Mitsubishi revealed yet another SUV concept at the Paris Motor Show

Unlike other Japanese manufacturers that focus on expanding their lineups, Mitsubishi took the opposite route recently, shrinking its offerings to only a handful of models. With the Lancer set to bow at the end of the year, the Mitsubishi range will include only four nameplates in the U.S., plus three more in other markets around the world. Despite that, the brand’s current focus seems to be on concept cars, with a brand-new one brought into the spotlight at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

Called the GT-PHEV, where GT stands for "ground tourer," the new concept vehicle is described as a high-end next-generation SUV that easily takes many road surface conditions in its stride." This statement sounds as if Mitsubishi is planning to move toward the premium market with a new high-riding, people hauler, but until further information becomes available, the GT-PHEV is just another concept car in a long line of experimental vehicles that the Japanese brand has unveiled in recent years.

You see, Mitsubishi has launched more concepts than production cars since 2013. It all started with the XR-PHEV, which was followed by the more production-ready XR-PHEV II, the eX, and the GC-PHEV. The XR, GC, and GT are all hybrids, while the eX showcased an all-electric drivetrain. Looking at those concepts, Mitsubishi would have a comprehensive crossover lineup should all be approved for production, but that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Meanwhile, the company has the GT-PHEV to brag about and that’s the model we will analyze below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept.

Exterior

2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The first thing that catches the eye when looking at the GT-PHEV concept is the imposing front fascia with its massive grille and bumper. Sporting the company’s "Dynamic Shield" design, the front end has a big black grille at the center, flanked by thick chrome strips shaped like an X. The upper arms extend well into the fenders in the form of very slim LED headlamps, mirrored by the equally slender daytime running lights in the lower apron. The overall layout is an evolution of the styling language seen on previous concepts, such as the GC-PHEV and eX, but stands out thanks to the additional vertical LED lights on the sides. The wrap-around hood is almost featureless, with only the raised edges giving it a somewhat muscular look.

The first thing that catches the eye when looking at the GT-PHEV concept is the imposing front fascia with its massive grille and bumper

The side view is also full of contrasting features. While the roof sits lower than a regular SUV, the waistline is high, resulting in taller doors and massive side skirts. Two deep creases give the side panels a muscular look. The lower line descends from the front wheel arch just under the doors, while the higher character line ascends from the front wheel and goes all the way toward the taillights, where it descends to form the car’s rear haunches. As with most concepts, the GT-PHEV rides on massive wheels with a rim design that’s not very likely to go into production anytime soon. Speaking of features that aren’t yet suitable for production models, the standard side mirrors have been replaced by cameras.

Around back, the GT-PHEV sports the same horizontal styling, with the taillights stretching the entire width of the fascia. The sloping tailgate has a pronounced center section and then it abruptly descends toward the imposing bumper with its diffuser-like elements. The concept is rounded off by a rather dull silver finish and a contrasting Burgundy roof.

Interior

2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Interior
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2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Interior
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The interior of the GT-PHEV is surprisingly mild for a concept car. No detail is too wild for a modern production model, which may suggest that Mitsubishi is actually considering the option of bringing the GT-PHEV into showrooms in the near future.

The interior of the GT-PHEV is surprisingly mild for a concept car.

The dashboard is clean and simple by design, with the paassenger side featuring a two-tier design split by a high-sheen chrome strips. On the driver’s side, there’s a big, all-digital instrument cluster that provides vehicle and engine speed, energy flow, and other basic car information. The display can be switched to a navigation mode that provides route information. Alternatively, the heads-up display at the bottom of the windscreen shows vehicle speed and minimal navigation data, improving safety by reducing the need for the driver to take his eye from the road to get route information.

The two monitors on either side of the cluster serve as side mirrors, displaying images from the cameras mounted on the A-pillars.

The angled center console houses several buttons and knobs, including the rotary selectors for the transmission and terrain setups. Place only a couple of inches away, they’re easier to operate when driving off-road.

