Click above for high-res gallery of Lancer Sportback Ralliart
Rounding out the Mitsubishi Lancer line this year is the new Lancer Sportback, also in extra spicy Ralliart flavor. It's everything you love about the Lancer plus the space, versatility and convenience of a wagon – the first time since the '80s you'll be able to have your cake and haul it, too. If it weren't for the spoiler, which is aptly called the "rear wing", and the subwoofer in the trunk, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was just another cool little wagon. But thanks to the Lancer Ralliart's turbocharged 2.0L MIVEC engine producing 237 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque and Twin-Clutch SST transmission, you'll soon be able to get those groceries with gusto. And it's the only wagon we know of with an access hatch to the central differential. All the details can be found in Mitsubishi's official press release after the jump, and live shots of the Lancer Sportback and Sportback Ralliart can be viewed in our high-res gallery below.
Lancer Sportback & Lancer Ralliart
- Driving Force -
A rewarding journey through time, the 2008 Paris Motor Show – or "Mondial de L'Automobile" is a cornerstone event for Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, celebrating (35th anniversary of the Lancer nameplate, 30 years of presence in France) and looking forward to the future at the same time.
Drive @ Earth
Indeed, the Mitsubishi stand gives visitors a chance to appreciate the Brand's mid-term passenger car strategy for Europe - bringing sporting heritage together with green designs under the banner of its new global tagline.
Through "Drive@earth", MMC has wished to express this dual consistency into a statement that will embody its century-old values and commitment for tomorrow; into a new tagline that will put into words its renewed corporate mission at a global level:
- "Drive" for Mitsubishi's traditional focus on driving dynamics & pleasure as well as mobility.
- "@" for the essential "domain" we live in.
- "earth" for source, life and the unique variety of landscapes our planet offers to discover.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation sets as its ideal the synergy between dynamic and environmental performance, and will continue to develop technologies that show as much care and pleasure for the environment outside as for the occupants within, from the zero-emission i MiEV electric vehicle, all the way to new diesel technologies showcased with its new 2009 Dakar entry, the all-new Racing Lancer.
Core -- in form and content -- to Mitsubishi Motors's mid-term development is the all-new "Project Global" Lancer family and especially the two variants to star at the Paris Motor Show: Lancer Sportback (World premiere) and Lancer Ralliart (European premiere).
Connecting the strategic dots between Lancer Sports Sedan and Lancer Evolution, these two new Lancers become the driving force of Mitsubishi Motors passenger car offensive in the heart of the European market (target of 50% conquest sales), leading to a market coverage increased from the current 30% all the way to 50%:
- Lancer Sportback:
• The most "European" Lancer (Sportback = 70% of the Lancer volume in the region / Europe = 70% of the global Lancer Sportback volume).
• A unique "sports hatch" format offering a very different take at the traditional 5-door hatchback - in line with Mitsubishi's sporty positioning.
- Lancer Ralliart:
• A bridge between Lancer and Lancer Evolution to re-create a complete "family" of sporting Lancers for the first time since the late 80's.
• The tool to deliver Mitsubishi's sporting genes and heritage to a much broader audience, in this case clearly exhibiting and connecting such characteristics and values of Lancer Evolution positioned above it with Lancer Sports Sedan and Lancer Sportback below.
Supporting the "Drive@earth" ethos in the C/D segment, Lancer (Sports Sedan and Sportback) will become next year the first recipient of Mitsubishi's proprietary 4N13 engine: an all-new Euro 5 compliant powerplant developed with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and to be launched during the Spring of 2009 in Europe.
Lancer Sportback: Sports Hatch
Essentially a "productionized" version of the acclaimed 2005 Concept-Sportback show car, Lancer Sportback was designed for Europe where the 5-door format is so popular (75% of the C-segment, EU-Top 5 figures), albeit in a sports hatch form that would suit Mitsubishi' positioning better rather than the traditional and purely functional hatchback shape.
At 458.5 cm (vs. 457 cm for Lancer Sports Sedan), it combines style and presence with (enough) flexibility (adjustable cargo floor height, rear seats auto-folding function,...) rather than pursuing the biggest interior volume (from 288 l – or 344 l when cargo floor is in the low position - to 1,394 l – VDA measures).
