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Gordon Murray gives CAR a guided tour of the T25 (2009)

By Guy Procter

Spy shots

28 August 2009 11:42

Gordon Murray’s radical new T25 city car will boast a rear-mounted 660cc variable-valve-timing Mitsubishi engine available in turbocharged and normally aspirated forms, the talismanic designer has revealed exclusively to CAR Online. It’s one of several details Murray revealed during an exclusive viewing of the T25, ahead of an official announcement next week about its unconventional seating arrangement.

The sub-600kg supermini will carry three people and more luggage than a Toyota iQ or Smart ForTwo while giving 80mpg and a dynamic drive Murray says rivals are missing.

Gordon Murray T25: the engine details

The T25 will use an all-aluminium, twin-cam, four-valve Mitsubishi motor weighing in at just 69kg and canted over at 45 degrees – a bike-like set of specs lifelong rider Murray says is no coincidence.

The T25 aims to be resemble a bike in its convenience, driver involvement and low impact on the cityscape and the environment. Not a car for environmental penitents, says Murray, but a joy machine. 'We had to give this car the dynamics and styling which make you want to drive it in the morning,' he told CAR. 'We’ve taken everything you would expect from a bike and put it in a very small footprint car.'

Bike-maker Yamaha was originally slated to design the motor before a change of plan put the Mitsu engine in contention.

Gordon Murray and the T25... and T26 and T27

Murray also revealed work is well under way on T26 and T27 – in the latter’s case a dramatically different vehicle with a different powertrain. Both will be built using the ‘iStream’ production system which does away with metal pressings. Murray says iStream is the real object of his project – under development since 1993 – not T25. 'We’re selling a manufacturing system, not a car,' he said. 'T25 is just one example of what you can build using iStream.'

So who will buy into Gordon Murray's new production method?

Potential licensees for iStream – which reduces the scale of production facilities by up to four-fifths – range from conventional car makers to governments, according to Murray.

'We’ve had 20 inquiries from 15 different countries; only seven are existing car producers,' he said. 'We’ve had governments saying "we need a car for our cities". But equally you could start seeing cars coming from brand owners like Apple or Virgin or Sony.'

Several of the interested parties have different vehicles with different powertrains in mind he added – including full electric iStream vehicles, and hybrids.

>> Click 'Next' to read more of our interview with Gordon Murray