Finally, a panoramic glass roof lights up the two-tone upholstery. Combining burgundy and black leather with silver accent stitching that match the color of most controls and switches, the upholstery gives the GT-PHEV a premium look.

Drivetrain

2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Under its aggressive-looking skin, the GT-PHEV hides the company’s new triple-motor hybrid system that includes three high-output motors, a engine specifically designed for this drivetrain, and a 25-kWh, high energy density battery mounted under the floor. Two of the electric motors, which also feature integral silicone-carbide frequency inverters, are fitted at the rear, while the third spins the front axle. The former generate 45 kW (60 horsepower) each, while the latter cranks out 90 kW (121 horsepower).

The GT-PHEV can travel for 120 km (74.5 miles) on electric power alone.

The conventional engine is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline unit. In Series Drive Mode, when it acts as a generator, the engine runs at a high thermal efficiency. The system selects the high reduction ratio gear for better fuel economy when driving at higher speeds under normal circumstances, and the low reduction ratio gear for better acceleration when climbing a hill or overtaking.

The drivetrain also includes a revised version of Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system. Comprising Active Front Differential (AFD), which controls torque split between the front wheels, electric Active Yaw Control (AYC) at the rear, and Active Stability Control (ASC), S-AWC enhances the SUV’s acceleration, cornering and braking capabilities.

As far as range goes, the GT-PHEV can travel for 120 km (74.5 miles) on electric power alone, while the combined hybrid range is estimated at over 1,200 km (745.6 miles). Tailpipe emissions are rated at less than 26 g/km, an impressive figure for a hybrid.

Conclusion

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Although it’s very tempting to poke fun at Mitsubishi for building concept after concept instead of launching a production car that’s actually new and not just a refurbished platform, I’m not going to ignore the fact this long line of experimental cars will eventually lead to a production model that will be unlike anything else we can buy from this company. I’m not crazy about the GT-PHEV’s design and I’m sure a production version will look rather mundane by comparison, but the hybrid drivetrain and the technology are definitely two features that are worth the wait. Hopefully, the GT-PHEV is more than just a fourth-generation Outlander and Mitsubishi will use it to create a more premium crossover offering. The Japanese brand is in desperate need of a new nameplate and a vehicle that would raise the bar a bit.

  • Leave it
    • * Somewhat of a repeat of previous concepts
    • * It’s purpose is still a mystery

Press Release

Photo Credit: Mitsubishi

After “Concept XR PHEV II” at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show and then, “eX Concept” at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) continues with the patient crafting of its design philosophy whilst confirming its growing stake in the SUV market.

This autumn, MMC extends that conceptual journey at the 2016 Paris Motor Show with the world premiere of the all-new “Ground Tourer-PHEV Concept” (or “GT-PHEV”): a high-end Japanese SUV coupé for a new automotive experience.

2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Form follows Function

GT-PHEV Concept is the third iteration of “Form follows Function”, which outlines Mitsubishi Motors’ renewed design philosophy, expressed through four powerful elements:

Augmented Possibilities
Functional Beauty
Sculptured Dynamism
Japanese Craftsmanship

Behind the “Dynamic Shield” front grille, which has been developed and evolved since 2014, now invests the upper strata of the automotive landscape with the GT-PHEV Concept.

Befitting its evocative name, GT-PHEV Concept offers effortless cruising on and off the beaten track, while accommodating passengers in the hushed comfort and sleek design of a finely crafted interior defined by a horizontal dashboard - reflecting the spaciousness of the cabin as well as making it easier for the driver to sense changes in vehicle’s attitude, as well as high quality yet functional fittings.

2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Intensity

The Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept’s intense exterior design is meant to give a sense of reassurance to the driver while also stimulating their quest for adventure expressed through the body’s ingot-like surface composition, the keenly chamfered character lines that run into the rear fenders, complex surface treatment and substantial sills.

Tailored to GT-PHEV’s high end mission & ambition, the “Dynamic Shield” front grille strikes presence on the road. The blacked-out grille, highlighted by intricately-worked chrome grille shutters and a piano black upper section, symbolises the advanced PHEV system’s performance. The design also seeks to express functionality through the precise energy management achieved by adaptive grille shutters that operate to reduce drag while optimally managing cooling of the PHEV system.

