mitsubishi further expanding its lineup in North America.
The weather didn't interrupt the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year, the sun staying out to shine throughout a mildly cloudy day. The crowds didn't interrupt the race, either. Last year there were incidents like the woman who leaned so far into the road that her camera tore a hole in a speeding Shelby Cobra and she had to be sent to the hospital. This year the organizers shrank the number of spectator viewing areas and put others behind fences, such that long stretches of the route were uninhabited by anything other than varmints.
The only unexpected visitor was a dusty track and what some competitors said were slightly higher temperatures that changed the amount of grip and increased times. Yet the calm let a couple of teams, like that sun, break through the clouds of past misfortune and claim victories they'd been targeting for years.
The running order has been established for the 92nd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb for all classes and everyone's had all the practice they're going to get. On Sunday, June 29, the 14,110-foot-high mountain will ask each of them, "Who wants some?" Unlike previous years, while the bikes will run according to class, the cars will run according to their qualifying times set on the bottom section of the course, regardless of division, the fastest guys going first.
That puts Romain Dumas at the head of the 67 car entries, having set a time of 3:37.525 in his Norma M20 RD in the Unlimited Class, but the next Unlimited entry doesn't appear until sixth, Piero Nappi in his Picchio P4 pp with a time of 4:03.357. In between them, the two Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution IIIs start second and third in the Electric Modified class, that first one driven by Greg Tracy 11 seconds behind Dumas. Then comes Monster Tajima is his E-Runner Pikes Peak Special, then Paul Dallenbach leading the Open Wheel class, four positions ahead of the next Open Wheel competitor.
Leaders in the other classes: Michael Skeen driving a Nissan GT-R in the Open class in seventh, 12 positions ahead of the next class entrant; Jeff Zwart in eighth, driving a Porsche 911, will be the first in Time Attack 1, his competition starting right behind him; Robert Prillka in 21st is the first Time Attack 2 entry in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, three positions ahead of the next entry; in 23rd is Christopher Lennon in his 1973 Porsche 911 in the Vintage class, the next Vintage entry in 37th; the first Exhibition entrant is Donald Huffman in a Radical RXC in 50th, four positions ahead of the next in-class competition; and representing for Electric Production is Roy Richards in a Honda Fit EV.
Wed, 25 Jun 2014 11:30:00 EST
Greg Tracy's MiEV Evolution III topped the time sheets almost 14 seconds ahead of third-place Monster Tajima.
On Thursday, qualifying times for six categories were set on the bottom-section switchbacks of Pikes Peak: Electric Modified - near-unlimited showcases of electric-vehicle engineering; Electric Production - electric vehicles "readily available to the public;" Open Wheel - single engine, open wheeled, open cockpit, single seat vehicles; Open - based upon a production or approved-aftermarket-replica vehicle; Exhibition - a prototype or pre-production vehicle limited to one year of eligibility in this class; and Vintage - vehicles and drivelines from 1990 or earlier.
This year the big news about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is about who isn't showing up. Sebastien Loeb, fresh off his record setting run last year, hasn't bothered coming back (and probably won't unless someone breaks his record). The Millen family is also noticeably absent. Rhys and Rod have been driving here for the past couple of decades but it looks like Rhys is focusing his efforts on Global RallyCross.
Last year Pikes Peak added a fourth practice day on Tuesday to allow drivers to get more time on the mountain. It's an optional practice day, but most drivers show up.
Today, both Time Attack divisions (1 and 2) as well as Unlimited division drove the lower third of the mountain. Pikes Peak Open, Open Wheel, Electric Production, Electric Modified, Exhibition and Vintage all practiced on the middle section, and bikes power sports did the top section.