Mitsubishi used the New York Auto Show to hint at big things to come for the Outlander crossover. The Outlander GT Prototype's an indicator of the future design direction for this vehicle, and the obviously Evo-inspired looks are matched by improved handling and performance. The next-generation Outlander is on the way, and we suspect that the Outlander GT Prototype is a thinly-disguised version of it.

The resemblance to Mitsubishi's rally-bred super sedan goes beyond the gaping grille and reshaped headlights. The Outlander GT Prototype has a lightweight polished aluminum roof panel that helps to lower the center of gravity and reduce weight. Nineteen-inch OZ Racing wheels emphasize the lowered and stiffened suspension.

Mitsubishi has also installed its Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system. S-AWC modulates power distribution by monitoring power output, throttle input, wheel speed and direction as well as a number of other vehicle attitude indicators provided by the stability control and ABS computers. It enables the Outlander GT Prototype to turn tighter, stabilize slipping wheels, and add stability during cornering. Performance is also aided by a slight power increase for the 3.0 liter V6 engine, which is up to 230 horsepower.

Inside, there's a more comfortable interior that includes a larger LCD screen for navigation, 710-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system and the new FUSE Hands-Free Media Gateway system with Bluetooth and voice-recognition software.

If you're thinking that the Outlander GT Prototype looks production-ready, you're not alone. Although Mitsu's calling it a "prototype," we don't see anything here that couldn't be included on a production car.

Gallery: Mitsubishi Outlander GT Prototype Debuts in New York

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