Either side, the headlamps are divided vertically for more pertinence from a safety viewpoint:

The upper half houses the day time running lamps and turn signals to make them more visible to pedestrians.
The lower half houses the headlights proper (high and low beams) to keep them from dazzling oncoming vehicles or pedestrians.

Beyond, the graphic styling of the lamp units, also adds to GT-PHEV Concept’s advanced and sophisticated look & feel.

High and above, the low floating roof, finished in contrasting burgundy dark red to coordinate with the interior upholstery, adds to the overall dynamism to the silhouette. With a curved cross-section, sharply truncated at its trailing edge, the roof and the distinctive C-pillar, which takes an airplane’s tail fin as its motif, creates a crisp and agile image that contrasts sharply with the body’s intensity to impart a sporty appearance.

In the side view, the horizontal hood, flat roofline and sharp character lines - highlighted by the reflections created by the complex “white metallic” finish of the main body - visually convey the idea of a solid and stable vehicle translating into a feeling of security for the driver and passengers.

At the rear, GT-PHEV Concept’s main feature is combination lamps that stretch across the width of the tail in a single line proud of the body. Together with the sharp bumper and tailgate surface treatment, this styling effect gives the rear end a broad-beamed and high-stability look contrasting with a sporty rake of the backlight.

Within the lamp units, the brake, indicators and reverse lights form a graphic composition of fourteen small inset vertical units and a slim wrap-around element at each corner, complemented by the sophisticated intricate design of the reflectors across the tailgate to create a distinctive contemporary effect.

Below, the lower bumper uses a skid plate-like treatment while a rubber coating similar to the one used for the front bumper, adds to the SUV feeling of toughness and stability.

The Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept rides on five double-spoke large alloy wheels. Wrapped by the large sculptured double-edged wheel arches, they share the same ingot-carved look of the high sills, adding to the solid stance of the car on the road.

2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Horizontal

For GT-PHEV Concept, Mitsubishi Motors’ designers have developed an interior theme which combines refined Japanese craftsmanship and intuitive ergonomics.

For the latter, they decided to introduce a new theme which is that of a horizontal dashboard. This innovative layout provides a forward panoramic vision, creating an airy and open feel which will visually widen the interior space. The straight-through chrome accent will assist the driver in intuitively sensing changes in body attitude when driving off road.

On the ergonomic front, shift and terrain selectors use a rotary design that makes them easier to operate when driving off road and, similar to other controls, they are finished in silver to make them immediately identifiable and easier to locate.

The centrally-located instrument cluster uses an intelligent display that provides vehicle and engine speed, energy flow and other basic vehicular information. The display can be switched to a navigation mode that connects to information networks to provide route information and information on entertainment available at the destination.

Monitors on either side of the cluster use cameras and serve as side mirrors to show the view behind the vehicle. A heads-up-display at the bottom of the windscreen presents vehicle speed and the minimum navigational data required, improving safety by reducing the need for the driver to look away from their usual viewpoints.

Last but not least, to dress up this contemporary high quality interior bathing in the light of the panoramic glass roof, MMC designers selected a two-tone burgundy/black fine leather covering dashboard, centre console, door trim panels and seats, with a silver accent stitching coordinated with the controls and switches.

2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Interior
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High-mobility

Building upon its industry-leading electric and all-wheel control technologies, Mitsubishi Motors aims to move the SUV genre to new territories.

As tangible evidence of this ambition, GT-PHEV Concept utilises MMC’s advanced and proprietary PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric) system, this time using a triple-motor layout (instead of the current twin-motor set-up). It also boasts a connected car technology which helps extract the performance of these to the maximum, to empower drivers of all abilities to follow their chosen line under different road surface conditions with assurance and thereby experience real driving pleasure.

PHEV System

The Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept uses a new plug-in hybrid electric system specifically developed for a top-end all-round SUV.

