Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) today announced the world debut of the all-new, 2008 Lancer compact sedan, which reaches dealerships in March, and Prototype X, a concept vision of the next-generation Lancer Evolution that will become available in the first quarter of 2008. In addition, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), announced plans to develop a next-generation common rail turbo-diesel engine, which is planned for launch in the new Lancer in 2010.
The new Lancer, Prototype X and the upcoming Lancer Evolution are all built on an all-new performance-engineered global platform that debuted with the 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV. The inherent robustness and versatility of the platform allow Mitsubishi to build a diverse array of models with it going forward, with each one retaining a unique performance character.
The 2008 Lancer will deliver driven-to-thrill dynamics, “class-up” value, advanced safety and available cutting-edge user-technology in an aggressively styled machine. Lancer’s comprehensive safety package provides seven standard air bags, including the first driver’s knee air bag in a Mitsubishi model.
Under its dramatic skin, Prototype X showcases an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a new high performance all-wheel-drive system called Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC). Prototype X also previews a new paddle-shift automated manual transmission that will be offered in the Lancer Evolution for the first time.
The new-generation Lancer is powered by a new 2.0-liter DOHC MIVEC 4-cylinder engine, with 152 hp at 6,000 rpm (Federal Tier II, Bin 5 emissions) and 146 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,250 rpm. (For states that require it, the PZEV-certified Lancer offers 143 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 143 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,250 rpm.) The 2008 Lancer is available in three levels of trim and driving dynamics: DE, ES and the sport-tuned GTS. The Lancer ES model projects a refined appearance with 5-spoke 16-in. alloy wheels, color-keyed door handles and mirrors and a chrome grille surround. Styling is even more stand-out on the GTS styling than on other Lancer models, with 10-spoke 18-in. alloy wheels, front and side air dams, standard fog lights, a rear spoiler and a chrome tailpipe tip.
All Lancer models come with a standard crisp-shifting 5-speed manual transmission. The new-generation Lancer is the first Mitsubishi in North America to offer an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) in place of a conventional automatic transmission. When equipped with the CVT, the Lancer GTS exclusively features a 6-step Sportronic® mode that allows the driver to manually control transmission operation using magnesium steering wheel paddle shifters – a first in the segment.
The new Lancer is built on a longer wheelbase and wider track – but with a slightly shorter overall length than the previous model. A 2.3-inch increase in both the front and rear track dimensions – now 60.2 in. – sets the stage for the new Lancer’s solid, stable handling capability. Wheelbase was lengthened to 103.7 in. from 102.3 in, and overall width is increased from 66.7 in to 69.4 in. Overall length, however, has been reduced by 0.6-in., giving the new Lancer a more road-hugging attitude that is especially evident with the GTS model’s standard 18-in. wheels.
Mitsubishi refined the new Lancer’s suspension calibration to deliver an international driving character more commonly found in expensive European sport sedans. Front suspension employs strut tower bars that enhance lateral rigidity for precise steering response. The Lancer’s sophisticated new multi-link rear suspension is a major factor in providing ride and handling characteristics that might be expected from a more expensive vehicle. Lancer DE and ES models feature standard 16-in. wheels (steel on DE, alloy on ES) with 205/60 R16 tires.
The 2008 Lancer GTS – with the standard 5-speed manual transmission or the optional CVT – combines a sport-tuned suspension – including different stabilizer bars and spring/shock damping rates – with 18-inch wheels and 215/45 R18 tires to make this model a tenacious twisty-road tamer. The GTS’s brakes are the same as used on the larger, heavier Outlander SUV, featuring 11.6-in. (294 mm) vented discs in front and 11.9-in. (302 mm) solid discs in rear.
The 2008 Lancer is built around Mitsubishi’s next-generation Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) unibody design. The RISE body structure disperses energy loads during side and rear crashes and controls distortion, enhancing occupant protection and also helping to protect the fuel system during a rear impact.
The 2008 Lancer’s safety package is one of the most comprehensive in the segment and includes an advanced dual front air bag supplemental restraint system (SRS) with occupant sensors, standard front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and side curtain air bags, plus a driver’s knee air bag. The Lancer ES and GTS models include as standard an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), which is available as an option for the DE model. All Lancer models feature a tire pressure monitoring system.
All Lancer models for 2008 come pre-wired for accessory SIRIUS® Satellite Radio. This in-demand feature is also included in the optional Sun and Sound Package that is available for the ES and GTS models, where it is combined with a power glass sunroof, SIRIUS® Satellite Radio with 6-month pre-paid subscription and a 650-watt (max.), Rockford-Fosgate® Premium Audio system – the most powerful factory-installed audio system in the segment.
Similar to the option offered for the new-generation 2007 Outlander SUV, the audiophile-quality Rockford-Fosgate system has been custom-tuned for the Lancer’s interior acoustics to reproduce all types of music with remarkable clarity and power. The system includes a 6-CD in-dash head unit with MP3 playback capability and features an audio input jack to connect an iPod® or similar media player. The Lancer’s Rockford-Fosgate system plays through nine speakers in seven positions, including a trunk-mounted subwoofer.
The sport-tuned GTS is also the technology leader of the 2008 Lancer line, featuring a standard Bluetooth® wireless technology cell phone interface system with voice recognition microphone for hands-free calling (available for the ES model). The GTS model for 2008 is exclusively available with the optional Navigation and Technology Package, which combines a 30-gigabyte hard disc drive (HDD) navigation system with digital music server function, the Mitsubishi Multi-Communication System and the FAST Key (Freehand Advanced Security Transmitter) entry system. FAST Key allows the driver to unlock the vehicle simply by having the remote in a pocket or purse and grasping the handle on either of the front doors or the trunk.