Mitsubishi could return to performance cars with reborn Lancer Evolution

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution XI Autocar render

Mitsubishi could re-ignite one of motoring’s fiercest rivalries with a revived Lancer Evolution

11th iteration of Mitsubishi’s rally stage star would pack 341bhp 2.0-litre turbo from next-gen Renault Megane RS

Mitsubishi is plotting a resurrection of the iconic Lancer Evolution as part of a return to its performance car roots. 

It is planned to continue a rich history of Lancer Evolution models kicked off with the launch of the first-generation model in 1992, by offering supercar-beating acceleration together with the choice of either traditional four-door saloon or five-door hatchback bodystyles, according to Japanese-based sources. 

Details remain scarce, but suggestions are the followup to the Lancer Evolution X produced between 2007 and 2016 would share key elements of its drivetrain with the next-generation Renault Mégane RS, with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a dual-clutch gearbox and an advanced Mitsubishi-developed S-AWC four-wheel drive system. 

In its most potent form, the existing front-wheel-drive Renault Mégane RS’s MR designated engine delivers 296bhp and 295lb ft of torque. However, the possible addition of electronic boosting in a 48V mild-hybrid system being developed for the RenaultNissan-Mitsubishi alliance is likely to increase its reserves closer to the 341bhp and 319lb ft of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder powerplant used by the limited-edition Subaru Impreza WRX STi S209. 

The 11th generation of the four-wheel-drive Lancer Evolution has been conceived to sit on the CMF-C/D F4 platform developed within Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. 

The current non-performance Lancer was discontinued as an international model in 2017, but the name lives on with a saloon model sold in Chinese-speaking markets due to its popularity. 

The Evolution’s revival, part of Mitsubishi chairman Osamu Masuko’s plan to restore the Japanese maker to its previous position of strength within the performance car ranks, would depend on the Lancer returning in a new generation. 

Masuko, 70, is set to surrender his position as CEO to Takao Kato. However, the Mitsubishi veteran will continue to lead the company in the position of chairman. 

Previous plans by Masuko to develop a successor to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X were placed on hold following heavy losses at the company and its subsequent purchase by Nissan in 2016

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Source: Autocar Online

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