This must be some of the best news I've heard in a long time. Mitsubishi's finally going to introduce a bona fide baby Evo, along the lines of the 200hp Lancer GSR of the 90s.
If it sets its sights on the new and fugly 220hp Subaru WRX 5-door hatch, it's going to be priced around S$90K in Singapore. And that's only S$15K more than a Honda Civic 2.0 and less than a mid-range Camry, Accord or Cefiro.
I might not be able to bring myself to splurge on a S$140K Evo X, but for $50K less, the 235hp Lancer Ralliart might just tweak my loins.
2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart - Road & Track
Mitsubishi's Lancer Ralliart bridges the gap between the economy-car-like Lancer and the ultra-hyper Lancer Evolution. The Ralliart uses the same 4B11 2.0-liter 16-valve turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder as the Evolution, but with a more modest (and estimated as of this time) 235 bhp and 253 lb.-ft. of torque. It also uses Mitsubishi's MIVEC variable valve timing and, get this: Like the Evo, the Ralliart will be fitted with a full-time all-wheel-drive system, employing Mitsubishi's Active Center Differential (ACD) with three driver-programmable settings: Tarmac, Gravel and Snow.
If that's not tech-geekie enough for you, how about the fact the Ralliart comes with Mitsubishi's awesome new Twin Clutch-SST gearbox (also as in the Evo) that allows the driver to shift manually via steering-column-mounted paddles. Or, it can simply be left in full automatic operation.
More aggressively styled front and rear bumpers, a dual exhaust and an aluminum hood with air intakes differentiate the Ralliart from the standard Lancer.
Basically, with the Lancer Ralliart, Mitsubishi is taking dead-aim at Subaru's Impreza WRX — looks to us like it's a direct hit.