Report: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Not Dead After All?

The hearts of rally fans and sport compact tuners around the world collectively skipped a beat earlier this month when Mitsubishi Motors officials hinted the famed Lancer Evolution may not play a part in the automaker's future portfolio. Something may have been lost in translation, as the company now suggests the Evo will live on, albeit possibly in a much different form.

Earlier this year, Mitsubishi proclaimed it was making a strong push towards rolling eco-friendly or electric drive technologies into its future products. Seeing as the Lancer Evolution is a high-performance vehicle, it isn't exactly in keeping with that mantra. In fact, Mitsubishi's global product director, Gayu Eusegi, suggested the current Evo would be the last.

Commence the backpedaling. After his comments triggered a wave of backlash from enthusiasts and Evo devotees around the world, Eusegi seems to have reverted on his previous stance. In another interview with Autocar, the executive says production of the current Lancer Evolution X will continue as planned, and suggests the company actually has some carte blanche when it comes to crafting a successor. Eusegi notes "regulations and market feedback will dictate [the next Evo's] engineering package and architecture."

Company CEO Osamu Masuko echoed those sentiments. "Mitsubishi is considering not advancing the Lancer Evolution concept in the same way as before," he told Autocar, "but to find a different direction for the Lancer Evolution model to evolve." Masuko refrained from disclosing any further information, noting the exact details will be "disclosed in due course."

Those remarks appear to suggest an Evolution with an alternative driveline may once again be a possibility. Motor Trend reported last year that the next-generation Lancer Evolution may well utilize an advanced plug-in hybrid powertrain. That report suggests an electric motor would power the front wheels while a 2.0-liter I-4 would be responsible for driving the rear wheels when needed. Autocar's report hints at a similar setup, but with a diesel engine substituted for the gasoline I-4 in order appease European emission and fuel economy standards.

Although previous reports suggested a hybrid-electric Evo could perform on par with today's car (we hear engineers are striving for a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds or less), what are your thoughts on a hybrid Evo? Is this the proper way for the Evolution to evolve, or is this sheer blasphemy? Send your thoughts and wish list for the next-gen Evo our way in the comments section below.

Source: Autocar, Motor Trend

David Kalinyuk
Blasphemy! Mitsubishi is making a huge mistake. No one who ever owned an Evo will ever buy an electric car. Who's gonna pick a hybrid over a Blow-off valve? Better for Subaru i guess.
Harry Ohe
I don't share the fasination with duel tech propulsion vehicles (Gas/Electric) due to cost, weight, and complication. Think about your wallet when the warranty expires....ouch! Why the blind refusal to persue natural gas? With the right lube, your vehicle will last as long as a two decade old Nissan fork lift! With low purchase price, less weight, less complication......What about alcohol? A lot of countries are doing well using alcohol based fuel. My neigbor spent $32K on a "Hump Back" Toyota hybride and my son's $14K stick shift Elantra (fully equiped) gets within a stone throw of the Toyota's fuel economy with more power/performance, interior and trunk room. While handling and looking better.... I personally would look seriously at a natural gas Evo............
STEVE
AS A MITSUBISHI OWNER IM TIRED OF WAITING ON THEM TO DECIDE ON WHAT THEIR GOING TO DO, IT SEEMS LIKE IT TAKES MITSU FOREVER TO DECIDE OR LET THE CUSTOMER KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE COMPANY, OR WHAT NEW PRODUCTS ARE COMMING! WHATS REALLY PISSING ME OFF IS ALL NEW PRODUCTS HAVE BEEN UNDERPOWERED SUV SUV=SUCK WHAT SPORTY CARS ARE COMMING HOPE IT HAS AWD AND A TURBO! ANYWAY NO NEW ECLIPSE (CONCEPT RA) I WILL NOT BE BUYING ANOTHER MITSUBISHI PRODUCT, AND THATS SAD FOR ME!
Steve
Well, article sounds promising however my biggest complaint about any kind of electric mode cars is the Lack of Sound. Which is both hazardous to the blind and hearing impaired. I also like the hi-performance feel and sound of a hi-perf gas engine as I bang thru all the gears, and to except Anything less than that due to above reasons is unexceptable to me and to Alot of true Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution enthusiasts hearts and minds. I should know as I am the co- president of fthe Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Club. And we are 4500 strong in membership and A good 90% of us All voice all the same concerns. So, If that cant be corrected, thanks....BUT NO THANKS.
Robert Caruncho
If the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution can be transformed to a much fuel efficient state, then I am all for it, especially if the acceleration of 0-60 @ 4.5seconds, but with a fuel efficency of 30 to 45 mpg, why not? If the hybrid and diesel combination makes the all of the above mentioned achievable, Mitsubishi could and will be a player in the global compact car division and could away the sales from competitors and enthusiast be happy for Mitsubishi's direction. Mitsubishi's heritage has been up to now been very conservative and not like to take chances, especially with much competition from known brands throwing their research and development into reality, not with Mitsubishi. It holds back and analyze things first and takes a long time before deciding to procede with its future. It has to change, if they believe in what it plans to undertake and be good at it with perseverance, patience and aggresiveness.

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