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Mitsubishi might bring back the Lancer Evolution, report says

Mitsubishi hasn't exactly been faithful to its performance roots of late.

If it comes back, it'll have some solid competitors with which to do battle, both on- and off-track.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

In an effort to capture a greater chunk of the market in recent years, Mitsubishi has gone all-in on crossovers, eliminating sedans -- and their high-performance variants -- from the lineup at the same time. But it appears, at least according to one new report, that Mitsubishi might be pining a bit for the good ol' days.

Mitsubishi is planning on bringing back the Lancer Evolution, Autocar reports, citing "Japanese-based" sources. In an email, Mitsubishi denied to comment "on speculation." According to the report, it will be available both as a sedan and as a five-door hatchback. This would mark a big shift for Mitsubishi, at least in the US, where it literally sells only crossovers now, as the Lancer sedan was discontinued a couple years ago.

So where would Mitsubishi get all the necessary bits to put such a thing together without betting the entire farm? The answer is the Alliance -- the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, of course, not the Rebel Alliance. The report claims the new Lancer Evo would borrow some of the hi-po bits from the next-generation Renault Megane RS, in addition to sharing a new Alliance-developed platform. Like previous Evos, it's likely to pack a dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive.

Now playing: Watch this: Mitsubishi saves the best Lancer Evolution for last

The current Megane's most powerful form puts out about 300 horsepower, although Autocar reports that Mitsubishi will likely turn up the wick to be better positioned against cars like the Subaru WRX STI S209. It might even include a 48-volt mild hybrid system to add some instant electric torque to the mix.

Fun fact: The Renault Megane RS Trophy-R, a mega-hot version of the Megane RS, managed to steal the Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record away from the Honda Civic Type R earlier this year, besting its time 'round the 'Ring by three-ish seconds.

Our last brush with the Lancer Evolution came in late 2016. The Lancer Evolution Final Edition boosted output from its 2.0-liter turbo I4 to 303 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. We loved its old-school hydraulic steering and its on-track demeanor, but its age was apparent in everything from interior design to tech, and its on-road livability was straight-up difficult. In traditional next-generation fashion, I wouldn't expect many of those criticisms to come back when the Lancer Evolution does... if it does.