Mitsubishi Lancer

From Mitsubishi press: With its combination of polished good looks, noteworthy handling and its broad tally of included features and amenities, the Mitsubishi Lancer sport sedan is, dollar for dollar, easily one of the most appealing vehicles in its highly competitive category. But this attractive and refined compact sports sedan further sets itself apart from its competitors for the new model year thanks to new features that improve the vehicle's fuel-efficiency and fun factor.

All four versions of the Lancer sports sedan return in 2011: The low-priced/well-equipped Lancer DE, the feature-packed Lancer ES, the more powerful Lancer GTS and the extremely capable, hard-charging Lancer Ralliart that packs a turbocharged punch and exceptional agility thanks to its advanced all-wheel drive system.

Setting the Lancer DE and ES variants in motion is an excellent 4-cylinder normally-aspirated engine that provides spirited performance (this 4B11 engine serves as the foundation of the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution ultra-high-performance sports sedan) and fuel efficiency. With a displacement of 2.0-liters (1998 cc), the bore and stroke of this engine measure an equal 3.4 x 3.4 in. (86.0 x 86.0 mm), making it a "square" design. Both the engine block and cylinder head are composed entirely of aluminum alloy for exceptional strength with reduced mass when compared to cast iron. With a compression ratio of 10:1, this DOHC MIVEC 16-valve engine produces a lively 152 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 146 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm. The engines found under the hood of Lancer DE and ES vehicles sold in the state of California have received the very eco-friendly Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) rating, coming with just a slight sacrifice in horsepower at 143 bhp (the torque rating of this PZEV engine is only down by 3 lb.-ft. to 143).

Directing power to the Lancer DE's front wheels is a clean-shifting 5-speed manual transmission, while the Lancer ES benefits from a choice of either this 5-speed manual transmission as part of the standard equivalent package or consumers may choose to upgrade to a high-tech continuously variable transmission (CVT) with INVEC-III.

For those seeking more power there is the Lancer GTS model and its larger 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces an additional 20 bhp over the Lancer DE and ES models; its maximum power output is rated at 168 bhp at 6,000 rpm (161 horsepower for the PZEV-rated cars in California) and 167 lb.-ft. of torque (PZEV – 161 lb.-ft.). Like the previously mentioned Lancer models, the GTS is equipped as standard with Mitsubishi's refined 5-speed manual gearbox but also has an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) with INVEC III that also has the added benefit of Mitsubishi's driver-oriented Sportronic® technology that allows the operator to shift gears via magnesium steering wheel paddle shifters.

But for all-out driving excitement, the smartest choice is the Lancer Ralliart and its dynamic turbocharged engine and lightning quick-shifting 6-speed automated manual gearbox.

Based largely on the architectural underpinnings of the highly energetic turbocharged engine found in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, this 2.0-liter turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder engine produces a vigorous 237 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and a tarmac-twisting 253 lb.-ft. of torque across a wide swath of the tachometer - from a lowly 2,500 rpm right through to 4,750 rpm. Feeding this power to all four wheels - the Lancer Ralliart features Mitsubishi's advanced full-time All-Wheel Control (AWC) system and this Japanese auto manufacturer's miraculous Twin-Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST). This revolutionary transmission allows the driver to have all the fun and engine control benefits of a manual transmission, but without the need for clutch pedal. By using two clutches and advanced hydraulics and electronic controls, this transmission can select two gears at a time and instantaneously swap one gear for another - making for instantaneous upshifts or downshifts. What's more, electronic engine controls “blip" the throttle to perfectly match engine speed and gear changes.

Gallery: Mitsubishi Lancer