Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) engine to power the production “i” car

15 pictures

View gallery - 15 images

August 5, 2005 Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has developed two Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) aluminium cylinder block engines to power two new models slated for introduction in the domestic Japanese market later this year. The new Outlander SUV, due to debut in showrooms this October, is to be powered by a new 4-cylinder 2.4-liter MIVEC engine. The new-concept minicar i, scheduled to join the MMC lineup in January next year, will use a new 3-cylinder 660cc MIVEC engine. The Smart lookalike “i” concept car was shown at the Frankfurt motor Show in 2003 and was a crowd favourite. The new turbocharged 3-cylinder 660cc MIVEC engine delivers outstanding power and torque, fuel economy and emissions performance. The unit produces 47kW (64PS) and with the MIVEC variable valve timing system, it is expected to return significantly better fuel economy than the concept vehicle which achieved maximum 5-Star ratings (lowest environmental impact) in fuel consumption and emissions testing conducted in Europe in 2003. The engine for the vehicle at that stage was a one litre motor producing 50kW.

The two new MIVEC engines announced today have been developed with a common concept of more power, better fuel economy and reduced weight, size and cost.

The concept behind the technologies built into the two new MIVEC engines is also common to the A9-type engine jointly developed with DaimlerChrysler in 2004. The A9 engine currently powers Mitsubishi Colt and Colt Plus and enjoys high critical acclaim both in Japan and Europe. In addition to the core elements listed below, the new engines announced today incorporate other new and proprietary technologies.

    Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) Aluminum cylinder block 4-valve direct-drive valvetrain Timing chain Resin components (including intake manifold, head cover) Rear exhaust engine mounting layout

Both new MIVEC engines employ weight-reducing technologies such as the aluminum cylinder block to achieve a more than 10 percent weight reduction, which contributes to improved fuel economy and driving performance. Also, in order to assure high quality and reliability, these engines have been developed through strict development processes that conform to the MMDS (Mitsubishi Motors Development System) as well as the company's vehicle development processes.

The "i" car has been developed as a next-generation small car designed to bring fun and emotion into people's lives. It represents Mitsubishi Motors' latest solution to the universal small car theme of maximizing roominess within limited exterior dimensions.

The company is planning to introduce a small car incorporating the ideas introduced in the "i" concept model and adapted to Japanese market requirements in early 2006 and intends phasing in a similar model into some overseas markets soon after.

Design approach

Breaking with tradition, "i" presents a one-motion form that gives it a sporty look and offers a comfortable ride for its passengers. The design fully exploits the benefits of the new midship engine/rear wheel-drive platform in marrying together a spacious interior with a cheeky exterior appearance.

Exterior design

In its exterior design, "i" reflects MMC's Japanese Modern theme based on the essential qualities of a Japanese culture that has developed a world-class hi-tech industry founded on its traditional predisposition towards precision, detail and refinement. The highly endearing one-motion form cleverly incorporates advanced aerodynamics to successfully present a laid-back and sophisticated design that offers occupants safety, practicality and comfort as well as enhanced safety for pedestrians.

The design maximizes harmony between styling, packaging and aerodynamic performance. Shape optimization of the trailing edge of the roof, the rear spoiler, door mirrors, front and rear fenders and underbody result in a very slippery Cd of just 0.24.

Interior design

Inside, the focus was on engineering a "festival of light" to create a refined and pleasant airiness throughout this town-size vehicle, bringing light flooding in through the extensive glazing area. This effect is enhanced in the black keynote interior color scheme by the "hovering" dashboard styling and by the seats which are made of a transparent material. Illuminating the "information key" located in the middle of the sweeping curve of the dashboard, a green light strip glows discreetly to create a cozy and pleasant mood at night and add to the light and airy feeling of the interior.

Featuring a mini-display and memory, the "information key" communicates with the audio, car navigation, dealer servicing information and other on-board systems. When inserted into its bay in the center of the dashboard, the information key enables operation of a number of applications and functions. The memory card enables the owner to share audio and other data with his computer at home and select functions and information as and when required. This light-on-space system is easy on the eye as well as being easy and fun to operate.

Packaging

A new platform locates the engine under the rear seats to give "i" levels of living space, ride comfort and handling well above its compact, slightly larger than Kei-class (Japanese minicar category) dimensions. Powertrain "i" realizes ultra-low fuel consumption with a new gasoline engine mated to an advanced continuously variable transmission and using the Mitsubishi Smart Idling System-an automatic stop-start feature which switches the engine off when the car is stationary.

Body

The body uses an aluminum space-frame and floor pan, while the front hood, doors, outer panels, rear gate and other panels are formed from ultra-light plastics. A special hybrid laser welding process is used to bond together aluminum extrusions and die-cast and pressed sheet components to maximize strength in strategic areas.

Chassis

"i" uses McPherson struts and a De Dion axle-Watts link arrangement for its front and rear suspension respectively. The use of aluminum for the suspension members, lower control arms, steering knuckle, brake rotors and calipers reduces weight, while ceramic wheel bearing stubs reduce friction and improve drive efficiencies.

Crashworthiness

"i" realizes high levels of crashworthiness and pedestrian protection thanks to the midship engine/rear wheel-drive platform that provides an ample crumple zone and enables the use of straight frame rails which effectively absorb crash energy in a frontal impact. The front hood is also designed to provide optimum pedestrian protection.

View gallery - 15 images

Top stories

Recommended for you

Popular automotive pictures

Latest in Automotive

Editors Choice