Saturday, June 2, 2012

Evolution - the HOT Mitsubushi Lancer

Photo: Victor Llana (
I got my chance to drive the enormously powerful Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution recently. It's an interesting product, because it's powerful and firm-riding while being based on a plain four-door sedan. Kind of a Pontiac GTO for today. The big difference between the GTO and the Evo, though, is that this modern muscle car uses a 2.0 liter engine (that's right) that puts out, thanks to turbocharging and intercooling, 291 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque!

Yes, you read that one right. And it comes with the goods young performance car enthusiasts want. Brembo brakes (that you can see through the 18-inch alloy wheels). A huge rear spoiler that "spoils" the view behind while looking cool (or ridiculous, depending on what you care for. The body ground effects panels below the doors stick out like running boards--very cool, but  don't step on them (there's a warning on them to make sure you don't).

There's always something entertaining about a car that pulls you ahead when you step on the gas pedal. This one does--and sounds fiercer than you might expect with just two liters under the hood (which has two vents and a naca duct, by the way).The engine runs at just over 3,000 rpm at 65 mph so you'll hear the engine a lot on the freeway. My tester sported a five-speed manual with a 0.761 overdrive fifth gear. You can order up a six-speed automatic.

Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) keeps all four wheels gripping the pavement. It's a combination of Mitsubishi's All-Wheel Control and Active Yaw Control, meaning that it sends engine torque to the outside or inside rear wheels depending on available traction, so the wheels with the most grip on the road receive the most power. In addition, three driver-selectable modes let you choose the surface. I found Tarmac (the road), Gravel, and Snow settings--but used only the first.

There are sporty Recaro buckets inside with hard bolsters to keep you in place during the antics you're sure to perform with this beautiful beast. My wife didn't care for them--especially when one bolster surprised her while she was getting into the car. Also reminding you of the sportiness you've got is the billet metal emergency brake handle with "Lancer Evolution" inscribed into it.

My Wicked White tester had a five-speed manual--but you can order up a six-speed automatic. The manual felt solid and mechanical--not the best but rewarding in its authentic feel. I did stall the car a couple of times, though. but if you lived with it that wouldn't happen.

The Lancer is a pretty nice looking car overall, even without the go-fast add-ons, although the huge air intake up front is a little frightening. I drove the non-turbo not hotrod five-door sportback a while ago and it was very pleasant. The issue, if there is one, is that for $35,000 the folks who want the car (young guys) may not be able to afford it, and the people looking for a $35K sports sedan may prefer a BMW 3 series. But for a week it was big fun.

1 comment:

Air Intake Kits said...

I have been a fan of the Lancer Evo for a long time now. I love how the car performs and the handling is just super awesome!