2015 Mitsubishi Evolution. Back On?

Written by: 
Michael Sorvino
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To Evo or not to Evo? That is the question.

For Mitsubishi's rally-car-for-the-street fans, there is a complicated answer that’s more troubling than vague. The Evolution X (current generation), as was hinted at in 2010 by insider sources, but not confirmed, may very well be the last Lancer model to carry the legendary Evo name; and, there were some inside rumors swirling that spell the demise of the high-performance version altogether. Now, we’re hearing the Evo project may be back on.

We haven’t had this kind of back-and-forth since Brett Favre decided to retire..and not retire…and retire again.

            We’ve heard rumors that the president of Mitsubishi, Osamu Masuko was against the development of a new Evo, but is reconsidering his decision, with help from Mitsubishi employees who desperately want to see the car survive. And judging by the company’s recent interest in motorsports (Pikes Peak), things are definitely changing at the Three-Diamond company. What is known is that an all-new, smaller, perhaps lighter (we like that part) Lancer will bow in 2014 as a 2015 model, already two years behind schedule due to the global financial crisis and, according to Mitsubishi product manager James Tol, the company's prioritization of development money toward their more profitable SUVs. Even if a replacement for the Evo is built, its current all-wheel-drive, turbocharged gasoline engine setup is likely to become a casualty in the war on emissions, fuel economy, and the corporate green-lighting of sporty niche cars. It may instead come with a diesel, turbo-diesel, electro-diesel hybrid, or—and this is a remote possibility—an all-electric motor.

            That would be a first in this, admittedly, small segment including the likes of Subaru's WRX STI. The prospect of lighter weight and tighter packaging though, as the new car's dimensions would place it between those of the Evo X and its predecessor, in combination with virtually any of the aforementioned powerplants creates an intriguing potion for lots of torque in lots of right-now situations a driver might encounter...or seek out. Handling should improve as well, even if the “New Evo” (or whatever it might be called, assuming one is developed) will be targeting more upmarket, less hardcore sports sedans, such as the BMW 335d, 335i X-drive, and Audi S4, or so we've also heard. One thing’s for sure: with a potential fuel economy COMBINED cycle of at least 30 mpg, and power output of what was originally thought to be 300 bhp or more, this theoretical vehicle would be a unique alternative to virtually anything else that’s even close to it in the marketplace.

            Which brings us to price. Mitsubishi is currently staying as far away as they can from entertaining that question, probably because it's now up to the real car guys within the company to convince the big boss to even go ahead with the project. We hope for an answer to the above esoteric question soon.