Last year, Mitsubishi showed the world the world's first rally-MPV. We have to admit that it's a novel and amusing project, but what we wanted to see is for it to take on a rally stage. Unfortunately, the pandemic has delayed its competition debut, which was supposed to be this year.
But it seems Mitsubishi Motors Indonesia and Ralliart New Zealand, the folks behind this awesome project, have gotten bored of waiting to drive their newest rally car. Instead of letting it collect dust and wait for the rallying season to restart, they hit the dirt to shake it down.
We can't say for sure how it performed, but the sight of a Mitsubishi Xpander going sideways is amusing, to say the least. It was kicking up dust the way you expect a rally car would, and it sounded pretty awesome while doing those skids too. Jumps were no problem for it either, and we can't wait for the Xpander AP4 to compete around rally stages in Asia. Besides, how many MPVs can claim they can hit the rally course?
To prepare the Xpander for rally competition, Ralliart New Zealand changed just about everything in the MPV. Everything that makes the Xpander practical was chucked out. Gone are the two rear rows of seats, air-conditioning, and the dashboard, all for the sake of weight reduction. The body was then reinforced with additional welds to cope with the demands of rally racing. Then there's the multi-point roll cage bolted straight on to the chassis. This Xpander won't be carrying an extended family of seven any time soon.
This Xpander has the heart of a Lancer Evolution X with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine under its lightweight hood. On top of that, the Xpander AP4 gets the Evolution X's all-wheel-drive system along with 355 PS and 556 Nm of torque coursing through those axles. To put things into perspective, the Xpander AP4 has more than thrice the power of the MPV that's sitting in showrooms. Here's an even more awesome factoid about this rally car: it has nearly four times the torque of a garden-variety Xpander.
As amazing as these stats are, there's one thing that makes us rather sad. In the past, automakers were required to make road-going versions of the cars they want to enter in competitions. That's why we ended up with cars such as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Subaru WRX STI, and Toyota Celica GT-Four. Unfortunately, those rules are no longer in place, so a production version of the rally Xpander won't ever see the light of day.
Still, it's wishful thinking to have a 350 PS, 7-seat MPV with all-wheel drive just ready to be driven off the dealership. But at least this proves that Mitsubishi still knows a thing or two when it comes to building rallying machines.