San Francisco: If you want world class performance and handling, but a Porsche 911 or Jaguar
XK isn't in your budget, you should take a look at the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
While the Evo, as it is called in gearhead circles, is
based on Mitsubishi's Lancer compact sedan, it is worlds apart after Mitsubishi tuners
turned it into as serious sport car that is ready for the race or rally course. Indeed,
the rally-bred Lancer Evolution was developed for competition in the hands of the best
drivers. Fortunately, the Lancer Evolution VIII is civilized enough for everyday driving,
at least for performance-minded owners.
The heart of the Evolutions is the awesome 2.0-liter, double
overhead camshaft (DOHC), 16-valve four cylinder engine. This turbocharged engine pumps
out 271-horsepower at 6500 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm. The turbocharger
features a water spray enhanced air-to-air front-mounted intercooler The Evo engine is
modified substantially to handle this tremendous power output.
Only a five-speed transmission is available and has been
proven in rally competition. Power is delivered to all four wheels via a full-time, AWD
system with 50/50 viscous coupled center differential, front open-type differential and
rear mechanical limited-slip differential. The EPA numbers for the Evolution are 18 mpg
city and 26 mpg highway, quite remarkable for all the power available. The fuel tank holds
Besides neck-snapping acceleration and 0 to 60 mph in just
over 5-seconds, the Evolution has almost unbelievable handling whether it is in a straight
line up to the car's top speed of 157 mph or while cornering at high speeds on all types
of road surfaces.
Outstanding braking is provided by the ventilated
BREMBO disc brakes on all four wheels. The Evolution rides on 17-inch ENKEI®
light-weight alloy wheels shod with Yokohama ADVAN high-grip tires.
The Evolution's body was stiffened immensely over the base
Lancer, which has very good unit body construction to begin with. The Evo gets welded
seams, thicker, reinforced suspension mounting points, and more substantial body member
The bottom line is a 160-percent improvement in flexural
rigidity and a 200-percent increase torsional rigidity. It is easy to distinguish the Evo
from the ordinary Lancers by the flared fenders and more aggressive front end that include
large inlets to get more air to the intercooler. A pair of four-bulb headlights with HID
composite low beams and projector-type high beams provides great nighttime illumination.
For the ultimate racer look, there is an optional carbon fiber rear wing that slightly
improves downforce over the rear axle, but only at very high speeds. The wing does hinder
Likewise, the interior is upgraded from regular Lancers. This
includes a leather-covered, three-spoke MOMO® steering wheel and leather-covered shift
knob. The complete Evo instrument panel includes a 170 mph speedometer plus a 9000-rpm
tachometer, which are both illuminated by red lighting. A 140-watt, six-speaker AM/FM/CD
stereo is standard on the Lancer Evolution VIII and a power moon roof is optional, as is a
315-amp seven-speaker Infinity AM/FM/CD Stereo system with trunk-mounted sub-woofer.
Recaro front seats are standard fare.
For more serious competition there is the Evolution RS. To
keep weight down, both the air conditioning and stereo systems are deleted. Besides
cutting weight by about a 100 pounds, the price is reduced by several thousand dollars
too. The list price for the Evolution VIII is $30,574 while the RS version lists for
While the Evo is not for everyone, it can be used for
commuting during the week and raced on weekends, at least the Evolution VIII version.
Steering is taut and precise and the brakes are outstanding. The handling is truly
impressive while the ride is surprisingly good considering the Evos intended purpose.
By Bill Siuru and ShawnStewart ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Mitsubishi Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
Download the Microsoft Word version here: 2004 Evolution
Column Name: The Evo has world class performance and handling
Topic: The 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Word Count: 695
Photo Caption: The 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Photo Credits: Mitsubishi Internet Media
Series #: 2004 - 29
Download the original image file here: 2004 Evolution 50k