Mitsubishi is very upfront about its intentions regarding the Lancer Prototype-S. No PR run-around, no testing-the-waters concept; we're looking at a preview of the Lancer Sportback.
A five-door hatchback Lancer will be launched later in the year, with the bulk of production making its way to Europe. Mitsubishi continues to fill out the Lancer line to match Subaru's Impreza and will now be able to go into hatch battle.
The Prototype-S will be unveiled at the 2008 Geneva show. It gets Evo-esque headlights and hood, a matte black grille treatment, and unique 19-inch five-spoke wheels. The rear borrows heavily from the 2005 Concept-Sportback with its color-matched spoiler and wraparound taillamps. Mitsubishi says the shape of the Prototype-S is supposed to mimic that of the Saab 900 Turbo Combi-Coupe.
The concept borrows the orange paint and, more importantly, the powertrain from the Lancer Ralliart. The not-quite-Evo, WRX-fighting sedan was introduced at the Detroit show with a 235 hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder. The engine's 253 lb-ft of torque are routed through Mitsu's dual-clutch SST gearbox and Active Center Differential feeding all four wheels.
We think the Sportback will be a more handsome alternative to Subaru's WRX hatch, even if it's not as practical.
Click the links below for high-resolution Prototype-S images, as well as coverage of the 2009 Lancer Ralliart and the Concept-Sportback.