Update: Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart priced at $26,490

Update: Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart priced at $26,490

Update: Mitsubishi has announced pricing for its new 2009 Lancer Ralliart turbocharged AWD sedan, putting it in direct competition with the similar priced and specced Subaru WRX. Positioned between the Lancer 2.4 GTS and high-performance Lancer Evolution X, the new Lancer Ralliart comes with a 237hp (177kW) turbocharged four-cylinder - a detuned version of the same 4B11 found in the Evo X - and the same trick TC-SST dual-clutch gearbox. Pricing starts at $26,490.

The full-time 4WD driveline features Mitsubishi's Active Center Differential (ACD) unit, which employs an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch center differential, vectoring drive torque to the front and rear according to different driving conditions. The car also gets front helical and rear mechanical limited slip differentials.

Firmer suspension than the standard Lancer, 18in alloys shod with 215mm Yokohama ties, stability and traction control are all fitted as standard. Styling differences include a new front bumper design, rear bumper cover, dual outlet muffler and a lightweight aluminum ducted hood.

An optional Recaro Sport Pack is available for an additional $2,750, adding xenon headlights, a 650W Rockford Fosgate stereo, Sirius Satellite Radio with 6-months subscription and a pair of Recaro sports bucket seats. A new 40Gb hard-disk navigation system is also available as either a port-installed option or as a dealer accessory.

One thing the Lancer Ralliart will be able to offer buyers that the Subaru doesn't is the new Twin-Clutch SST transmission recently debuted on the Evo X. Some may find the Lancer's styling more attractive than the Subaru's hatchback body style, though the camps are likely to remain divided along long-standing lines. However, Subaru has also announced updates to the 2009 WRX range - namely a more powerful 265hp (198kW) engine.

Original: Mitsubishi has added two additional models to the growing Lancer range with the announcement today of the sporty Ralliart edition and a new 2.4L powered model. Where the flagship Lancer Evolution is aimed squarely at the Subaru Impreza STI, the new Ralliart is designed to tackle the mid-level Impreza WRX.

On paper, it seems to have what it takes. The Ralliart will be powered by a four-cylinder 2.0L MIVEC turbocharged petrol engine that develops a maximum output of 240hp (177kW) and 343Nm of torque. The engine is mated to the Twin Clutch SST automated manual transmission as well as a full-time 4WD system with Mitsubishi’s Active Center Differential (ACD). The unit employs an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch center differential, vectoring drive torque to the front/rear according to different driving conditions for maximum traction.

The Ralliart will be distinguished from the rest of the Lancer range thanks to its more aggressive front bumper design, rear air dam, dual mufflers and the intake in the aluminum hood.