Building upon the successful formula inaugurated with Outlander PHEV, it includes:

A 25 kWh high energy density, next-generation high-capacity battery package is mounted under the floor.
A triple-motor system uses three compact, high output and high efficiency motors with integral Silicone Carbide (SiC) frequency inverters, one fitted at the front and two at the rear. This extends the speed range in which the car is driven by the motors alone.
The power-train further uses a 2.5L pretol engine designed for PHEV usage. In Series Drive Mode, when it acts as a generator, the engine runs at a high thermal efficiency. The engine size has been optimised for use in Parallel Drive Mode and with a two-speed front transaxle delivers good energy efficiency and acceleration. The system selects the high reduction ratio gear for better fuel economy when driving at higher speeds under normal circumstances, and the low reduction ratio gear for better acceleration when climbing a gradient or overtaking.

Furthermore, the overall efficiency of the PHEV system has been improved for GT-PHEV Concept including, amongst others:

Structural rationalisation and weight reduction.
Drag reduction through the use of automatic grille shutters.
Vehicle speed-sensitive adaptive suspension that controls ride height.

As a result, the concept car achieves an electric-only range of 120km and a total cruising range of over 1,200km with a full fuel tank and fully-charged battery, while tailpipe CO2emissions of under 26 g/km allow GT-PHEV Concept to top the plug-in hybrid segment.

2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Exterior
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4WD System

For GT-PHEV Concept’s high-output, high-efficiency triple motor 4WD power-train, electric motive power is supplied to the front wheels by a single 90 kW motor, and to the rear wheels by two 45 kW motors.

The drivetrain also employs MMC’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) integrated vehicle dynamics control system. Comprising Active Front Differential (AFD), which controls torque split between the front wheels, electric Active Yaw Control (AYC) at the rear and Active Stability Control (ASC), S-AWC brings dramatic improvements to the car’s acceleration, cornering and braking:

The triple-motor four-wheel drive powertrain sees a significant improvement in front and rear wheel torque response. And with the electric vehicle’s inherent characteristic of developing maximum torque from standstill, the powertrain delivers exhilarating performance. The AFD regulates front drive torque split to improve cornering performance. It also improves vehicle stability by suppressing wheel spin and transmission of effective traction on dirt roads, snow-covered and other slippery surfaces.
The electric AYC regulates the output of the two rear motors and generates a torque differential between the rear wheels as required by surface conditions. This generates a yaw moment that improves cornering capability and also helps to create a level of agile and feel-good handling that would seem improbable for a car of its size. When one wheel starts to lose grip and cannot transmit traction properly to the road surface, the AYC generates an amplitude of torque exceeding that from a single motor at the other wheel to maintain and improve traction performance.
ASC operates when the system detects any instability and regulates the braking force at each wheel, and motor and engine output to stabilise the body attitude and ensure tolerant and reassuring handling and driving stability for changes in road surface or inappropriate driver inputs.

Mitsubishi Motors’ proprietary S-AWC controls the behaviour of all four wheels through integral management of the AFD, electric AYC and ASC systems, allowing the driver to accelerate, corner and brake in a way faithful to their intent and delivering outstanding vehicle stability beyond anything they have experienced before with confidence.

2016 Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept High Resolution Interior
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Connected Car Technology

By making good use of information obtained through telecommunication, in-car sensors and cameras, the Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept takes the environmental performance of the PHEV system as well as the triple-motor 4WD drive-train’s dynamic performance to new levels. As a result, the driver enjoys enhanced motoring pleasure, reassurance and confidence.

As an illustration, when the driver enters the destination into the on-board navigation system, connected car technology searches for information about the weather, temperature, topography, roads and surface conditions expected enroute. On this basis, it provides optimal energy management and thereby contributes to better fuel economy.

In addition, optimal and automatic control of the triple-motor four-wheel drive drivetrain’s front/rear, left/right torque split enables safer, more comfortable motoring.

And by regulating suspension damping when rough surfaces are encountered, it always provides the optimal ride and achieves the best balance between safety and easy driving.

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