2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

Mention the name Mitsubishi to different people and you'll likely get two startling different images. Environmentalists will focus on the company's strides in developing EVs, while performance enthusiasts will point you toward the Lancer Evolution. The prevailing wisdom was that Mitsubishi would cancel the latter to concentrate on the former, but the latest intel suggests that the two will be reconciled with a new Evo around the corner.

Although Mitsubishi is reportedly working to streamline its lineup from 23 models on 12 different platforms to 13 models on 7 by 2016, the next Evo will stand as an exception. Like Subaru did with the formerly Impreza-based WRX (or for that matter Nissan with the formerly Skyline-based GT-R), the new Evo won't have anything to do with the next Lancer, which itself will be based on a Renault-Nissan platform.

On that unique platform, Mitsubishi is likely to install a small direct-injection turbo engine (potentially a diesel) that could be based on the 1.1-liter, three-cylinder turbo engine in the XR-PHEV concept we saw in Tokyo, supplemented by small electric motors with lightweight batteries and driving all four wheels through an enhanced version of the company's Super All-Wheel Control system. As to whether the Evo name will carry over, that remains to be seen, but if these reports prove accurate, its spirit could very much live on.