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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.
Added handling technologies expected and output could be as high as 350-hp
Mitsubishi’s next generation EVO will be a plug-in hybrid. Yup, according to a recent report by Motor Trend, a source inside the company has confirmed the rumors that the EVO XI is going green.
This news will most likely have EVO enthusiasts about ready to jump ship to Subaru, but worry not says the report, Mitsubishi isn’t building a Prius. The EVO XI will ride on the same AWD platform as the Concept PX-MiEV (above) – itself a plug-in hybrid. A 2.0-liter MIVEC engine from the current Japan-spec Galant will be used, along with lithium-ion batteries and an electric motor donated from the dorky-looking i-MiEV electric city car.
Interestingly, the main power source will be the electric motor, driving the front wheels for optimum fuel economy. When required, the gasoline engine will kick in to power the rear. The electric motor is expected to be a more powerful version of the i-MiEV’s, which already makes 63-hp. As for the gasoline engine, it should pump out roughly 320-hp, a 29-hp improvement over the current EVO. In total this could mean as much as 350-hp. Mitsubishi engineers have apparently targeted a time of 4.5 seconds to 60 mph as their goal.
In addition, the Motor Trend reports suggest added handling capabilities will help to win over enthusiasts. Expected to be included on the EVO XI are Active Steering and a Roll Control Suspension, as well as a new electronically controlled active yaw control system (E-AYC).
The biggest problem Mitsubishi engineers face is the added weight of the electrical components, especially after the EVO X already gained 250-lbs on the previous generation model.