Mitsubishi considering bringing back 'supercar-beating' Lancer Evolution
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Just a few hours ago with the reveal of the new Ford Puma, we were lamenting the new trend of bringing back the names of romanticised sports cars and whacking them onto the backs of SUVs.
One of the culprits of this viscous trend has been Mitsubishi, with the Eclipse compact crossover. There was talk last year too of Evolution getting dusted off for a similar SUV treatment. But, fresh speculation has conjured a glimmer of hope for those still pining for the brand's most famous performance car to return.
Autocar UK has reported that Japanese sources have indicated that the Lancer Evolution could be on its way back to the Mitsubishi line-up.
"Details are scarce" says the British publication (they always are). Nonetheless, the few details at hand appear to point to Mitsubishi building a Lancer Evolution using the shared CMF-C/D F4 platform combined with components shared with the next generation Renault Megane RS, via their position in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.
This likely points to a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine hooked up to a dual-clutch automatic or six-speed manual, sending power to all four wheels in true Lancer fashion. For what it's worth, the current 1.8-litre Megane RS hot hatch makes 204kW of power and 390Nm of torque.
Curiously, Autocar UK name expected power figures for this hypothetical Evo — 341bhp (or 255kW) and 432Nm. They suggest that these figures will be spawned not only by an engine boasting an extra 200cc of capacity versus the current Megane RS, but an engine that will feature a 48V mild-hybrid system.
This is all very interesting of course, but is it probable?
Well, it's worth noting that Mitsubishi appear to be in a slightly more stable position now than they were when they called time on the Evolution nameplate back in 2016 (when they were bought by Nissan). Mitsubishi reported a 14 per cent increase in operating profit in the last fiscal year (just over US$1b), with net income growing by 24 per cent and revenue by 15 per cent.
Significant losses were listed as the reason why an 11th-generation Lancer Evolution was canned. Perhaps a few years of growth could see it brought back. It's worth noting too that the Evolution was always a stand-alone Mitsubishi product. If a new one can be produced with shared Renault technology, it means less requirement for big investment.
Maybe they saw Toyota do it with the Supra, and thought 'hey, that's a good idea' ...