In Depth

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution XI: rally classic to return?

Sources say the rumoured performance saloon will share powertrain with the Renault Megane RS

Mitsubishi is set to bring back its rally-inspired Lancer Evolution just three years after the Japanese carmaker announced that its future efforts would be focused squarely on SUVs, according to reports.

Citing “Japanese-based sources”, Autocar claims that the upcoming successor to 2007’s Lancer Evolution X will offer “supercar-beating acceleration” in either “traditional four-door saloon or five-door hatchback body styles”.

The new performance car will “share key elements of its drivetrain” with the Renault Megane RS, as the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance continues to bear fruit, the motoring magazine reports. 

Although Mitsubishi has yet to comment publicly on the revival of the Lancer Evolution name, the plan is believed to be at an advanced stage.

Here’s everything we know so far about the Evo’s rumoured return:

When will it launch?

It’s unlikely that we’ll see the new Evo any time soon, sadly. Motor1 says the new model will use technology derived from the next Megane RS, rather than the current model. 

And while the Megane is due to undergo a mid-life update in 2020, the next-generation version of the front-wheel drive hatchback won’t arrive for a few more years.  

But every cloud has a silver lining. Given that most editions of the Evo were launched internationally, the next model is likely to make its way over to the UK when it finally does launch. 

Design

Ever since the first model rolled off the production line in 1992, Mitsubishi has stuck with the same four-door saloon silhouette for its Lancer Evolution. 

However, Autocar’s claim that the next-generation model will be available in both the conventional four-door form and as a five-door hatchback rings true, given that the standard Lancer range included a hatchback version before the range was axed, in 2016. 

Previous versions have all featured a large rear wing and aggressive bodywork, so we expect the same on the upcoming 11th generation car.

Engine and performance

Assuming the new Evo features the powertrain from the next-generation Megane RS, the performance car will be powered by a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing around 341bhp. 

But unlike the Megane RS, which is front-wheel drive, the Evo will mirror its predecessors by adopting “a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system”, says Motor Authority. A hybrid system is also expected to “aid the engine during high loads”, the US news site adds.

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