Mitsubishi picked an elegant way to signal its intention to sell more diesel models in the US; its Concept-RA unveiled today in Detroit is a slinky two-seater coupe that's more likely to turn heads for its sharp looks than its 2.2-litre turbodiesel. It also points to the new Eclipse, which could come to Europe next time round.
The sports car is one of the best-looking concepts shown by Mitsubishi for ages, its bright red paintwork contrasted by matt black finish on certain functional body parts, including the top of the engine which actually forms part of the bonnet. Typically monstrous 21-inch wheels and butterfly doors add a dose of motor-show magic to proceedings, too.
Concept-RA: a diesel evangelist
Powering Concept-RA is a state-of-the-art Mitsubishi 2.2 diesel, mustering a sturdy 310lb ft for rapid performance. The message Stateside from the Japanese car maker was a vision of high performance through such powerful engines, combined with the promise of 40mpg.
Is the Concept-RA is destined to remain a show car? We reckon its low-slung looks are rather fetching - and its Evo-derived four-wheel-drive chassis sounds promising in a cutting-edge diesel coupe. The good news is that it points to the new Eclipse coupe, a US market model that the Europeans are petitioning for. UK boss Jim Tyrrell has said he would like to import it here, so watch this space.
They say: 'The Concept-RA is aggressive, even intimidating.'
We say: Great-looking car let down by such 1980s type marketing drivel
CAR verdict: 4/5