Mirroring Lancer Sportback's aspirations, its sporty wedge-like profile, sharply chiselled lines, assertive stance born from long wheelbase / wide track proportions, its high-shouldered rear end and its very expressive rear roof spoiler will embody Mitsubishi's vision for a flexible sports hatch in the C/D sector, away from the traditional hatchbacks.
Sharks & Jets
As a result, in terms of design, Lancer Sportback introduces a further variation of Mitsubishi's trademark "Jet Fighter" grille (full shape, matt black finish, chrome surround).
First used in twin grille form with Lancer Sports Sedan, the "Jet Fighter" front face introduces a sharp new visual identity for the Brand, as proved with the next generation Colt unveiled alongside in Paris.
Present from the very early stages of Lancer's design development in 2003, the so-called Jet Fighter grille takes its inspiration from the air intake of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.'s F-2 close support jet fighters (http://www.mhi.co.jp/en/products/detail/f-2_close_support_fighter.html).
At the rear, it follows the same design theme explored in 2005 with Concept-Sportback with a very fast lift-gate surmounted by Sportback's distinctive "roof wing" (color-keyed and standard for all variants).
Indeed, just as its notchback siblings, Lancer Sportback is meant to be as distinctive from the rear as from the front, adding a dash of flexibility and distinction to their well-received shape:
- Here as well, the solid structure of the side shoulder sweeps from the headlamps all the way back into the very fast lift-gate (58 °) surmounted by Sportback's signature (and standard) "roof wing".
- Attached either side of the backlight, this open wing creates a stable flow in the wake region: as a result, the aerodynamic drag and rear lift are reduced by preventing vortex generation on the tailgate.
In-between, the clean, creased surfaces of the front sweep into the side profile, with its dynamic daylight opening and high, wedged, belt-line. Running from the protracted inverted-slant nose, the silhouette then flows over the smooth roof line and the truncated rear end.
Carefully positioned to achieve an aesthetic balance with the tallish stance of the car, the high-set belt line imparts a tension and a dynamic sense of energy to contrast with the panel surfaces and the mix of light and shadow they project.
Combined with the distinctive shark nose, the long wheelbase, the large and rounded wheel arches and the fastback tail, the overall "wedge" effect is of a road-hugging stance that hints at the car's dynamics.
Adding to that effect, the prominently flared fenders recall the brand's rally heritage and, particularly on the Ralliart versions and on the highest trim levels of Sportback emphasize the 18-inch alloy wheels in the overall sleek side silhouette.
Elongated rear combination lamps widen the stance of the car as they warp around the rear fenders. A feature on their own, they sign a neat bumper/fender shut line that runs exactly parallel to the rear door opening.
The right size
Developed from the outset as a full-fledged 5-door sports hatch, Lancer Sportback offers a very well balanced profile adding further credibility to its "aspirational" positioning.
At 458.5 cm (i.e.: 1.5 cm longer than Lancer Sports Sedan) though, it sits de facto right in-between the European C- and D-segments offering an appealing blend of sporty styling and roomy interior all within reasonable dimensions.
This packaging takes into account European and US markets, with ample overall width and height without any undue stretching of overall length resulting for instance in an effective use of the interior space with for instance, an overall interior length is of 171.5 cm.
Furthermore, fulfilling the flexibility brief of the sports hatch format, Lancer Sportback offers:
- 60:40-split rear seats to create a flexible full flat cargo area (minimum length: 137.9 cm).
- Adjustable cargo floor height allowing the choice between maximum cargo capacity or flat load floor when both rear seats are folded.
- Cargo capacity ranges from 344 l (w/o subwoofer) to 1,394 l with both rear seats folded (VDA measures).
- One-touch rear seats auto-folding function, similar to the system used in Outlander.
- Closed companion boxes either side of the trunk (except when sub-woofer is mounted).
- Access hatch to Active Center Differential maintenance oil for added convenience and better looks.
