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ZT still hits the spot

On target: Concept-ZT is still likely to make production, says Mitsu chief.

Mitsubishi boss says a new flagship sedan is likely, despite reports the ZT is dead

4 Sep 2008

MITSUBISHI Australia chief Rob McEniry expects the company’s Concept-ZT medium-size sedan to make it into production, despite reports from Europe that the project has been canned.

British magazine Autocar reported that the ZT program has been cancelled because Mitsubishi Motor Corporation could not make a business case for a car that would be positioned against the BMW 3 Series.

Finally basking in the financial sunshine as a full-line importer, Mr McEniry told GoAuto last week of his confidence of getting a car that would not only replace the extinct 380 in terms of body and engine size, but one that would also provide a premium halo for the revived brand.

Having recently returned from head office in Japan, he said the four-door ZT would be the ideal candidate and was likely to go into production.

“What I would really like is a top-end car,” he told us when asked what was currently missing from Mitsubishi’s Australian line-up.

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“I don’t want a D-segment (large car), but I would like a flagship. There is some life left in the Honda Accord V6 type market with a level of opulence.

“Really, the (ZT) concept car they showed in Tokyo hits that spot.” Asked if that concept car was going to be built, Mr McEniry said: “Yes, I think it will.” Launched at the Tokyo show in October last year, the Concept-ZT presented Mitsubishi’s current design language applied to a conservative large car and looked like a longer, sleeker version of the ninth-generation Lancer sedan.

Dimensionally, it was well-equipped to be a 380 replacement, sitting on a 65mm longer wheelbase (at 2815mm) and being some 95mm longer (4950mm), though slightly narrower (20mm less at 1820mm) and lower (40mm less at 1440mm).

The concept car was powered by a 2.2-litre four-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel engine driving through the new Lancer Evo X four-wheel drive system and twin-clutch sequential-shifting transmission, but V6 power and front-wheel drive would also suit the production version.

Though built on a lightweight but strong Audi-style aluminium space-frame structure with recyclable plastic body panels, the production car would be expected to employ a conventional steel chassis.

Read more:

Mitsubishi 380's demise opens door for ZT

First look: ZT could be Mitsu 380 successor

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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