Mitsubishi doesn’t really do concept cars, just very thinly disguised versions of production models. Change the front the lights, swap the big wheels for more sensible ones, and you’re pretty much there.
And so it is with the Prototype-S, the firm’s Geneva Motor Show concept. It’s essentially what the five-door Lancer Sportback – the hatchback to go with the already-on-sale sedan – will look like.
On sale in Europe from September, it’s going to be a hugely important model for the Japanese firm in Europe. Official estimates put sales at around 70 per cent of the total Lancer volume. That’s because Europeans love the practicality and versatility of a hatchback over a three-box sedan. It gets the same ‘jet fighter’ grille as its siblings, finished in matt black with mesh inserts and chrome surround. Either side are additional air intakes incorporating boomerang-shaped fog lamps. At the rear the lines are similar to the 2005 Concept Sportback that first signaled the car’s likely styling, plus a color-keyed rear wing.
Inside there’s twin-hooded instrument binnacles and black suede finish to the upper dashboard and door panels. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine developing 240 hp.
The new version should be added to the American Mitsubishi lineup by year's end.--Richard Yarrow