16 September 2004

Mitsubishi will launch this 150bhp Colt CZT hot hatch in March next year to take on rivals from Mini and Citroën. The hottest Colt yet promises a 0-62mph time of eight seconds and a top speed of 130mph – faster than both a Mini Cooper and a Citroën C2 VTS.

Providing the power is a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, with 154lb ft of torque at 3500rpm, driving the front wheels via a five-speed ’box. Mitsubishi’s MIVEC variable-valve timing system features on the twin-cam, 16-valve design, which is built in Japan. It’s a completely different engine to the European-built 1.5-litre that powers lesser Colt models.

Lowered sports suspension ties the CZT down via 205/45R16 rubber and 10-spoke alloys, which are unique to the model. Stability and traction control will be standard equipment.

A bodykit adds an extra edge to the chunky looks of the three-door Colt, which sits on the same 2500mm wheelbase as the five-door, but has a 60mm shorter rear overhang and a 30mm lower roofline. As a result the centre of gravity, a pointer towards cornering stability, is 30mm lower.

Key ingredients are a new airdam, rear wing, side skirts, wheel arch extensions and sports exhaust. Inside, there’s a leather-rimmed wheel, sports seats, drilled alloy pedals and white-faced instruments.

Prices are tipped to start at under £13k, which will make the CZT around £800 more than a Cooper or C2 VTS, but £3000 cheaper than a Cooper S.

Mitsubishi plans to take on the Cooper S later next year with an even hotter CZT, tipped to match the Mini’s 170bhp. It won’t be badged as an Evo, though: Mitsubishi will be keeping that name for its rally-bred Lancer.

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