Boy-racer glory days and beyond
Mitsubishi might be planning to revive the Lancer Evolution
According to its Japanese sources, Autocar reports that Mitsubishi is planning to resuscitate the Lancer Evolution. The automaker last sold the high-performance Evolution version of the Lancer sedan in 2016, and regular Lancer models were discontinued in all markets but China in 2017. A new model would be the 11th generation of the tuner favorite since it was first introduced in 1992.
Apparently, the new Evo will benefit from Mitsubishi’s affiliation with the Renault-Nissan alliance, sharing the turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder slated to arrive in the next generation of the Renault Mégane RS, in this case driving through a dual-clutch transmission and Mitsubishi’s own S-AWC four-wheel drive system. It will also, per Autocar‘s sources, be built off of the alliance’s CMF-C/D F4 platform that underpins the Mégane, Nissan Rogue, and Infiniti QX50.
In the current Mégane RS, the MR series engine develops 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, but Autocar speculates that with the addition of the jointly developed Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi 48-volt mild hybrid system the next Evolution would have power competitive with the 341-hp Subaru Impreza WRX STi S209.
The new Lancer Evo is said to be a pet project of Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko, who wants to bring the brand back to its position of prominence in the world of high-performance cars. The Evo was never a big seller but it allowed Mitsubishi to punch above its weight, performance-wise, and the car has a great reputation with enthusiasts. Masuko’s plans to develop an 11th-gen Evo a few years ago were stalled by the company’s financial problems and consequent acquisition by Nissan in 2016.
Masuko is now 70 years old and set to yield the CEO’s office to Takao Kato, but that is not expected to affect the new Evolution as he will carry on in his role as Mitsubishi’s chairman and Evo cheerleader. For our part, we’d love to see the Evo back into the fray with the STI, as well as the VW Golf R and front-drive Honda Civic Type R.