The redesigned Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is quicker and more refined than before, but has it gotten too civilized?
by Jim Gorzelany
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is the rally-inspired version of the company’s Lancer economy car. It packs a strong turbocharged engine in a compact package, making it quite fast. The “Evo,” as it’s called, has grown up recently, and its raw performance has been refined to make it more functional for daily driving.
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The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is available in GSR and MR versions. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder engine generates nearly 300 horsepower. A five-speed close-ratio manual gearbox is standard on the GSR trim level with a six-speed dual-clutch sequential-shift transmission coming exclusively in the top-performing MR model; it can either operate in automatic mode or be taken through the gears manually via magnesium steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Riding on a longer wheelbase and a wider track with better front-to-rear weight distribution for added handling prowess, the current Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution includes a long list of chassis control features for added stability. Its Super-All Wheel Control dynamic handling all-wheel-drive system incorporates an Active Center Differential, Active Yaw Control rear differential a limited-slip front differential, and Active Stability Control to send the proper amount of power to each wheel for maximum grip and control across a wide range of conditions and driving situations.
The current Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution”s lightweight aluminum suspension delivers a less tumultuous ride than in past models, which Mitsubishi says makes it more amenable as a daily driver. Those who pine for flat-out aggressiveness and are willing to sacrifice ride quality will want to choose the MR version, which offers assorted handling upgrades. These include heavy-duty shock absorbers, springs, and enhanced two-piece brake rotors. Oversized 18-inch wheels and tires are standard across the line, with the MR adding BBS forged alloy wheels.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is visually distinguished from the rest of the Lancer sedan lineup primarily in its bolder front-end styling that incorporates large chrome air intakes and engine heat outlets with a sharply sloping hood. An oversized rear spoiler is standard on the MR and optional on the GSR.
Inside, heavily bolstered Recaro sport seats integrate side-impact airbags; head curtain airbags for both rows of seats and a knee-height airbag for the driver are also included. Both versions of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution offer a long list of standard amenities, with noteworthy options including a premium Rockford Fosgate audio system, a navigation system with hard-disk digital audio storage, and a keyless entry/start system.
Is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution for You?
Buy the Lancer Evolution if
You want a rally-ready car for aggressive street driving or recreational racing, or just like the idea of having a quick and nimble pocket rocket.
Keep Looking if
Something more practical and more conservatively cast better fits your personality; you prefer more muscle or a svelte sports coupe.
Front seat passengers will find ample head, shoulder, and legroom, while rear riders might feel cramped, particularly if they”re sitting behind two six-footers.
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2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X: