click above for more high-res images of the Mitsubishi Prototype-S

Mitsubishi has given up the goods on what last week we referred to as the Lancer Sportback, but will go by the name of Prototype-S when it debuts this March at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. The car itself is basically a production version of the Concept-Sportback that debuted at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show, and Mitsubishi hints in its press release that the 5-door hatchback Lancer is destined for the European market.

Some details revealed that we didn't know last week include that the Prototype-S is powered by the same 2.0L turbo four-cylinder MIVEC engine that debuted earlier this month in the Lancer Ralliart. It produces 235 horsepower and 253 ft-lbs. of torque, which is routed through Mitsubishi's Twin Clutch SST transmission and sent to all four wheels via a full-time 4WD system using the automaker's Active Center Differential. The Prototype-S, therefore, is basically a hatchback body wrapped around the mechanicals of the Lancer Ralliart, a car with which we're already smitten. Add the practically of a fifth door and more cargo capacity, and we'd be looking to tussle with a Mazdaspeed3 or Caliber SRT-4 on our way home from the grocery store. Sure, those higher horsepower cars might beat us in a straight line, but eventually the curves will come.

[Source: Mitsubishi]



PRESS RELEASE:

Mitsubishi Motors to show Prototype-S sports hatchback concept at 2008 Geneva Show

Tokyo, January 28, 2008 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is to give the Prototype-S concept for a sports hatchback its global debut at the 78th Geneva International Motor Show which runs from March 4 through March 16 at the Geneva Palexpo exhibition and conference complex (opening to the general public on March 6.)

Deriving from MMC's sport sedan family, which includes the Lancer (named the Galant Fortis on the Japanese market) launched in 2007 and the Lancer Ralliart announced at the 2008 Detroit Motors Show and the Lancer Evolution (Lancer Evolution X in Japan) premiered at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, Prototype-S takes the form of a hatchback - a very popular body type in European markets.

Distinguished by the inverted-slant nose with trapezoidal grille front fascia that marks Mitsubishi Motors new design identity and with wide-and-low proportions that leave no doubt as to the concept underlying its design, Prototype-S uses exterior lines to craft a shape that is powerful and sporty even by European standards, echoing the acclaimed 2005 Concept-Sportback show car.

In its mechanical specification Prototype-S is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder DOHC MIVEC*1 intercooler / turbocharger engine [developing maxima of 177 kW (240 PS) and 343 Nm (35 kg-m)] mated to Mitsubishi Motors's high-efficiency Twin Clutch SST automated manual transmission that marries fun-to-drive control with outstanding fuel efficiency. The full-time 4WD driveline features Mitsubishi Motors' Active Center Differential (ACD) that uses an electronically controlled multi-plate hydraulic clutch to optimally tailor front/rear drive torque split to different driving conditions and deliver the best balance between steering response and traction.

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