After two terrific generations of the Mitsubishi Eclipse, the third iteration and onward were big letdowns. Not only was the 3G based on the Chrysler Sebring, but it also lacked the turbo, all-wheel-drive GSX that made the Eclipse a tuning icon. However, Mitsubishi showed us what it could've done with the gorgeous 4G with a forgotten, Lancer Evolution-powered concept car that could've kept the Eclipse relevant.
Built for the 2005 SEMA Show, the Eclipse Ralliart Concept was based on the then-new 2006 Eclipse, whose top drivetrain was a naturally aspirated V6 paired with a six-speed manual. It may have made a solid 263 horsepower, but it was a far cry from the towering, 1,800-hp potential of the turbo 4G63 in the first two Eclipses. So, that's what went in the Ralliart Concept.
For its show car, Mitsubishi added the almighty 4G63T, a six-speed manual, and the all-wheel-drive system directly from the Lancer Evolution. Going by the valve cover, it all came from the fixed-timing Evo VIII, not the MIVEC variable valve timing-equipped Evo IX. It had a "custom" intake and a plethora of performance parts from HKS, bringing output to an "estimated" 400 hp.
It was drastically lightened too, with carbon fiber hood, roof, front and rear fascias, and front fenders. Even the 20-inch wheels were carbon fiber. Don't forget: this was 2005, and wheels made of the stuff are still so expensive that they're only seen on the priciest performance cars today. It boggles the mind to imagine what they must've cost then.
Inside, the Ralliart Concept got Recaro bucket seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara, plus four-point harnesses. And, not that you'd need it much, but it also had Rockford Fosgate audio, one of the biggest names in the biz at the time.
On the basis of performance, the Eclipse Ralliart looks like it may have been more than a match for the first-gen Audi TT RS, which didn't debut until 2009. Unfortunately, it's not a comparison we'll ever be able to make directly, as the car obviously never reached production. What happened to the concept isn't known, and the Eclipse nameplate was eventually wasted on a crossover. The closest we'll ever get to driving the Eclipse Ralliart Concept is by tracking down a copy of Colin McRae Dirt 2, which featured it as a drivable car. Maybe it could make its way into the new Dirt sequel, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.
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