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2001 Mitsubishi CZ3 Tarmac Concept

The 2001 Mitsubishi CZ3 Tarmac Concept was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, showcasing a design that aimed to capture the spirit of rally racing and draw inspiration from Mitsubishi's success in the World Rally Championship. With its aggressive and distinctive appearance, the CZ3 Tarmac was envisioned as a high-performance hot hatch suitable for rally competition.

Under the hood, the concept was equipped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. While the exact horsepower was not officially disclosed, sources suggested it to be around 220 HP, as noted in Gran Turismo. The power was sent to all four wheels, and the concept featured technologies like the Active Center Differential and Active Yaw Control systems, enhancing its capabilities for rallying.

In terms of transmission, the CZ3 Tarmac came with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), reflecting the automotive industry's experimentation with CVTs during that period. The interior of the concept aimed to convey a rally feel, with the shifter designed to resemble the one found in Mitsubishi's World Rally Championship (WRC) car. Additionally, a DVD player was integrated behind the infotainment screen.

The design of the CZ3 Tarmac featured rally-inspired elements, including elongated vertical headlights, subtly-surfaced sides, and a prominent lower grille emphasizing the intercooler. The five-spoke wheels showcased the styling trends of the era, contributing to the concept's overall sporty appearance.

Two years after the introduction of the CZ3 Tarmac, Mitsubishi presented a convertible variant known as the Tarmac Spyder. The Spyder featured a larger 2.0-liter engine, producing 300 HP, providing an additional performance-oriented option.

Despite the positive reception and ongoing tweaks to the concept, Mitsubishi ultimately did not proceed with the production of the CZ3 Tarmac. However, the concept's legacy lives on in the virtual realm, as it is featured in various Gran Turismo titles. Gran Turismo not only allows enthusiasts to virtually experience driving the CZ3 Tarmac but also includes a fantasy rally version of the concept with the 4G63 motor, paying homage to Mitsubishi's rally heritage.

In hindsight, the CZ3 Tarmac remains a symbol of Mitsubishi's rally fever and enthusiasts' appreciation for a rally-inspired hot hatch that never made it to the production line.

Source & Images: Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

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