Mitsubishi Introduces 40+MPG Tier 2 Bin 5 Diesel Sport Coupe Concept in Detroit
13 January 2008
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation unveiled the Concept-RA (Road Alive) two-seat diesel sports coupe concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Powered by a 2.2L 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve turbo diesel, the Concept-RA will deliver fuel efficiency of more than 40 miles per gallon, according to Tetsuro Aikawa, Managing Director of the Product Development Group.
The engine features a MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system) valvetrain that offers continuously variable valve timing control as well as low and high speed camshaft profiles actuating the intake valves.
The new diesel is equipped with piezoelectric injector common-rail direct fuel injection that allows a lower static compression ratio and a VD (Variable Diffuser)/VG (Variable Geometry) turbocharger whose internal vanes can control airflow over the turbine and compressor surfaces to produce optimum boost characteristics at all times. The engine delivers a maximum output of 201 hp (150 kW) and maximum torque of 310 lb-ft (420 Nm).
To comply with Tier 2 Bin 5 emission requirements, the diesel relies on a new catalytic converter system that utilizes diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), NOx trap catalyst (NTC) and diesel particulate filter (DPF) technologies.
When mated to a Twin Clutch-SST automated manual transmission, the torque-rich diesel engine will help deliver sporty driving with fuel efficiency.
The Concept-RA’s Super-All Wheel Control driveline is a next generation all-wheel-drive system that adds Active Steering and Active Suspension control to the ACD (Active Center Differential), AYC (Active Yaw Control), ASC (Active Stability Control), and Sport ABS components that comprise the highly capable system used on the 2008 Lancer Evolution. Concept RA’s S-AWC system integrally manages these components to realize advanced levels of control over drive torque, steering input, vehicle roll, and braking at each wheel, thereby raising traction, cornering and vehicle stability levels.
In an effort to reduce vehicle weight to improve fuel economy, vehicle performance and safety, the Concept-RA features a new, rigid body structure using an aluminum space frame made from extruded aluminum sections and die-cast aluminum components. In addition, the engine hood, fenders and other outer panels made from lightweight, impact-resistant and easily recyclable plastic resin.
Mitsubishi was not alone in delivering a concept diesel sports car at the Detroit show. Audi took the ultra-high performance end of the spectrum with the unveiling of its Audi R8 V12 TDI concept—the first 12-cylinder diesel engine in a high-performance road-going sports car.
The 6.0L V12 TDI generates 500 hp and 1,000 Nm (737.56 lb-ft) of torque.
I have seen the future and it is sweet.
Posted by: tthoms | 13 January 2008 at 03:45 PM
If they marketed this vehicle in the US next year, I would probably buy one for my wife provided the price is right.
Posted by: Lucas | 13 January 2008 at 03:48 PM
40+MPG is not impressive considering it has the advantage of all the latest technology compared to VW's diesel Rabbits sold in America 30 years ago that got (45 mpg city/up to 57 mpg highway).
Posted by: gary | 13 January 2008 at 09:18 PM
This is a sports car. I'm guessing the diesel Rabbits had about a third the horsepower that this car is scheduled for.
Posted by: david | 13 January 2008 at 09:30 PM
This is nothing but a hand built 'concept car' for car shows and nothing more. In comparison VW made manufactured several hundred thousand Rabbit Diesel sedans and pickup trucks in the 1970-80's.
Posted by: gary | 14 January 2008 at 06:25 AM
The Rabbit had about a quarter of the power this Concept is supposed to have. That being said, 40mpg is nothing to write home about. I've seen DSMs that run 12s quarter miles drive home afterward getting 40mpg. I'm guessing that with judicious gearing this concept could easily see 55+mpg, but then it wouldn't be capable of going 160mph or whatever it is. I'd love for a manufacturer to have the balls to drop in a close ratio 1-4 up to ~100mph with a OD suitable for cruising at 60-70mph at peak engine efficiency. Faster off the line and eficient when it matters.
Posted by: yesplease | 14 January 2008 at 07:10 AM
Very good point about gearing. With the new manumatic shift 6-speed gearboxes and diesel torque, a big overdrive 6th gives good acceleration and decent top speed. And 5th can still go faster.
I'm driving a medium overdrive (upgraded from stock) TDI myself, and it accelerates good at any speed. The stock 5th gear was stupid. TDI's have great torque and flexibility.
Posted by: GdB | 14 January 2008 at 08:54 AM
I put in the biggest overdrive I could get. But when I did the engine BSFC map comparisons, I noticed I could get the best MPG with even higher gearing. With only 5 speeds, and not changing any other gears, the jump from 4th to 5th gets a big large. With a 6 speed, its no longer a problem.
