The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, also known as the Evo, is probably not the most prolific sports car to ever come out of Mitsubishi Motors’ production line, but is certainly one of the most sought after by almost every racing team in the world.
Based on the Lancer design (thus the name Evolution) there are already 10 Evo versions created in the span of 16 years. The 2-litre, turbocharged engines and all-wheel drive systems has been the trademark of the Evo since its inception.
Originally intended for Japanese markets, Mitsubishi Motors decided to export the Evo to Europe in 1998 and into the U.S. markets by 2003 which was the 8th Evo series. It was even featured in 2 Fast 2 Furious where it became the favorite of the late Paul Walker in the film. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution sports a front, 2.0L MIVEC DOHC 16-valve Inline 4-cylinder, turbocharged/intercooled, engine. All-wheel drive, 5 and 6 speeds manual/automatic transmission gearbox, 291HP @ 6500 rpm, 300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm and fuel economy @ 17 MPG (city) and 23 MPG (highway).
The first generation Mitsubishi Evolution came in 1992 and it was basically a stripped-down version of the Lancer that lacked power windows and seats, a rear wiper, anti-lock brakes and heavy steel wheels. It’s top speed was 228 km/hour (142 mph) which is not bad for a mid-range rally car for its class. The Evolution II and III had significant improvements that caught the attention of the world in 1995, but Mitsubishi Motors set the rally standard in their fourth generation Evolution back in 1997. Subsequent versions of the Evo were followed by an unchallenged success in rally races all over the world which secured the Evo’s reputation for all time.
It was the Mitsubishi Evolution that also dominated most of the American and Canadian Rally Championships between 2002 to 2013. The top racers include Andrew Comrie-Picard, Robert Stout, and Sébastien Loeb. Meanwhile the 2014 Mitsubishi Evolution X, featured here from Miami Mitsubishi, boasts a ton of features in its design package that includes 60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, anti-theft alarm system, 7 airbag safety system, reinforced impact safety body configuration, super all-wheel control system, active yaw control, dynamic and responsive handling and a twin clutch SST transmission for smooth gear shifting.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is also recognized as one of the best import tuner vehicles alongside Subaru Impreza, Acura RSX, Toyota Supra and the Honda Civic. There have been rumors that the next Evo will be one made with AEV (all electric vehicles) modification in mind, but according to AutoCar UK’s journalist Matt Prior, Mitsubishi might transcend from the tenth Evo and into the AEV market. However, Osamu Masuko, the President of Mitsubishi Motors, said that they will be building more models for the Mitsubishi Evolution and will follow market demands closely.
There are few cars that can capture the hearts of drivers and racers but the Mitsubishi Evolution has been a mainstay in cross country rally competitions and even in street racing.