The Revived Mitsubishi Evo Should Be a Reskinned, Rebadged, Four-Door Nissan GT-R

A couple of months ago I received an email from Mitsubishi’s PR department regarding an “exciting product reveal” coming in the spring of 2021. “An exciting new car from Mitsubishi? Could they really, finally be coming out with an Evo XI?” I optimistically wondered. Of course, it wasn’t a new Evo but rather the new Outlander crossover based on an existing platform shared by members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, a group Mitsu became part of in late 2016, months after the final Evo X was built. The company declined to confirm specifically which platform the Outlander is built on but it’s very probably the one that underpins the Nissan Rogue. This gave me an idea.

It’s become increasingly clear that unless Mitsubishi Motors wins the corporate equivalent of the lottery, the company will not be bringing back the Lancer Evolution anytime soon without significant help from another automaker. But…what if it did get help from another automaker? What if Mitsubishi brought the Evo back in the form of a reskinned, rebadged, retuned, repackaged, four-door Nissan GT-R? 

Think about it: both nameplates have historically been famous for cars that pack highly capable all-wheel-drive systems into relatively unassuming bodies. Out-of-the-box, Japanese track weapons good for obscenely high cornering speeds. And now their creators are partners in a corporate alliance, sharing parts and platforms. Why not take the GT-R drivetrain and use it to resurrect the dearly departed Evo? If you look at the last Evo head-on, the two cars even look kinda similar, with their gaping, darkened, hat-shaped grilles.

And to those who’d like to argue that the Nissan’s 560-plus horsepower 3.8-liter V6 would feel decidedly un-Evo on the basis of it not being a turbocharged 2.0-liter, I encourage you to remember and reflect on what exactly the word “evolution” actually means. I know how much Car Folks hate change especially when it comes to legendary performance cars, but if there’s one vehicle out there that’s allowed to change, it’d be the Evolution.

It wouldn’t even be the first time GT-R internals have been repurposed into a more practical shape. Remember the GT-R-powered Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept? Or the ridiculous Juke-R? It’s entirely possible to fit Godzilla’s powertrain into something that isn’t a GT-R, is what I’m trying to say. Plus, a GT-R Evo would certainly be cooler than a production version of that e-Evolution electric concept crossover Mitsubishi trotted out a few years ago.

Do it, Mitsubishi. What do you guys have to lose? Oh, and drop the “Lancer”. Just “Evolution” this time. It’s cleaner.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: chris.tsui@thedrive.com

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