Talk of a high-riding performance model from Mitsubishi is back in the press this week, thanks to comments from the brand’s UK boss, Lance Bradley.
Mitsubishi’s Evolution badge has been a hot topic in recent years. As the current ‘Evo’ nears retirement, speculation is rife that the carmaker will either drop the badge entirely, or take a dramatically different approach for its next iteration.
One potential direction that has been building steam is the idea of a small new performance SUV, based on the next-generation ASX.
Speaking with the UK’s Auto Express this week, Mitsubishi UK chief Lance Bradley said that, as the brand nears a more profitable position, a new Evo could become a priority.
“When you are making money you can do things that are good for the brand, but won’t necessarily make that much money,” Bradley said.
He added that, while the company is not yet at that point, “we’ve got a lot of senior management talking about it”.
In Mitsubishi’s case, with a replacement for the current Lancer still nowhere to be seen, the ‘ASX Evolution’ would be the company’s only performance offering.
If such a model comes to pass, we can likely expect much of its styling inspiration to come from the recent XR PHEV II concept.
An even wilder version of that concept has also been revealed in the past year, in the form of the purely digital ‘XR-PHEV Evolution’ concept developed for the Vision Gran Turismo racing game on the Sony PlayStation.
Sitting low and wide with huge racing wheels tucked inside flared guards, the virtual racer looks far closer to a potential Evo successor than the ‘regular’ concept.
Likewise, the XR-PHEV’s powertrain, which sees a small petrol engine matched with a 120kW electric motor, could provide a hint as to what will drive the new Evo.
That's a formula that is becoming more common in today's efficiency-focused performance world, but, again, it is mostly the prestige brands that are tying petrol and electric motors together for high-powered motoring.
Technologies drawn from Mitsubishi’s Pikes Peak racer, the all-electric 450kW MiEV Evolution III EV, could also feature.
Watch for more on the next-gen Evolution story to develop over the year ahead.