i12finIe2nx1

It appears Mitsubishi’s hardcore Evolution nameplate will live on, even though its current iteration as a Lancer-based rally-bred turbo sedan appears to be nearing its end. According to an Autocar UK report, there are plans afoot for an Evo version of the next-generation Mitsubishi ASX – previewed by Geneva’s XR-PHEV II concept – complete with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

This echoes the statement made by the company’s product boss Kanenori Okamoto last year, who said that the Lancer Evolution “will be replaced in spirit by an SUV with high performance.”

If produced, the high-performance SUV could draw from the lessons learnt from Mitsubishi’s MiEV Evolution electric Pikes Peak racer, and will feature four-wheel drive (as befits the Evo lineage) rather than the front-wheel drive layout of the concept. “It has to be light and fast – something performance-oriented,” said Mitsubishi Motors president Tetsuro Aikawa. “That’s what we want.”

mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-2015-us-a

Such a vehicle, however, is only expected to enter production “far in the future,” after the launch of the new ASX slated for next year. “To develop these kind of vehicles, we have to sell a lot of the base models, so we can cover the research and development costs,” said Aikawa.

The motoring weekly noted that a high-performance plug-in hybrid Evo would be an ideal halo car to promote sales of Mitsubishi’s regular, more efficient models such as the Outlander PHEV.

Mitsubishi has, in fact, produced an Evo SUV, if only in the virtual realm – the Concept XR-PHEV Evolution was introduced for the Gran Turismo 6 racing game, mating a plug-in hybrid powertrain to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) four-wheel drive system.

Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV Evolution