Still angry Mitsubishi didn’t make a Lancer XI? Fast cars are back on the agenda, says local and global bosses
The brand that brought us ten generations of scintillating small rally-inspired Lancer Evolution sedans wants to get back into performance models again.
Mitsubishi exited the performance car world in 2017, when it discontinued its much-adored Lancer Evolution, in tenth and final X guise, with no replacement. The company said at the time that it needed to focus on SUVs and crossovers.
While no product plans are confirmed and it’s difficult to speculate, Mitsubishi Australia CEO Shaun Westcott told local fans of the brand to watch this space.
“I can go as far as to quote our global CEO and say that Ralliart is definitely something that is under study by Mitsubishi,” Westcott told Chasing Cars.
“And Ralliart, not just a sticker pack but as in a performance vehicle, is definitely on the radar.”
However, the Outlander Vision Ralliart concept previewed in early 2023 is a proper performance SUV with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a speculated 200kW. However, no production plans for the concept have been forthcoming.
“I think there’s a possibility we could see something in the Ralliart space that could be very exciting in the future,” said Westcott. “[But] I can’t say which products.”
The Ralliart brand was founded in Japan in 1984, its most famous local product the Ralliart Magna. The performance arm was “scaled down” significantly in 2010.
Mitsubishi Australia has refused to rule out a Ralliart version of its new-generation Triton ute.
Ford’s Ranger Raptor has demonstrated the market for performance-focused dual-cab utes, even in its previous guise with a turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine and Fox-branded suspension.
It’s a trend Toyota is also pursuing with its “rally inspired” Hilux GR Sport, which is fitted with KYB monotube dampers.
At a recent preproduction drive of its new Triton, Mitsubishi proudly proclaimed the advantages of its locally tuned and calibrated suspension.
Westcott referenced the Mitsubishi Triton Ralliart competing in the Asia Cross Country Rally 2023.
“We have a Ralliart vehicle in there, which happens to be a Triton at the moment and has done very well,” he said.
“So Ralliart is an area we continue to explore and learn from, our experiences in the Asian Cross Country Rally and as Mitsubishi has demonstrated over many generations of vehicles, and iterations of vehicles, that we use the knowledge we gain from that type of stuff and build it back into our cars.
“You can see that with Lancer Evo and Super All-Wheel-Control. And where we are today. We actually don’t just do things as sponsorship or naming exercises. We actually learn from them and we use the technology.”
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