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Joining the long list of debuts at the ongoing Tokyo Motor Show is the Mitsubishi MI-Tech Concept, a buggy-style plug-in hybrid that the brand’s renown fun streak has not been totally lost. Not only does the show car sport an unusual body style, but the powertrain choice also runs against the grain.
The electric portion is sophisticated in operation, with electric motors located at each wheel enabling what Mitsubishi calls Dual-Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC) on each axle. With high response and highly accurate control of acceleration and braking force, the system is claimed to provide a drastic improvement in handling and traction, varying power distribution to each wheel as needed and also allowing for 180-degree spins by counter-rotating the left and right tyres.
But it’s the other portion of the powertrain that challenges convention, and here Mitsubishi has ditched a regular internal combustion engine in favour of a lightweight, compact gas turbine engine-generator. The company touts a high power output for the turbine’s size and weight, clean exhaust and its flexibility to run on a variety of fuels, such as diesel, kerosene and alcohol.
Design-wise, the MI-Tech persists with Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield design, with the addition of T-shaped head- and tail lights, a satin-plated front grille with copper inserts and aluminium skid plates at both ends. There are also raised black fender flares and side steps carved into the body side. The turbines are clearly seen atop the buttresses along the rear deck.
Inside, there’s a simple horizontal dashboard, again with copper accents that can also be found on the steering wheel. You’ll also find keyboard-style switches, the operation of which is aided by a hand rest sprouting over the gearlever. Relevant vehicular information is displayed on a small screen ahead of the steering wheel, as well as an augmented reality (AR) windscreen.
The MI-Tech is also equipped with MI-Pilot, Mitsubishi’s next-generation driver assistance technology, which the company says provides support not only on highways and regular roads, but also unpaved roads.