We imagine what a modern Mitsubishi Celeste would look like

The ’70s icon reimagined for the 21st century
by Andrew Guerrero | Dec 21, 2019
PHOTO: Andrew Guerrero
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The Mitsubishi Celeste was one of the attractive ’70s-era coupes to be offered in the Philippines. Based on the first-gen Lancer platform, this Japanese three-door coupe blended European and American design themes to come up with its own distinct look. Sadly, this sporty compact from Mitsubishi lasted for only one generation and was replaced by the Cordia in the ’80s. Now, we at Top Gear PH are bringing this lost classic back to life—digitally, of course.

When we think of the classic Celeste, we imagine a sleek fastback coupe with a long hood. The shark-nose front end and the DLO or daylight opening are two other distinguishing features of the original. We wanted to keep all these styling cues, but of course, we had to integrate them with Mitsubishi’s current design language.

Up front, our modern Celeste features a tidier version of the sunken grille and headlights, with the LED daytime running lights recalling the original model’s chrome headlight bezels. These elements are seamlessly combined with the Japanese carmaker’s Dynamic Shield corporate fascia. Moving on to the sides, there are clean surfaces devoid of bulges or creases. The side windows, which are larger here and flush-mounted, are modern iterations of the original. The rear quarter-window louvers have been eliminated to clean up the styling and improve aerodynamics.

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At the back, the slim horizontal taillights are a tribute to the ones found on the original model. The lower bumper section and diffuser mirror the styling themes of the front end. The central dual-tip exhausts add a nice sporty touch.

While this move might be controversial for hardcore fans, we decided to use a modified FWD-based C-segment Mitsubishi platform that was designed to accommodate all-wheel drive. It features MacPherson struts up front and a multilink setup in the rear.

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To shed excess weight, the front hood is made of aluminum, while the front fenders and the radiator core support are made of plastic. The goal was to improve weight distribution and have less than 58% of the vehicle’s weight on the nose. Aluminum front and rear lower arms help reduce unsprung weight.

Under the hood is a high-output version of Mitsubishi’s 1.5-liter turbocharged MIVEC gasoline engine. In this form, the boosted four-banger pumps out an estimated 202hp and 271Nm of torque. There are two gearbox options: a six-speed manual transmission and a continuously variable transmission with eight virtual gears. Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system comes as standard.

Our modern Mitsubishi Celeste measures 4,400mm long, 1,804mm wide, and 1,334mm tall, and rides on a 2,591mm wheelbase. It comes with 18-inch alloys shod with 225/45 R18 rubber. Curb weight for the AWD manual variant is 1,370kg.

Our goal was to make the modern Celeste a roomier and more affordable all-wheel-drive alternative to the Toyota 86. It was designed to also go against other small coupes like the Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

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As you can see, we have a lot of spare time to think of these things. Like it?

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PHOTO: Andrew Guerrero
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