Many mistakes have been in the car business, one of them being Mitsubishi cancelling their rallye-bred Lancer Evolution. Looks like they’re going to fix the mistake.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, or EVO those on the inside, was the stuff of legends. Without delving into the car’s illustrious past, Mitsubishi created a compact car capable of crushing the competition on the road, the track and off the beaten path. With a cult following and millions of adoring fans, it only made sense that the Japanese brand pull the plug…
A number of reasons co-existed to finally bring Mitsubishi to this decision. One being that the Lancer on which it was based was ancient, another was dismal sales around the globe and finally, Nissan stepping in to stop some of the bleeding.
At one point, some years ago, in an OTR conversation with a Mitsubishi engineer, we learned that the next EVO was going to be based on an SUV which turned out to be the slow-selling Eclipse Cross. Now however, at least according to Autocar, the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO XI may return.
There are a number of elements that must come together in order for this to happen. One is that the Lancer must return. In North America at least, Mitsubishi’s bid to phase out cars for SUVs in order to boost sales is not working so perhaps resurrecting the Lancer could help. Speaking of help, with the resources available from the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance, Mits has access to numerous platforms (the CMF-C/D F4 platform) and powertrains.
In the Autocar story, they specify that the EVO XI could benefit from the next-generation Renault Megane RS’ 341-horsepower 2.0-litre turbo 4-cylinder engine. Throw in the company’s excellent dual-clutch gearbox, S-AWC AWD and the potential of an added 48V mild-hybrid system and we have a 4-second to 100km/h car.
There’s a direct correlation, at least in our minds, with the demise of the EVO, the poor use of the Eclipse name and Mitsubishi’s current North American sales results. Bring back the EVO, we say.