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Mitsubishi Prototype-S at Geneva

Wed, 05 Mar 2008

By Jonny Smith

Motor Shows

05 March 2008 13:31

What’s new on the Mitsubishi Geneva motor show stand?

A whole family of Lancers. And finally, Lancers with strong memorable faces. The final (third) jewel playing centre stage in Mitsubishi’s crown is the Prototype-S. I know what you’re thinking – it looks like an Evo X hatch. You’re not wrong. It’s the Lancer Ralliart Sportback.

A lot more than Subaru it seems. Whereas the boxer-engined legend has abandoned its iconic saloon car status and opted for a slightly iffy looking hump-back, Mitsubishi keeps one foot in each camp by producing a full range of Lancer hatches alongside the saloons.

Design Manager of the Prototype-S Masaki Matsuhara explained ‘We know the hatchback market is bigger in Europe so we designed a sporty Lancer for these consumers, not for Japanese sales. It is positioned between Lancer and the Evo X and is the same car up to the C-pillar’ With a forecasted 70 per-cent Lancer sales being hatches and prices starting from £12,500, this is an important car for them and an exciting one for us.

The proposed price tag is especially appealing: £21,000 with the trick dual clutch SST sequential ‘box. Not bad when the Evo with the same trans will cost £32k. So, a larger capacity hatchback version of the Evo with slightly less techy 4WD (it won’t have the ‘Super’ ECU that sits over the other AWC systems) and the same turbo engine detuned to ‘only’ 240ps. Rest assured ECU tomfoolery can bring power figures up to Evo X levels. Mitsubishi Japan are meanwhile chewing over the notion of a hatch FQ bruiser.

The Evo X for hardcore followers of the Evo bloodline and the Lancer Ralliart Sportback for the better value, more family orientated buyer. Question is, which one will make WRC status? We say hatch.

Clever thinking by the geezers at the three-diamond German HQ. Bar the fancy LED headlights and big rims this is going into production. Roll on September 1st...


By Jonny Smith