Mitsubishi plans to do a major overhaul of its Lancer Evolution by making a diesel hybrid as its next incarnation. Switching the drivetrain can be designed to save the Evo from stiffer economy and emissions standards while maintaining its trademark mid-range shove. Reports say that Mitsubishi is seriously thinking about ending the Evo model altogether.
Last month, sources in Japan said that a project to switch to a petrol hybrid powertrain and base it on the PX-MiEV SUV concept's platform was dead.
But very recently, the carmaker's R&D department was granted approval to instead design the car as a diesel hybrid.
Engineers anticipate that the combination of clean-diesel torque and electric motor assistance will enable the Evo XI to result to a 0-62mph time of less than five seconds but have reduced CO2 emissions to below 200g/km.
For improved handling, the vehicle will be equipped with a revised version of the Evo's highly rated four-wheel drive system, S-AWC, which integrates steering, braking and traction control.
The switch represents a huge gamble for Mitsubishi. Producing the diesel hybrid will take the Evo out of the competition. Its appeal in key markets such as the US and Japan would also be lowered where diesels have not yet achieved widespread acceptance.