26 February 2004

These are the first official pictures of the new Colt, the car that should supply Mitsubishi with serious hot hatch pedigree. Although the car pictured here is officially a concept called CZ3, insiders confirm it is ‘90 per cent’ of the finished three-door hatchback. In production form, it will be launched in early 2005, six months behind the five-door.

The deep front dam, boot spoiler and five-spoke alloys betray this car’s styling as that of the 150bhp 1.5-litre turbo version that will headline the range next year. It is expected to hit 60mph in 8.0sec on its way to a top speed of 130mph. A full line-up of 1.1-, 1.3- and 1.5-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines will be offered alongside the 1.5 turbo.

Although the five-door arrives first, Mitsubishi says the ‘real emotion’ comes with this three-door, styled with a more sporty appeal in mind.

Following the lead of Honda and Renault with the latest Civic and Mégane, Mitsubishi is launching two separately styled versions of the hatchback, rather than simply adding two doors to distinguish three- and five-door models. As a consequence, the CZ3 gets a more steeply angled windscreen, a roof 25mm lower, a higher waistline and new tailgate to distance the car from the mini-MPV-shaped five-door.

The finished production version of the Colt three-door will be shown at September’s Paris Motor Show. It will eventually be joined by a new Colt Evo, as scooped in Autocar two weeks ago.

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