NEW YORK – Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. will bring a special-edition Evolution compact sedan to the U.S. this fall that will wear an MR designation, company CEO Finbarr O’Neill says at the New York International Auto Show.

The MR already is on sale in Japan, serving as a limited-edition version of the rally-inspired Evo, the Japanese name for the car.

In the U.S., the Evolution MR will get about 10 hp more than the Japanese 270-hp version and will be priced above $30,000. Mitsubishi currently sells some 4,500 Evolutions annually, a spokesperson says.

The MR will add sales to the vehicle line, taking it above current totals, although the auto maker has yet to decide how many U.S.-destined MRs it will build in Japan.

Mitsubishi will sell an MR version Evolution in the U.S. starting this fall.

Mitsubishi expects MR sales to be only “a percentage of what Evolution sales are,” the spokesperson says.

O’Neill says the decision to bring the MR to the U.S. comes as the company seeks to define what vehicles will serve as icons. “The Evolution is the DNA of what our lineup is about,” he says. “(Our future) has got to be led by some icon.”

O’Neill says Mitsubishi North America has failed to publicize the Evolution’s performance and heritage. Overseas, the vehicle is held in high regard for its proficiency in rally racing and street racing, he says, but its popularity here has been constrained to the so-called tuner crowd.

In addition to the horsepower bump, the MR is differentiated from the base Evolution by a 6-speed manual transmission, an active center differential and an aluminum hood that lowers the center of gravity.

jstoll@primediabusiness.com