Earlier this week, we were struggling to conjure up any kind of enthusiasm for the relaunch of Ralliart. Although there is a promise of more to come, including motorsport activities, for now, the Mitsubishi sub-brand’s main activities consist of slapping some stickers and mudguards on a pick-up truck and an SUV for the Thai market.
We weren’t the only ones underwhelmed by this new ‘era’ for the once-great organisation. Kolesa.ru reacted by imagining a universe in which Mitsubishi never lost its performance car mojo and gave us the Lancer Evolution XI we so crave. The publication did so via some renders, which CT was kindly given permission to reproduce.
The images don’t use the current-generation Lancer, as that’s no more than a rehashed version of the old one which Mitsubishi turned into the Evo X. Instead, the base car seems to be an Audi RS3 saloon, but so comprehensively transformed that it took us a moment or two to realise.
It taps into Mitsubishi’s current design language, featuring the big ‘Dynamic Shield’ front grille combined with neat, slimline headlights. Just above, there’s a sizeable bonnet scoop. At the other end, we have Y-shaped taillights and, of course, a prominent rear wing.
Back to reality, things aren’t so rosy. There’s said to be strong demand from shareholders for a new Evo, but Mitsubishi president Takao Kato dismissed the prospect of it happening any time soon. “The company is still not strong enough,” he said (translated from Japanese) at the most recent shareholder annual general meeting, adding, “We had a big deficit in the previous fiscal year”. The firm is busy restructuring amidst a 312 billion yen (£2 billion) loss in the 2020 fiscal year, which will see it downscale European operations and exit the UK market entirely.
Kato-san is keen to “put out the cars that fans are waiting for” once the company is in a healthier financial state, but the window of opportunity to produce a car powered by a high-powered combustion engine is shrinking. In other words, don’t count on it.