Mitsubishi has always had a reputation as a scrappy rabble rouser, producing competitive sports cars like the early Eclipse, and later the Lancer Evolution. These were some of the first cars to legitimately challenge American standbys like the Mustang or Camaro, and a new report rekindles rumors that the Lancer Evo will return as a sporty hybrid.
It appears that rumors of the Evo’s demise were greatly exaggerate, though it’s easy to see why. Mitsubishi is currently undergoing a major transformation, especially in North America where it has slashed its lineup almost in half. Gone are nameplates that have been around for decades, including Eclipse, Galant, and Lancer. But a new hybrid Lancer Evolution is said to be in development (such rumors go all the way back to 2010), and will be so radically different from the rest of Mitsu’s lineup, past or present, that its likely to have an entirely new name.
While a new Mitsubishi Lancer compact car is said to be in the works, and riding on a Renault platform as part of a new alliance, the Lancer Evolution will get an entirely different platform and name. The next Evo is said to be a showcase vehicle loaded with high-tech goodies, including a state-of-the-art plug-in hybrid system with performance, rather than fuel economy, at the forefront.
Mitsubishi is charging forward with plug-in hybrid technology in vehicles like its new Outlander PHEV, and after years of consolidating the small Japanese carmaker appears to have turned a financial corner. Engineers are said to be considering a more powerful, production version of the 1.1 liter turbo engine that debuted in the XR-PHEV concept, paired with a couple of small electric motors at both the front and rear, allowing for all-wheel drive like Evo drivers are used to. Output is said to be as much as 500 ponies, and new batteries will be small enough to fit under the rear seats, allowing for optimal 50/50 weight distribution.
The timing is right for a Lancer Evolution successor, and turning a well-known sports car into a hybrid is sure to get a lot of attention. If Mitsubishi can pull this off, they may just inspire other automakers to follow a similar path. This green writer approves.
Source: Motor Trend