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2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution: From top of the world to rock bottom

The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is ready to make its dealer launch. How did the popular performance car go from top of the world to rock bottom?

The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is about to make its dealer launch and fans of the popular sports car are not too excited. How did one of the most popular sports cars on the planet go from being on top of the world to rock bottom? Mitsubishi spent lots of money and time developing one of the best rally cars on the planet since the 1980s and now the last Lancer Evolution is making its last appearance on the world scene.

Mitsubishi recently posted a picture of the Lancer Evolution of their Facebook page on Happy Fan Friday at the top of Pikes Peak which is 14,114 (4,302m) elevation and sits at the top of the world in Colorado. It’s a fitting image of where the car has been, and unfortunately the car is going to fall a long way before it's all over. How can an automaker take one of their most successful cars and let it drive off into obscurity?

Evolution has storied history

The Lancer Evolution made its mark in the World Rally Championship and caught the attention of performance fans around the globe. It became the Japanese automaker's flagship sports car and it became an icon in the performance car community around the world. The race car became known as the “EVO” with fans, and is a rally-inspired, turbocharged, all-wheel-drive, durable and finely tuned sports car.

Ten generations have been produced

Evolution is based on the same platform as the Mitsubishi Lancer, but used the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and AWD drivetrain from the original Galant VR-4. The first models were produced for the Japan market starting in 1993 and were later introduced into the UK and European markets in 1998.
Mitsubishi decided to export the Lancer Evolution to the United States in 2003 after watching the success Subaru had in the U.S. with their 2002 Impreza WRX, a direct competitor in other global regions. Ten street versions of the Evolution have been produced from 1993 up to today. Mitsubishi and Subaru have fought a battle both on and off the rally circuit which contributed to both their success.

The Lancer Evolution comes to an end

In spite of Mitsubishi having the best Lancer Evolution sales in August since 2008, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is moving in a new direction and will not produce the Lancer Evolution after the 2015 model year. Mitsubishi will not reveal their future plans for the EVO, but it looks like there will be a new performance car coming in the near future.

Evolution will get new architecture 

Even though MMC has been tight-lipped about their future performance car plans, enough has leaked out that we are beginning to see the future direction for a new sports car from Mitsubishi. It won’t have a Lancer Evolution badge, and it won’t look anything like the current sports car. The new car will not be based on the Lancer platform and will get its own architecture. The new Evolution will be different than anything we’ve seen before both in appearance and power and may even get a new name.

A new plug-in hybrid powertrain

The new Mitsubishi Evolution performance car will likely have some form plug-in hybrid powertrain. Mitsubishi has been perfecting the technology in their Outlander PHEV rally car and the MiEV Evolution III Piked Peak race car. This technology has been successfully developed in grueling environments to the point where Mitsubishi is ready to put it into production in a new performance vehicle. The new Evolution will be highly efficient and will incorporate a smaller engine, smaller electric motors, and lighter, better-performing batteries for the new performance package.

Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko recently said, "The new model will take a completely different direction. What you will see in the near future will be a totally new EVO that employs innovative technology and inspired handling."

The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is ready to make its dealer launch and it's been on the top of the mountain and will drop to rock bottom when the performance car finishes its production run next year. But 2016 could bring a new era to Mitsubishi’s Evolution and will bring it back to the top again.

Other 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution stories of interest.
Why 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution fans are feeling blue today

Image source: Mitsubishi via Mikhail P. of Los Angeles, CA