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New models - Mitsubishi - Colt - Ralliart

First drive: Mitsubishi Ralliart Colt bolts in

Ralliart attack: The 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 113kW of power and 210Nm of torque.

Mitsubishi isn’t messing around in its quest to add some sting to its sagging Colt

2 Aug 2006

THE Colt Ralliart is charged with injecting emotion into Mitsubishi Australia’s two-year-old light-car range.

Priced from $29,990, it is the most expensive light car the company has ever sold in Australia.

Yet the level of changes over the standard Colt go beyond a bolt-on turbo and a bodykit conversion featuring a bonnet scoop, lower airdam, foglights, wheel arch extensions, rear bumper diffuser, larger exhaust, roof-mounted spoiler, tinted windows and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Driving the front wheels is a turbocharged and intercooled version of the 1.5-litre twin-cam four-cylinder engine with MIVEC variable-valve timing that was released in the MY06 RG Colt range in February this year.

Power and torque outputs are 113kW at 6000rpm and 210Nm at 3500rpm respectively, with a 6700rpm fuel cut-out.

This 4G15 1468cc engine also features a weight-saving hollow camshaft, low-friction pistons and stronger drivetrain mountings, among other updates.

Exhaust modifications see reduced back pressure with a harder aural edge befitting the Ralliart’s boy-racer image.

Mitsubishi claims the Ralliart delivers a 6.7L/100km average fuel reading, running on 98 RON premium-unleaded petrol.

The five-speed manual gearbox is a German-made Getrag unit, coupled to a ZF-Sachs clutch, with a final drive ratio of 3.737.

Larger, fade-resistant brakes have also been incorporated into the hottest Colt, using 15-inch ventilated disc up front, 14-inch solid discs at the back, high-friction front pads, wider and thicker disc rotors and enlarged rear brake cylinders.

Stability and traction control devices make their debut in the Colt, bolstering the standard model’s ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

21 center imageMitsubishi has also massaged the MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension properties. The former receives a front tower strut brace and a 1mm thicker anti-roll bar, while both ends benefit from retuned dampers, high-friction seals and rebound springs added to the struts, revised spring rates, improved bump stops and more rigid lower arms and bushes.

Seven-spoke 16-inch x 6.5-inch alloy wheels shod with 205/45 R16 83W tyres aid the hatchback’s road stance. But a space-saver spare wheel is found in the boot.

A steering rack with an eight per cent gear ratio reduction rounds out Ralliart’s mechanical modifications over the standard RG Colt.

Under the skin there are 1.5 times the number of spot welds, for 30 per cent greater body rigidity than the already-strong standard Colt. Indeed, the Ralliart’s torsional rigidity is the best that Mitsubishi has ever mustered, exceeding even the Lancer Evo’s and resulting in significantly increased handling and responses.

Among the strengthening measures is a reinforced rear pillar, additional tandem cross bracing with the suspension to lessen horizontal movement of the front suspension crossmember (which in turn sharpens the steering), triangular bracing between the rear-floor crossmember and suspension spring, and the fitment of a rear damper gusset to the suspension’s mounting.

Occupants are likely to notice the Recaro front seats, leather-rimmed steering wheel, alloy pedals and MP3/CD audio.

Despite all this, the Ralliart weighs only 60kg more than the regular Colt manual, tipping the scales at 1130kg.

Around 80 sales per month are forecast, with about 40 of Mitsubishi’s 200 dealers selected to retail the Ralliart.

Mitsubishi says the Ralliart should draw buyers from a disparate range of hot hatches, ranging from the $26,990 Volkswagen Polo GTI to the $44,400 Mercedes A200 Turbo – a model that the Colt shares some DNA with through Mitsubishi’s now-severed DaimlerChrysler alliance.

Mitsubishi hopes that the Ralliart will do for the Colt range what the Evolution series has done for the Lancer small car.

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