Thursday, August 16, 2007

2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Caught Before Its 2008 Debut

Spy Video: 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

Date posted: 08-15-2007

The often talked about, but never seen 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. Forget what you might remember about the previous Lancer Ralliart, as this new version will offer more than just a revised suspension and a modest horsepower increase.

Prototypes spotted in the mountains of Colorado and the deserts of Death Valley reveal only modest changes to the Ralliart's styling. Slightly more aggressive bodywork, larger wheels and tires, and dual exhaust pipes are the most obvious changes.

Under the hood, we expect the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart will get a turbocharged version of Mitsubishi's latest 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an output of around 220 to 230 horsepower. The proximity to the 224 hp generated by the Subaru Impreza WRX is no coincidence, as Mitsubishi is directly targeting Subaru's highly successful midlevel performance.

The dual-clutch gearbox being introduced by Mitsubishi for the Lancer Evolution isn't likely to find its way into the Ralliart, however, so expect to see either a five- or six-speed manual gearbox.

Further evidence of Mitsubishi's aim to unseat the WRX is the Ralliart's use of all-wheel drive. Yes, unlike previous Ralliart models that were saddled with only front-wheel drive, this Ralliart will send power to all four of its wheels. Expect a slightly less advanced version of the Lancer Evolution's AWD system in order to keep costs down.

With the debut of the Lancer Evolution scheduled for October, the official unveil of the Ralliart model shouldn't be far behind.

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