MITSUBISHI Lancer Ralliart
Does this car remind you of anything? It should, it’s been an innovator on several fronts. It’s the 9th generation Mitsubishi Lancer and its lines are a departure from its predecessor. Making it even more flagrant is that this model is now available in either two or three doors.
The two-door version, the Sportback is earmarked for Southern Europe and will enter the very congested segment C, joining the likes of the VW Golf and Honda Civic. 70% of the vehicles sold in this group are hatchbacks. Something else that is new is the Ralliart badge. This is its first appearance on a Mitsubishi coming straight off the assembly line and is a tribute to the Japanese firm’s glory years in rallying and its current run of success in rally-raid.
Available in Sportback or in sedan, the Ralliart is the link between the Lancer and Lancer Evolution and nicely completes the line of sport Lancers.
A roof spoiler, twin-muffler pipes, purpose built rims and the very aggressive Jet Force radiator grill in a salute to the jet fighters built in another of the Japanese conglomerate’s departments, the Ralliart isn’t hiding its ambitions. The looks are not deceiving, the engine is the same that can be found in the Evolution 10, a 2-litre turbo, however its power output has been reduced from 295 to 240 brake horsepower, which should is still plenty enough.
The Lancer Ralliart is part of the Project Global, in which cars from different categories are built on the same platform. This was conceived in partnership with Chrysler. During this delicate economic time, the entire Lancer range as well 2nd generation Outlander and even a SUV reserved for the Japanese market have been built from the same base. And thus this Ralliart tips the scales at 1595 kilograms, which is quite a lot for a car that is supposed to have a sporting vocation.
Forget the agility of the former version, this one sticks to the road but is still very heavy, the tyres screech in agony before they are really put through any hard cornering. This portliness even becomes worrying because the brakes are not up to the job. The fact that the pedal travel was lengthened is one thing, the fact that the brakes are completely worn out while not being over taxed is another. Mitsubishi needs to seriously rectify the situation before the schedule 2009 release date.
It is a shame really because you cannot get the most out of the sequential gearbox which is really good in terms of its rapidity and practicality with the paddles located behind on the steering wheel or the classic gearshift lever where you pull back to go up a gear or push forward to downshift.
The Lancer Evo 8 has been long awaited here in France and until just recently the only thing close has been an intermediate version. But we must say we’re not the great fans of this radical change in philosophy…as fans of the Japanese brand we really find it to be a pity.