Friday 11 June 2010

Next generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X to be diesel-hybrid

Mitsubishi is planning a drastic overhaul of its Lancer Evolution by changing the next model into a diesel hybrid. The switch of drivetrain is designed to save the Evo from strict economy and emissions regulations while saving its trademark mid-range punch.

Mitsubishi is said to have given serious thought to axing the Evo model altogether. As recently as a month ago, sources in Japan said an earlier project to switch the car to a petrol hybrid powertrain and base it on the PX-MiEV SUV concept’s platform was dead. But now, the firm’s R&D section has been given approval to push the car in a different direction: a diesel hybrid.

Engineers hope that the mix of clean-diesel torque and electric motor assistance will allow the Evo XI to deliver a 0-62mph time of under 5 seconds, yet pump out CO2 emissions of under 200g/km. Handling will be entrusted to a revised version of the Evo’s highly rated 4WD system, S-AWC, which integrates steering, braking and traction control.

The switch is a result of a big gamble for Mitsubishi. Diesel hybrid will, in effect, rule the Evo out of rivalry and could limit its demand in key markets such as the U.S and Japan, where diesels have yet to gain widespread approval.

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