Could Mitsubishi Revive the Lancer EVO?
Back in May 2020, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance got together and discussed the mid-term plans for the Alliance, or what the rest of the original six-year plan. The new strategy going forward is a type of “Follow-the-Leader” scheme where one automaker goes first, and if things go well, then the rest will follow in their respective regions before moving onto another. First automaker to take the leap is Mitsubishi Motors, headed into development for a vehicle from the C/D segment, which doesn’t tell us much. It could be a compact car, it could be a large car. Currently, large is all Mitsubishi Motors is, so we’re hoping for the former. Specifically, we’re hoping for the revival of a certain sports car. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was discontinued only a few years ago, and racers today remember it well.
Although many were sad to see the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution go, those that got their hands on one knew the potential of a Mitsubishi Motors sports car. Yes, a sports car – from Mitsubishi Motors – currently only producing SUVs. Or, at least, that’s how it’s been in the states. We only have the Outlander, Outlander Sport. Outlander PHEV, Eclipse Cross, oh and we have two sedans, the Mirage and Mirage G4. Don’t hear those names much anymore. Let’s forget that Mitsubishi has some sedans for a moment and take a look back at the Mitsubishi Lancer.
Just think of the possibilities if the next vehicle from Mitsubishi Motors that came to America was the revival of the Lancer Evolution? There is no denying that the automaker wants to bring the EVO nameplate back to the lineup. The only drawback is all we’ve heard about the Lancer returning is as another crossover, like Mitsubishi did with the Eclipse – a real sore spot for racecar fans. But with this recent announcement of a car in a C or D segment, a new hope has been blooming.
We can’t put all our bets on the return of the Lancer, but when you look at the modified Lancer vehicles today, it makes you think. If you didn’t know it, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was an easily modifiable vehicle, which is one of the main reasons fans of drag racing usually leaned towards the EVO. The most well-known is the Lancer Evolution VIII (eight generation). Popping up on BBC’s Top Gear, the Mitsubishi EVO VIII made a name for itself with its ability to regain and keep traction, even at the sharpest turns, that just screams race car.
Now, the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII is ten years old, at least. Able to modified, how does it stack up against the high-performance vehicles of today? Hoonigan wanted to know and took a Lancer EVO VIII modified with a very large new turbocharger to feed cool air into the engine, upgrading its horsepower to the 700-800 range. With some other small upgrades here and there, and a set of drag radial tires, the vehicle has a low center of gravity – perfect for race cars. This EVO went up against a current Audi RS3, outfit with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder and an even bigger turbocharger for 800 horsepower – period.
The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII smoked the Audi RS3 in the first round. In the second, Audi won due to a technicality. The RS3 comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but old as it is, the Lancer still had the H-pattern transmission for manual shifting and the driver missed when making the switch. So we’re just going to look the other way on that one. This is proof that the Lancer EVO still has a place in the hearts of race and sports car fans.
What do you think? Should Mitsubishi Motors bring back its sports cars? Or would it be too late with the auto industry turning towards alternative fuel? Let us know on University Mitsubishi social media.