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Melbourne show: Lancer Ralliart lobs

Cult-car: Turbo-AWD Ralliart Lancer aims directly at Subaru's WRX.

The red-hot Ralliart version of Mitsubishi’s new Lancer hits town as Evo taste test

29 Feb 2008

MITSUBISHI’S first bona-fide WRX hunter since the Lancer GSR disappeared in July 1996 made its Australian public debut today, with the turbocharged, all-wheel drive Lancer Ralliart appearing at the Melbourne International Motor Show this morning, direct from its world premiere at the Detroit motor show in January.

Due on sale here in the third quarter of this year, priced around $40,000 to compete directly with Subaru’s cult-hero and other hot-hatches like the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Lancer Ralliart is the final piece in Mitsubishi’s new small sedan line-up.

It was displayed in Melbourne alongside Mitsubishi’s compact Concept-cX SUV, which made its world debut at last September’s Frankfurt motor show and is powered by a new 1.8-litre clean diesel engine with variable-geometry turbo technology.

While the new Evolution X flagship will top the redesigned CJ Lancer four-door range in April as the Impreza STi’s renewed nemesis, the more affordable Ralliart variant will provide a bridge between it and the mainstream ES, VR and VRX versions launched in Australia in October from $20,990.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited president and CEO Robert McEniry also confirmed that the all-new Lancer hatch, which will be previewed by the five-door Lancer Sportback at the Geneva motor show next week, will go on sale in Australia within 12 months.

MMAL said the Japanese-specification Lancer Ralliart’s new 2.0-litre DOHC MIVEC intercooled and turbocharged four-cylinder, which is a detuned version of the Lancer Evo’s more potent turbo four, produces 177kW and 343Nm.

21 center imageLeft: Concept-cX

Australian specifications are yet to be revealed, but the new engine is likely to be mated exclusively to Mitsubishi’s Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST) automated manual transmission here.

There’s also a less sophisticated version of the Evo’s all-wheel drive system, which in Ralliart guise still comprises Mitsubishi’s multi-plate clutch-operated Active Centre Differential (ACD), plus helical front and mechanical rear limited-slip differentials.

In the US, the Ralliart Lancer will be fitted with luxury items including keyless start and Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, while options include Recaro seats, Rockford Fosgate premium sound system and Xenon headlights.

As we reported last month, the Ralliart is differentiated from lesser Lancers by an exclusive front bumper, a prominent air-intake in the aluminium bonnet, a rear air-dam, dual exhaust outlets, bootlid spoiler specific badging, unique trim and 18-inch alloy wheels that differ from the Lancer VRX’s.

“The all new Lancer Ralliart will provide our customers with another option in the small sedan line-up,” said Mr McEniry. “They will get a tougher version of the street-model Lancer’s looks, with the pick of the Lancer Evolution’s performance and technology features, all at an attractive price point.

“The Lancer sedan family just keeps getting better and better,” Mr McEniry said. “Our standard Lancer sedans have benchmark levels of safety and great looks, and the all-new Lancer Evolution promises a stellar performance experience when it arrives here in just a few months.

“Add to that this newest variant, the Lancer Ralliart which will provide outstanding sports driving at a very attractive purchase price, and the Lancer range looks very appealing indeed,” he said.

Read more:

Detroit show: Lancer Ralliart breaks cover

First look: Mitsu's smaller new city SUV

First pics: Ralliart power for Lancer hatch

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