Mitsubishi to offer 260 horsepower five-door Lancer Ralliart in 2008

Mitsubishi announced earlier this year that it will produce a five-door hatchback version of its 2008 Lancer -- based on the Lancer Sportback concept first shown two years ago at the Frankfurt auto show -- and now comes word that the automaker will offer the five-door in Ralliart form.

While past Lancer Ralliart models consisted of little more than special badging and unique wheels, the new Ralliart promises to be a true Subaru WRX competitor. Mitsubishi will reportedly equip the Lancer Ralliart with a 260 horsepower engine -- 36 more than the WRX -- and the all-wheel drive system from the Evolution IX.

Mitsubishi confirmed plans to produce the five-door Lancer in an announcement made back in June.

"With its coupe-like profile -- modelled upon the exciting 2005 Frankfurt concept car of the same name -- it will specifically target hatchback-minded European customers," the company said.

The hatchback will follow shortly after the new Lancer Sedan and Lancer Evolution arrive at dealers. It will likely be sold as a 2009 model.

Expect the car's overall shape to be similar to the concept (pictured), with a face and taillights very similar the production Lancer sedan.