Mitsubishi is reportedly planning to overhaul its Lancer Evolution range, adding a diesel hybrid
According to Autocar, the switch of drivetrain is designed to "save the Evo from tightening economy and emissions regulations while preserving its trademark mid-range shove".
Up until around a month ago, sources in Japan said a project to switch the Evo to a petrol hybrid powertrain was dead. But now the project has switched direction and approval has been given for a diesel hybrid for the Evo XI.
Engineers hope that the mix of clean-diesel torque and electric motor assistance will allow the Evo XI to deliver a 0-100kph time of under five seconds, while cutting CO² emissions to under 200g/km.
If built, the hybrid system would reportedly send around 50 horsepower from an electric motor through the front wheels only, while around 300 horsepower from a four-cylinder turbodiesel would power the rear.
This arrangement would allow the next-generation Evo to drive short distances on electricity alone, while allowing the electric motor to assist low-speed acceleration in performance driving.
Two other high-tech additions are also planned: active steering and roll control suspension, intended to make the increasingly heavy Evo handle more nimbly.
The next-gen Mitsubishi Evolution XI isn't due to hit production until 2013.