|Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) has introduced the all-new, 2008 Lancer compact sport sedan, delivering driven-to-thrill dynamics, "class-up" value, advanced safety and available cutting-edge user-technology in an aggressively styled package.
The 2008 Lancer brings the bold, dynamic lines of the Mitsubishi Concept-X to the showroom. First shown in 2005, the Concept X previewed not only the next generation Mitsubishi compact sport sedan, but also a new design language to convey an new brand identity. A "shark-nosed" front end inspired by jet fighter air intakes, a distinct wedge-like profile and crisp, taut lines highlight the Lancer's exciting new design.
The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer is based on a new performance-engineered global platform that also forms the foundation of the all-new Mitsubishi Outlander SUV and will underpin the next-generation high-performance Lancer Evolution model. Lancer's comprehensive safety package provides seven standard air bags, including the first driver's knee airbag in a Mitsubishi model.
The new-generation Lancer's standard new 2.0-liter DOHC MIVEC 4-cylinder engine is among the most powerful standard engines in its segment, with 152 hp at 6,000 rpm and 146 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,250 rpm.
The 2008 Mitsubishi 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. The GTS's styling is even more aggressive 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 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(R) mode that allows the driver to manually control transmission operation using magnesium steering wheel paddle shifters - a first in the segment.
In contrast to a conventional automatic transmission, which uses fixed gear ratios, a CVT operates on a pulley system that allows an infinite variability between highest and lowest available ratios with no discrete steps or shifts. A CVT smoothly adapts to changing vehicle speeds, allowing the engine speed to remain at its level of peak efficiency, helping to improve both fuel economy and exhaust emissions.
The new Mitsubishi 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 18-in. wheels.
Lancer's highly rigid unibody body structure, which makes extensive use of high-strength steel, allows for sport-oriented suspension tuning while also providing a smooth, compliant ride. Compared to the previous-generation Lancer, torsional rigidity has been increased by 56 percent, and bending rigidity is up by 50 percent - increases that exceed body stiffness measurements of even the previous Lancer Evolution IX.
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. Using separate coil springs and shock absorbers helps maximize trunk room. Lancer DE and ES models feature standard 16-in. wheels (steel on DE, alloy on ES) with 205/60 R16 tires.
The 2008 Mitsubishi 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 an aggressive 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.
As with the exterior, the Lancer's interior is characterized by clean and crisp surfaces, free of gimmicks and using high-quality materials and marked by careful attention to detail. Each trim line is distinguished by its own distinct seating materials and interior trim. The overall instrument panel shape and design contribute to a more spacious interior feeling than seen in some competitors. The roomy feeling is no illusion, as the Lancer provides 94.8 cu. ft. of passenger space (93.3 with the optional sunroof).
Precision-designed detailing on all controls lends a "high-touch," high-tech feel. The short-stroke switches also impart a feeling of quality and solidity, and audio switches are finished in piano black for an upscale appearance. Metallic-like trim highlights the shifter bezel, and also the steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls switches in the ES and GTS models.
All Lancer models for 2008 come pre-wired for accessory SIRIUS(R) 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(R) Satellite Radio with 6 month pre-paid subscription and a 650-watt (max.), Rockford-Fosgate(R) 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(R) 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 Lancer line, featuring a standard with a Bluetooth(R) wireless technology cell phone interface system with voice recognition microphone for hands-free calling (available for the ES model). The GTS model is exclusively available with the optional Navigation and Technology Package, which combines a 30-gigabyte hard drive 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.