First Look: 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander GT Prototype

Tom Ludwick
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Taking center stage at Mitsubishi's display at the 2009 New York auto show is the Outlander GT Prototype, a sportier version of the company's crossover.

Many of the design elements on the Outlander GT are unmistakably inspired by the Lancer Evolution X. You'd be forgiven for looking at the slender bi-xenon headlamps and shark-like snout and thinking the Outlander is an Evo wagon. Mitsubishi took the aggressive styling further with reshaped fenders, side mirrors, and a new hood. The new pieces not only enhance the look of the concept, but also function to reduce drag.

A set of revised side skirts and a new rear bumper were added to give the Outlander GT a more "upscale" look. Rounding out the exterior enhancements is a polished aluminum roof.

Sadly, the Outlander GT doesn't possess the Evo X's 295-hp turbocharged I-4 to match some `go' with all the `show.' Nevertheless, the concept does get a slight bump in power. A new intake and optimized engine timing increase the output of the 3.0-liter MIVEC V-6 by 10 ponies, giving it 230 hp. The improvements also make more torque available earlier in the rev band, and reportedly improve the Outlander's fuel economy. Mileage was further improved by a new technology called "Idle Neutral Logic," which shifts the transmission into neutral while at a standstill.

Handling was enhanced by a lowered, stiffer suspension and a set of 19-in OZ Racing wheels. Large Brembo brakes lurk behind the wheels to shorten the crossover's stopping distances. The biggest upgrade to the handling comes from the new Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system. The system, also featured on the Evo and Lancer Ralliart, features an active front limited-slip differential and an electronically controlled 4WD coupling to control the power sent front to back and side to side.

Mitsubishi said the Outlander GT Prototype provides "clear directional clues into the next generation of the popular Mitsubishi Outlander CUV." Although we can't say for sure, we're hoping most of the form and functional enhancements of the concept will be making their way into production models as well.

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