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Mitsubishi Lancer news - Game, set and hatch - 2008

Published: 26 Feb 2008

Centre-stage on Mitsubishi's show stand in Geneva will be this, the Prototype-S.

We saw sketches a few weeks back, but now we've got the first official photos of the concept that previews the forthcoming Lancer Sportback.

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That's the Lancer hatchback, in other words, yet Mitsu is pitching the Sportback as a rival to the Alfa 159 Sportwagon, even though you can see that the rear end is indubitably hatch-ish, and impressively slanted.

Mitsubishi is calling the Prototype-S a concept, but with the exception of a few posh interior touches, the styling should carry over more or less wholesale to the production model.

It's a design good-looking enough to probably worry the Focus ST... and definitely the Subaru Impreza WRX.

Not the Impreza STi, though - sadly, the Sportback won't be made available in Evo flavour: the hottest variant is likely to feature a detuned version of the Evo's two-litre turbo engine developing around 240bhp. Four-wheel drive will be standard, naturally.

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It's difficult to know why Mitsubishi hasn't come up with a Lancer hatch sooner: the UK office reckons the Sportback will account for some 80 per cent of the Lancer's sales on these shores.

We'll watch the Prototype-S eyeing the Impreza angrily from across the Geneva show floor next week.

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