Mitsubishi has been awfully quiet lately, with the only real news being that the iconic Lancer Evo is dead after 2015. What isn’t being talked about is the fact that the Japanese automaker had a very successful year of sales in 2014, which has opened up the prospects of a new Evo model.
It’s been rumored for a while that Mitsubishi is considering a high performance crossover, and the candidate may be the second generation ASX (or ‘Outlander Sport’ as its known here in the U.S.), due out next year. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV helped the brand to a record sales year in the UK, 158 percent higher than the year before, so a hot crossover, instead of a performance sedan may attract more buyers.
The proposed ASV Evo would use a hybrid powertrain and four-wheel drive to deliver performance rivaling the Audi RSQ3 and upcoming BMW X2 M. “Ultimately it all comes down to the financial case for it and whether the company has the resources to do it,” said Mitsubishi’s UK boss Lance Bradley.
The XR-PHEV II concept at the Geneva motor show last year may have been a preview to the ASX Evo, though the concept was front-wheel drive. Similar to the Lancer Evo, the high performance ASX would focus on power-to-weight instead of massive output.
Mitsubishi has experimented extensively with this recipe thanks to projects like the MiEV Evolution racer that danced up Pikes Peak last year. The XR-PHEV II concept developed 160 hp from its hybrid setup, but expect the ASX Evo to make something in the 300-horse range.
While this all sounds promising, Mitsubishi wasn’t committal on a production date, if at all. The automaker wants to sell a lot of the second-generation ASX crossovers before going all-in on a hotter version sometime after 2016.
Oh, and of course it’s not clear (and in fact, somewhat unlikely) that the model would make it to U.S. shores.