Mitsubishi already has a full-on rally racer, the EVO Lancer, but a less expensive, sporty model will add spice to a new Lancer line-up, which will start arriving here in September 2008.
The boosted all-wheel-drive Lancer, expected to carry the Ralliart name, will slot into the line-up below the red-hot EVO model.
The Lancer range will be similar to Subaru's Impreza stable, which has a turbo AWD WRX as the main performance model and a faster, more expensive STI as the hero car.
It will be the first time Mitsubishi has had an affordable WRX rival since the cult GSR Lancer was cut from the local line-up 10 years ago.
The Japanese carmaker has started to adopt a "bang for your bucks" approach, beginning with the Ralliart version of the Colt baby car. Apart from giving the struggling model much-needed positive publicity, the turbo model has added about 40 sales a month to the Colt's tally.
Mitsubishi has added to the build-up to the next-generation Lancer, which is the brand's best-selling model in Australia, by releasing a sketch of the car that will be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January.
The sketch shows the car will look much more aggressive than the existing model.