The next Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is likely to be a plug-in hybrid that uses an electric motor to take the place of the turbocharger traditionally used in the performance saloon.

The Evo XI is set to use the same platform as the PX-MiEV plug-in hybrid concept from last year’s Tokyo motor show, a car that previewed the firm’s forthcoming hybrid technology.

Artist renderings of the Mitsubishi Evo XI

This means that the new Evo’s 2.0-litre petrol engine will be naturally aspirated but will be boosted by an electric motor with lithium ion batteries.

The electric motor will drive the front wheels, while the petrol engine will drive the rear wheels, making the Evo XI four-wheel drive.

The car will behave more like an EV than a petrol-powered car, and will give drivers the option of driving in electric-only mode for short distances, significantly improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.

A Mitsubishi insider told Autocar, “The new electric motor will in effect work like a turbo, only smoother, so there’s no need to worry about power delivery.”

The car will also get a new suite of driver assistance systems, some of which were originally destined for the Evo X.

Active Steering and Roll Control Suspension were developed for the current car but were shelved due to a combination of a lack of cash, a spate of recalls connected to electronics and the requirement to focus on developing more fuel-efficient engines.

The Evo XI will also be fitted with E-AYC, which regulates torque distribution between the rear wheels.

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