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First pics: Ralliart power for Lancer hatch

Force-fed: Geneva concept employs Ralliart Lancer's new turbo four.

Ralliart-powered Prototype-S concept heralds a range of WRX fighters from Mitsubishi

27 Feb 2008

MITSUBISHI released a sketch of its latest Lancer hatch-previewing concept a month ago, and now the real deal has been revealed prior to its world public debut at the Geneva motor show on March 4.

The five-door Prototype-S is based on the new Lancer sedan and heralds a slick new lift-backed, Evo-nosed look for Mitsubishi's next-generation small hatch, due on sale here later this year.

Underneath, as we've reported, it also employs the same full-time all-wheel drive system and the same new turbocharged 177kW/343Nm 2.0-litre engine and twin-clutch transmission combination that lurks beneath the Ralliart Lancer sedan, which debuted at last month's Detroit motor show and also goes on sale here this year.

21 center imageLike their engine, which is essentially a lower-performance version of the new Evo's "4B11" MIVEC-DOHC turbo four, the Ralliart Lancer and Prototype-S offer an AWD system that's not quite as clever as the flagship Lancer's, as the Evo's S-AWC system includes active yaw control.

Similarly, just as there's no sign yet of a hatchback Evo to go with the new Lancer Evolution sedan due for launch here in April, Subaru says it will not produce a sedan version of its new Impreza STi hatch.

What Geneva's Ralliart-powered Lancer hatch indicates, however, is that Mitsubishi is likely to not only offer garden-variety versions of its front-drive Lancer in both sedan and hatch guise, but that there will be turbo-AWD versions of both the four-door and five-door Lancer.

With Subaru's new Impreza sedan also set join the MkIII hatch on sale in 2008, Mitsubishi's Lancer will match the Impreza model-for-model for the first time, including the WRX.

As for the Prototype-S show car, it features even bigger (19-inch) wheels and (215/45-section) tyres than even the Evo's 18-inch items, the same Twin-Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST) that will be standard on the flagship MR-spec Evo.

Like the entry-level Evo, the Ralliart Lancer should come standard with a five-speed manual transmission, with the TC-SST automated manual available as an option.

Vital Prototype-S (Lancer hatch) statistics include an overall length of 4585mm (15mm longer than the Lancer sedan), an identical width of 1760mm, height of 1480mm (10mm lower) and the same 2635mm wheelbase.

Read more:

First look: Mitsubishi's new Lancer hatched

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