Next Mitsubishi Evolution to ditch Lancer roots, go hybrid?

The next Evo may get a bespoke platform and a performance hybrid powertrain.

Mitsubishi is charting a radical new course for its next-generation Evolution performance sedan, a recent report finds.

Buoyed by a successful internal restructuring and anticipated record profits for fiscal 2013, the Japanese automaker is turning its attention toward designing an ambitious and advanced new Evolution that will share little more than a name - and perhaps not even that - with the current model, according to a Motor Trend report.

Drawing on lessons learned from the development of the Outlander PHEV crossover, Mitsubishi will likely fit the Evo with a hybrid AWD powertrain composed of two electric motors and an uprated version of the 135-horsepower 1.1-liter turbocharged three-cylinder than debuted in the XR-PHEV concept.

Critically, the electric motors will be significantly smaller and lighter than those in the Outlander PHEV. They will be mounted one apiece to the front and rear, a setup that, along with a battery pack mounted under the rear seats, will contribute to a perfect 50/50 front/rear weight distribution.

In conjunction with Mitusbishi's next S-AWC (super all wheel control) system, the setup is said to provide exemplary handling as well as much-improved fuel economy.

However, the powetrain is apparently too potent for the Renault Megane platform that will underpin the new Lancer, meaning that Mitsubishi will be forced to develop bespoke architecture for the Evolution.

As a result, the Lancer name will likely be dropped from the sport sedan. Given its stark departure from its predecessors, the Evolution moniker may be retired as well.

Rumors suggest that the Evolution successor is at least two years away from production.

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