The all-new 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer was engineered from bumper to bumper to provide a driven-to-thrill experience behind the wheel. Driving enthusiasts will feel the difference through every curve, especially in the sport-tuned Lancer GTS model. Customers who purchase a Lancer DE or ES model will find themselves enjoying driving more than before.
The source for Lancer's engaging, fun-driving character is a new global performance-engineered platform that has been optimized for a maximum-performance variant (which will arrive at a later date). This platform was introduced first for the 2007 Outlander SUV, a vehicle that provides uncommonly energetic driving responses for its segment.
The 2008 Lancer GTS - with the standard 5-speed manual transmission or the optional Sportronic(R) CVT - combines a sport-tuned suspension with 18-inch wheels 215/45 R18 tires and large 4-wheel disc brakes to make this model an aggressive twisty-road tamer. Lancer models - and especially the sport-tuned GTS - will offer an international driving character more commonly found in expensive European sport sedans.
The 2008 Lancer DE and ES models, with their standard 16-inch wheels (alloy on ES) and 205/60 R16 tires, provide solid and stable driving performance that can help make even an ordinary commute to work more enjoyable. The ES adds standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), as well as a rear stabilizer bar for sharper handling.
The 2008 Lancer projects a tauter, stronger stance through its design, and the effect is more than skin-deep. The new Lancer is built on a longer wheelbase and wider track - but with a slightly shorter overall length. 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 stance that is especially evident with the GTS model's standard 18-in. wheels and 215/45 R18 tires.
Safety-Optimized RISE Body Structure
The reassuringly solid feeling one gets driving the new Lancer is rooted in a body structure engineered with greater inherent strength than its predecessor. That is one reason the new platform can be used for a variety of model types, including the new-generation Outlander SUV. Of course, the new structure has also been optimized for a higher level of crashworthiness, as well.
The 2008 Lancer is built around Mitsubishi's next-generation Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) unibody design. The highly rigid structure makes extensive use of high-tension steel, a material that was not used in the previous-generation Lancer. A stiff body structure can allow sport suspension tuning without compromising a compliant ride, and this platform allows for further handling development even beyond the new Lancer GTS model.
The Lancer's structural and suspension development reflects Mitsubishi's renowned motorsports expertise. In particular, lessons learned from reinforcing the structure of the previous-generation Lancer Evolution model have been integrated into the new-generation Lancer.
Compared to the previous-generation Lancer, torsional rigidity has been increased by 56 percent, and bending rigidity is up by 50 percent. These increases in both torsional and bending rigidity exceed body stiffness measurements of even the Lancer Evolution IX.
Straight front side members with an octagonal cross-section and a three-leg support structure, as well as increased application high-strength steel, are designed to help Lancer meet the highest crash test standards. The side pillars, roof joints and cross-car structure - combined with the standard front seat-mounted side air bags, driver knee air bag and standard front and rear curtain side air bags - give the new Lancer a higher degree of collision protection.
The lower body structure, where the suspension attaches to the car, also demonstrates the benefits of higher rigidity than before. Here, one can appreciate the holistic approach engineers used to achieve this goal. As one example, the Lancer's new-generation 2.0-liter DOHC MIVEC 4-cylinder engine uses a rear-mounted exhaust manifold, as opposed to the front-mounted exhaust manifold on the previous-generation Lancer engine.
That change allowed use of a flat front suspension crossmember, where the previous model required a saddle-shaped crossmember to provide clearance for the exhaust pipe. A flat front crossmember can directly receive lateral loads from the front lower arm.
Strut tower, side and lower braces enhance lateral rigidity for precise steering response, and lower control arm attachment points and steering knuckles have been strengthened. The combination of these enhancements, along with retuned lower control arm bushings, contribute to quicker steering response. As a result of these reinforcement measures, rigidity of the tire ground contact area was improved by a significant 18 percent versus the previous Lancer, an improvement that enhances nimble handling, driving stability and ride comfort.
Redesigned Front Suspension
The MacPherson strut front suspension is similar in layout to the previous Lancer's, but all-new, with a sharpened focus on enhancing rigidity while reducing weight and lowering the roll center. Slightly longer suspension travel (10 mm) enhances road holding even on rough roads, and road shock from driving over uneven surfaces has also been reduced.
The Lancer DE and ES models use a 20-mm (0.79-in.) front stabilizer bar, and the GTS model employs a 21-mm (0.83-in.) front stabilizer bar. The GTS also gets exclusive sport-tuning of the spring rates and shock damping force. Fitting a stabilizer strut helps ensure optimal roll rigidity and improved steering stability.
Multi-link Rear Suspension
The Lancer's sophisticated new trailing-arm type multi-link rear suspension is a major factor in providing ride and handling characteristics that might be expected from a more expensive vehicle. The rack-type crossmember has been lightened, yet its rigidity increased to enhance handling response.
Compared with the current Lancer, the toe control arm has been lowered and camber rigidity increased to deliver better steering stability. Raising the trailing arm bushing has improved suspension operation when traversing rough surfaces and enhanced ride comfort. The Lancer ES features an 18-mm (0.71-in.) rear stabilizer bar, and the GTS sport-tuned suspension gets a 20-mm (0.79-in.) rear bar, changes in spring rate and shock damping forces, and pillow-ball bushing for both upper and toe control arms. Contributing to handling stability in the all-new Lancer are ball joint-type stabilizer links and a new hub unit bearing that provides higher camber and toe rigidity.
More Precise Steering
The 2008 Lancer owes its crisp, fluid steering response to the integration of the highly rigid body structure, the newly designed suspension, and of course the new rack and pinion steering system itself. The new steering rack has a slightly larger diameter than the previous Lancer's.
The optimized steering column layout features joint friction-reduction parts that improve steering feel (reduced torque fluctuation). Support stiffness at the steering wheel end of the steering column has been increased by 20 percent compared to the previous model, reducing steering wheel vibration. Dampers used on the intermediate shaft help reduce shimmy.
Confident Braking Performance
The all-new 2008 Lancer GTS not only tames curves, but does so with the confident stopping power of the same brakes as the larger, heavier Outlander SUV -- 11.6-in. (294 mm) vented discs in front and 11.9-in. (302 mm) solid discs in rear. The Lancer DE and ES models employ 10.9-in. (276 mm) vented front disc brakes. The ES has 10.3-in. (262 mm) solid disc rear brakes. The DE has highly efficient drum-type rear brakes.
The front disc brakes utilize powerful dual-piston calipers, with the GTS featuring single-piston calipers for its rear discs. Front rotors on all models measure 1.0 in. thick, and the rear rotors on GTS are 0.4 in. thick. Additionally, higher friction coefficient pads improve performance. The single 10-in. brake vacuum booster, with a long-stroke master cylinder, improves boost power and brake feel. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) is standard on GTS and ES and available for DE models. The system incorporates Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). A change in the surface treatments for both the calipers and rotors has eliminated hazardous materials.