Melbourne 2008: Mitsubishi Panther concepts claw at good taste

Click image for a hi-res gallery of the Mitsubishi "Panther" Concepts

In addition to bringing the good stuff (Lancer Evo, Ralliart) to Melbourne, Mitsubishi has some schlock on hand to counterbalance the awesome. We're talking about the automaker's "Panther" concepts, which leverage bling, decals, and that whole "dealer-installed accessory" vibe to create all-show/no-go machines of questionable taste. We find those "panther scratch" stickers to be particularly egregious -- they'd look right at home on a busted-up Paseo with 15-inch spinner hubcaps. Check out the attached gallery to see what you like most or least about the five Panther concepts. We think the Pajero fares the best of the bunch, and while we'd love to have the Triton pickup in general, we could do without the 22-inch cartoon wheels and graphics. The other three victims are the Colt (not too bad), Grandis minivan (above) and Lancer ES, whose Panther makeover begs the question, why do this when you can simply buy a GTS? They may wear the name of a predator, but these "Panthers" look like they'd be happier noshing on Friskies than fresh meat. Mitsubishi's excuse explanation for them follows after the jump.

[Source: Mitsubishi]

Mitsubishi Panthers On The Prowl At The Melbourne International Motor Show

Finished in striking black duco and trademark "claw" detail, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited's (MMAL) Panther concepts are ready to pounce on the Melbourne International Motor Show.

Under the Panther design concept, some of Mitsubishi's best-known models have revealed their darker sides. The Colt hatch, Lancer sedan, Grandis people mover, Triton ute and Pajero 4x4 three-door have been transformed into uncompromising streetwise machines.

Lowered ride height gives all of the Panthers a sporty, aggressive stance and each car receives specific additional equipment to create a unique look.

Mitsubishi's all-new Lancer looks the part with 20-inch chrome wheels, side skirts, fog lamps, scuff plates and chrome exhaust tip in addition to the custom Panther paintwork and decals.

Even more powerful is the Triton concept, with 22-inch chrome wheels and a larger-than-life hard tonneau cover, front bumper extender, rear bumper extender with fog lamp, chrome upper grille surround, upper and lower mesh, chrome head and tail lamp bezels, and scuff plates.

The three-door Pajero also receives 22-inch chrome wheels and lowered ride height, as well as a powerful body kit, illuminated scuff plates, exhaust tip and spare wheel tyre cover.

Mitsubishi's popular light car, the Colt, receives 16-inch alloy wheels, a unique body kit and scuff plates, while the Grandis VRX adds 16-inch alloy wheels and lowered ride height to its standard body kit.

MMAL President and Chief Executive Officer Robert McEniry said he was thrilled with the way the Panthers had turned out.

"They really enhance the basic design of the vehicles and are sure to attract a lot of interest from visitors to the show," he said.

Each Panther vehicle combines both locally and overseas sourced components, and selected accessories are available from Mitsubishi dealers nationally.

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