Posted by: GdB | 14 January 2008 at 08:59 AM
I'd love to see a link to the DSMs that are running 12s in the 1/4 mile AND getting better than 40mpg. I have not been on any DSM related message boards for awhile and the last I heard a few guys were trying to run 19:1 a/f ratios for fuel efficiency in low throttle position driving but never heard of any getting > 40mpg.
Also keep in mind that if this gets 40mpg with 200hp it would also do so with AWD. I don't think I have ever heard of any car, regardless of how puny or efficient the engine is, getting 40mpg with AWD. Maybe there are some small diesel awd vehicles in europe that do it...but I haven't paid attention to too many Europe only vehicles.
Posted by: Patrick | 14 January 2008 at 09:14 AM
I was in error, it's only a 13s car. :o
Regarding efficiency, AWD isn't that big of a hit, at least compared to gearing in every car I've driven. And, the thing seems to be quite aerodynamic. I would guess that it uses at most 30% more energy to get down the road compared to something like the 3L Lupo, but since it's aimed at the performance crowd, who will likely never see the performance a fifth gear ratio like that entails, at least not legally (unless at the track), I think there's a lot of room for improvement.
Posted by: yesplease | 14 January 2008 at 09:58 AM
I should add that I still think the car is capable of 12s runs, just not at the same time it's getting 40+mpg. Sticky tires and all that. ;)
Raced at the track. Got in 5 runs, best was 13.7 @109.2 mph, no changes for track use-tires at 45psi, 1/4 tank of 91 octane. Also did some WOT tuning runs to prepare. New T-stat runs at 203-206F.
Posted by: yesplease | 14 January 2008 at 10:11 AM
Actually, 40 mpg is not bad considering we are talking about the closest thing to a diesel-powered sports car engine. A true economy-tuned 2.2-liter turbodiesel would be tuned for more like 140 to 150 bhp and get fuel economy in the high 40's.
(By the way, one of the things Honda did with the i-DTEC engine compared to the older i-CTDi engine was to broaden the torque curve, which made the engine better-suited for an automatic transmission.)
Posted by: Raymond | 14 January 2008 at 11:12 AM
Judging from his log he probably would be somewhere around 45-50mpg in a car rated 40mpg. Remove all the accessories (p/s + a/c), overfill tires (50psi !!), and mostly highway driving (with drafting! eek!).
(note that the Laser is FWD...)
Posted by: Patrick | 14 January 2008 at 01:16 PM
I know 50psi sounds like alot, but my new tires are rated for 44psi, and even with the usual 35psi rating, I think that the tires are tested at the maximum speed/load on a pot-hole ridden road in death valley during a summer noon, so upping them a little or even 15psi isn't very dangerous unless the person also drives like a maniac. He may be able to get more out of the diesel (I say may because some of his driving habits take advantage of throttling losses, which may not be possible with a properly geared newer diesel) but even considering the loss in mileage from FWD->AWD I think he would still be pulling 40+mpg in a car that's nearly two decades old.
I guess I'm just ranting because I'm sick of this whole "performance" for the sake of top speed numbers as opposed to a car that has tighter 1-n ratios and can really rip up to ~80-100mph, with a nice tall OD gear for good mileage cruising on the highway. Given a car that sleek Mitsu could've really put together a great blend of practical performance and wonderful highway fuel economy. I suppose I can always buy one after it's depreciated and drop in a taller OD, but I may still be driving my greasy rabbit at that time.
Posted by: yesplease | 14 January 2008 at 05:02 PM
does anyone here understand what 'concept' means?..it means something conceived in mind or an abstract idea ..it's not real folks nor is intended to be
Posted by: gary | 14 January 2008 at 06:57 PM
You would think someone who understood what 'concept' means also understood what 'armchair quarterbacking' means. ;)
Posted by: yesplease | 14 January 2008 at 08:34 PM
Some of the tire shops around here are offering nitrogen in tires because they run cooler. If they run cooler, they might able to run at higher pressure. Low roll resistance tires are one way to get better mileage. You would have to have compliant suspension to make the ride softer, but that could be done.
Posted by: sjc | 15 January 2008 at 12:46 PM
This looks like an 2nd gen Eclipse mixed with an MR2 and the front reminds me of a Mako Shark Corvette. I dig this. This would sell. Plus if it can run bio-diesel we might see a whole new breed of performance and green cred. I don't know why no one advertises that they can run bio-diesel.
40mpg isn't amazing, but this is still a concept - perhaps we'll see a hybrid option, more than likely there'll be a 2wd option for even better economy.
Posted by: Elliot | 16 January 2008 at 03:05 PM