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First look: New Magna still a goer

Magna make-over: The vital all-new Magna replacement due in the second half of 2005 will look a lot like this. Digital image by NORM ROBINSON.

Mitsubishi Australia presses on with plans for 2005 Magna replacement

19 Mar 2004

THE 2005 all-new Mitsubishi Magna replacement will definitely be built and it will look a lot like this.

MMAL boss Tom Phillips is emphatic local Magna production will continue in Adelaide despite the latest round of financial horrors engulfing Mitsubishi worldwide, although he concedes a proposed long wheelbase car is in doubt.

"I have no doubt we are going to build a car in 2005," said Mr Phillips. "I am more worried about today’s sales than building a new car in 2005. I am very confident about that."Based on the Mitsubishi front-wheel drive PS platform which measures up very close to the current Magna, the new car will share about 40 per cent of its underbody and mechanicals with the new generation Galant launched in the US last year.

But its styling – particularly its face – will share little with the current Galant.

Instead, it gets a new front-end styled under the direction of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation design boss Olivier Boulay. This new look will eventually flow onto the US Galant as well, which currently has a pre-Boulay look.

While there is still tweaking going on, the fundamentals of the design have been set.

The good news – GoAuto sources assure us – is that this time around Mr Boulay appears to have got the proportions right.

The TL Magna has been hit hard in the sales race by Mr Boulay’s controversial restyle that included massive headlights and polycarbonate lenses that stretched up the car’s flanks.

This time around Mr Boulay has reduced the size of the headlights themselves as well as the lenses to give the car a far more balanced and appropriately conservative look for the fleet-driven Australian large car market.

They combine with familiar Boulay signatures – the split grille with vertical bars – to produce very much the modern Mitsubishi face already seen on Lancer, Colt and Grandis.

While the grille remains fundamentally the same as the current Magna, the triple diamond logo will be moved from the triangulated centre divider up onto the bonnet.

Moving further back the car melds into Galant, including the arced roofline and pronounced rear shoulder step.

"Our appeal with this car I think is it is going to be a sporty looking car and hopefully we can give it a sportier flavour so it has more appeal to individuals," Mr Phillips said.

"It’s a good car. We … have done a hell of a lot of testing so far and it goes very well."That’s helped by the fact the standard engine for the car will be a 3.8-litre V6 (producing 172kW in the US), replacing the current 3.5-litre V6. The debate right now is whether it will be mated to a five-speed auto across the range or –as per TL – a mix of four and five-speed autos.

Expect the range to also be pared back to just eight models when the new generation appears, with both the all-wheel drive and wagon variants disappearing.

AWD may be re-introduced in the future but a yet-to-be-revealed cross-over is planned to take on wagon duties, as Kluger has taken over from Camry for Toyota.

The Magna replacement will be built in a dramatically refurbished Tonsley Park plant which has already added a $7 million power painted body storage system, while a $40 million large press and associated facilities will be installed in April/May.

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