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For nearly two decades, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (more commonly known as just the ‘Evo’) has been the benchmark sports sedan around the world. It might have arrived a bit late in the American market, only going on sale in 2003 with the Evo VIII model, but it has well-established itself as a giant killer in the industry and is currently the only Mitsubishi product with an enthusiasts following.
However, earlier in the year there were rumors that the Evo might get killed off. Thankfully, those are not true but according to company insiders, a plug-in hybrid Evo will be launched within three-years time.
It is believed that the hybrid Evo will make do with a diesel-electric combination to further cut down on its environmental footprint. But since diesel is not very popular in markets like Japan and America, it might also very well be available with a gasoline-electric system. So the next Evo might offer different mechanical specifications for different markets.
The new Evo will also get an updated version of Mitsubishi’s S-WAC all-wheel drive system for even better handling, and like the current model, will be the halo model for the company.
Using the Mercedes-Benz E220 BlueTec, as a foundation; noted German tuning house Brabus has unveiled its latest Hybrid Project, powered by a direct injection diesel engine with Brabus ‘Eco’ technology and dual electric motors housed in the rear wheel hubs.
Making its world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA); the Brabus Hybrid project was developed by the firm’s ZERO EMISSION business division which, in conjunction with Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, works on alternative drive technologies.
On this new Hybrid, in ‘Eco’ mode, each of the wheel hub mounted electric motors produces 50 kW of continuous power, while in ‘Sport’ mode, output is increased to 80 kW.
With a total (combined) peak power output of 160 km and 1,180 lb-ft of torque, the twin electric motors are designed to supplement the 2.2-liter CDI BlueTec diesel, which is equipped with a Brabus PowerXtra DE (V) performance tuning kit, that includes an auxiliary control unit and revised engine mapping, designed to optimize fuel economy and reduce emissions.
Although power on the BlueTec diesel is up slightly as a result of the Brabus tweaks (220 hp versus 197); the biggest goal was a bump in torque, which now stands at 330 lb-ft (up from 295). This provides better throttle response no matter whether the car is in hybrid or conventional (diesel mode).
Despite the added weight of the electric motors and the car’s Lithium-Ion battery pack, the Brabus Hybrid still boasts fairly spritely performance. According to the company, it’s able to sprint from 60 to 120 km (37 to 74 mph) in 5.6 seconds, decent statistics for a relatively heavy mid-size sedan.
Other features on the car run to typical Brabus exterior upgrades,in this case a unique front fascia, aluminum front fenders and rocker panel extensions, along with 19-inch Brabus Monoblock alloy wheels, shod in Continental low-profile tires. There’s also a height adjustable suspension with premium Bilstein shocks and upgraded brakes.
Inside, an upgraded instrument cluster, special drilled foot pedals and Brabus LED illuminated sills are among the unique touches added to the Benz E-Class cabin.
GALLERY: Brabus Hybrid