We miss few recently defunct cars like we miss the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, which bowed out at the end of the 2015 model year. Born of rally and bred for the street, the car evolved to become a high-tech, if somewhat heavy, piece of asphalt artillery.
Now, though, it might be set for a comeback, and we don't mean in the tortured and demented hybrid SUV form that Mitsubishi hinted at with 2017's e-Evolution concept, shown above.
Autocar, citing anonymous sources out of Japan, reported Thursday that Mitsubishi is now plotting the return of the Evo as a high-performance sedan and hatchback. Standard Lancer sedan and hatch models would also need to be approved for the plan to go ahead, per the report.
The key is 2016's tie-up with Renault Nissan, which has provided the relatively small Mitsubishi with access to new platforms and powertrains. According to the sources, a potential platform is the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance's CMF modular design.
2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition
Meanwhile, the powertrain is said to be the one being developed for a next-generation Renault Megane RS, in this case a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. The future Renault hot hatch would also use the CMF platform, essentially making the two cars twins under the skin.
However, to help differentiate them, the future Megane RS would stick with the current model's front-wheel-drive format while the potential Evo XI would feature a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, just like its predecessors. The Evo would also likely benefit from electrification, most likely a mild-hybrid system able to aid the engine during high loads. What kind of potency are we talking about? The reported number is 341 horsepower.
Don't hold your breath waiting for a new Evo, though. Renault is only now working on an update of the current Megane range, so the next-generation model is still a few years out. And considering Mitsubishi likely hasn't approved a future Evo yet, the car's release will be even further out.
There are worthy alternatives coming down the pipeline much sooner. New generations of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R are due in the next 12-18 months, and shortly after new Subaru WRX and WRX STI models should join the fray.