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Mitsubishi Evo XI will be mean and green

Rumours of a hybrid drivetrain for Mitsubishi’s next-generation Evolution performance flagship are gaining momentum, with a new report by Japanese magazine Holiday Auto suggesting that the next Evo will maintain its traditional turbo petrol and all-wheel drive attributes with green-friendly plug-in hybrid power.

According to the report, the Evo will benefit from technology developed for efficiency-focused models like the new plug-in Outlander SUV to improve on the current model’s combined fuel consumption of at least 10.1L/100km, while boosting performance to new levels.

Porsche, McLaren and Ferrari have recently proven that the words performance and hybrid are not at all mutually exclusive with their 918 Spyder, P1, and LaFerrari fastest-ever models, and it’s only a matter of time before such tech trickles down to more affordable performance models like the Evo.

The Mitsubishi is not the only bang-for bucks champion in line for hybridisation, with Nissan’s next GT-R also set to incorporate some form of efficiency-boosting electrification and Honda has confirmed a similar shift for its upcoming NSX.

Holiday Auto suggests that the Evo will use a similar dual electric motor layout to the Outlander PHEV, but will ditch the SUV’s atmo 2.0-litre petrol engine for a smaller 1.1 litre turbo unit similar to that used by the XR and AR concepts shown in Tokyo recently.

Mitsubishi is reportedly targeting outputs similar to a 3.0-litre aspirated engine for the Evo-spec 1100cc unit, which suggests something in the vicinity of 170kW, before electric power is factored in.   

Such a 155kW/L specific output would mark a significant jump from the 108.6kW/L achieved from the 217kW 2.0-litre turbo unit in the existing Evo X, and exceed even the 133.1kW/L achieved by 265kW 2.0 litre four powering the Mercedes A45 and CLA45 AMG twins.

Even with the Outlander PHEV’s dual 60kW electric motors, a circa-170kW petrol engine would have the potential to trounce the current Evo X, but these could be uprated in the pursuit of GT-R rivalling performance reported elsewhere.

Also key to a hybrid Evo’s performance potential will be maintaining the Outlander PHEV’s battery system location ahead of the rear axle for the benefit of weight distribution.

Other reports have suggested that the next Evolution will require a bespoke platform to deal with its unique packaging and performance demands, suggesting it could lose the Lancer name for the first time in the model’s history.

Such a repositioning would mirror Nissan’s GT-R, which was distanced from the Skyline nameplate for the first time when the current R35 model launched in 2007.

The next-generation Lancer is set to ride on a platform shared with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, but it is unclear whether this strategy extends to the mooted Evo replacement.

This reporter is on Twitter: @Mal_Flynn