Hot Mitsubishi sports car bound for UK

Published: 01 September 2006

Mitsubishi is investigating the feasibility of bringing its 350Z-rivalling Eclipse to the UK.

Accountants are busy with the calculators right now but sources reckon it’s looking increasingly likely that both the 2+2 coupe and convertible will be in UK showrooms by early next year. A 2.4-litre 162bhp four backed by a five-speed gearbox kicks off the range, supplemented by a 263bhp 3.8-litre V6. Both send their power to the front wheels only through a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes. Expect to pay £22K for a 2.4 coupe and £30K plus for a full house V6 cabrio.

As this is a UK-only venture and likely to result in only 500 cars crossing the Atlantic each year, full European Type approval would be too expensive. Instead the cars will be registered using the Single Vehicle Type Approval scheme Mitsubishi currently uses to bring in Evos from Japan. But as the American-built coupes and convertibles only come with the steering wheel mounted on the left and the numbers of cars likely to come to the UK are too small to persuade the factory to tool up for right-hook production, the cars will be converted to right-hand drive in the UK by a recognised but unnamed specialist A pair of cars – one coupe, one cabrio – is with the specialist now. If the converted cars meet Mitsubishi UK's standards and the numbers add up, the project should get the green light.

Also waiting for a UK green light is the iCar city car that Mitsubishi UK is keen to import. Britain is still waiting for Japan to give the nod but if that happens Mitsubishi will bring 500 cars over at £8999 a go.

 

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker

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