Using a name first seen on a Mitsubishi Motors product in the United States in 2003, Lancer Sportback will be launched in Europe during the Fall of 2008, sharing most of its drivetrain with the 4-door Lancer Sports Sedan.
This includes a range of 2 engines (1.8 / 143ps and 2.0 Diesel / 140ps), 4 gearboxes (5 M/T, 6 M/T, 4 A/T, "stepped" 6 speed CVT) as well as a finely tuned chassis:
- Front suspension: MacPherson struts, coil springs and flat shaped stamped and highly rigid steel cross member.
- Rear suspension: multi-link independent set-up.
- Available sport-tuned chassis:
• Thicker stabilizer bars (+1 mm, from 20mm to 21mm),
• Different spring/shock damping rates,
• Front tower strut bar to enhance lateral rigidity for precise steering response,
• 18-inch wheels fitted to 215/45 R18 tires (availability according to models & markets).
- Properly weighted hydraulic power rack-and-pinion steering system with the added benefit of a tight turning circle (5.0 m).
- Braking system: 15'' front discs & 14'' rear discs, complemented by ABS, EBD, MASTC (ESP + T/C) and Brake Assist (availability according to models & markets).
Full safety package
Competent on road, the new Lancer Sportback – like all Lancers - also provides its occupants with a safe environment in case of an accident through one of the most comprehensive safety packages in the segment including a full set of up to an equivalent of 9 airbags (availability according to models & markets):
- 2 advanced dual front airbags for the driver and front passenger with occupant sensors, their inflation pressure being controlled to match the severity of the impact.
- 2 Standard front seat-mounted side-impact airbags,
- 2 Side curtain airbags, (Note: curtain airbags can be counted as 4 as they protect front passengers and rear passengers, this brings the 7 actual airbags to an equivalent of 9).
- 1 Driver's knee airbag deploying in the initial stage of an impact to protect the lower limbs. By restricting the movement of the lower body, it increases the effectiveness of the seatbelt pre-tensioner and of the airbag.
As a reminder, Lancer was engineered with a target of 5 EURO-NCAP stars (tested internally).
Lancer Ralliart: the missing link...
For its 35th anniversary, the new Lancer family comes to terms with its heritage, not only with its overall product concept and the integration of Evolution, but also and quite essentially with the introduction of the two Ralliart variants.
A bridge between the Lancers and Lancer Evolution, Lancer Ralliarts is more accessible than Lancer Evolution but more potent than Lancer Sports Sedan / Lancer Sportback, transcending the sporting genes and heritage of the name, to the benefit of a (full) Lancer family, for the first time since the 80's.
In its technology and execution, Lancer Ralliart sits in-between Lancer Sportback / Lancer Sports Sedan and Lancer Evolution:
- Design: Lancer bodies (steel) & wheels but fitted with a Lancer Evolution aluminium hood, complete with twin vents and NACA duct, saving 7.9 kg.
- Engine: Detuned version of Lancer Evolution's new 4B11 2.0 l Turbo MIVEC engine: 240 ps @ 6000 rpm and 353 Nm @ 3000 rpm (vs. 295 ps @ 6,500 rpm and 366 Nm @ 3,500 rpm)
- Gearbox: Similar to Lancer Evolution's dual clutch TC-SST unit but minus the Super Sport mode.
- Chassis: Permanent 4-Wheel Drive system ("AWC") but of a less sophisticated nature than Lancer Evolution's (no Active Yaw Control, no Sport ABS).
- Brakes: Upgraded Lancer system with twin pot front ventilated discs, bigger master cylinder,...
Available in 4- and 5-door bodystyles, Lancer Ralliart will be launched in Europe during the course of 2009.
Both Lancer Sportback and Lancer Ralliart offer excellent value for money with an extensive equipment list including features such as (availability according to models & markets):
- 650 W Rockford FosgateTM premium audio system
- 40 GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD) 7-inch LCD monitor on-board navigation
- BluetoothTM-enabled hands-free phone kit
- Auto-light control & rain-sensitive auto wipers
- Adaptive front lighting system
- Electronic Total Automobile Control System ("ETACS")
- Emergency Stop Signal System (Sportback and Sportback Ralliart)