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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
The Lancer Evolution (colloquially known as the "Evo") is Mitsubishi's flagship sports car, initially based on the Mitsubishi Lancer sedan. Evolution models prior to version V were the officially approved (homologation) model for Mitsubishi's efforts in the World Rally Championship's Group A class and SCCA Pro Rally Championship. In order to follow these rules, the Evolution is based on the same platform as the Lancer compact car, but is much more powerful and the only part in common between the Evo and the Lancer is the basic frame. Eight street versions of the Evolution have been produced from 1993 up to today. Evo VI, VII and VIII did not need to meet WRC homologation requirements.
The Evo was originally intended only for Japanese markets but demand on the 'grey import' market led the Evolution series to be offered through limited type-approval in the United Kingdom and in various European markets from around 1998 (Evo V-VI). The demand for import sports cars in the United States eventually made Mitsubishi decide to import the eighth-generation Evolution to the US in 2003. The current 2005 Evolution (US market) includes a turbocharged 276 horsepower (205 kW) inline four-cylinder engine and a full-time all wheel drive powertrain. 2006 Models are all 286 horsepower (213 kW) with 10 additional horsepower realized from turbocharger diffuser adjustments. Variable valve timing is also an Evolution first in 2006 coming in the form of MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve-timing-and-lift Electronic Control). The Japanese-spec cars were limited by a gentleman's agreement to advertise no more than 280 PS (276 bhp), but various versions available in other markets, particularly the UK, have official power outputs up to 405 bhp (302 kW).
The Lancer Evolution was unique among its competitors in the World Rally Championship in that it's a homologation Group A car slightly modified to be able to race competitively against WRC class cars. The Evolution however has now been replaced by a the Lancer/Carisma GT and the new Lancer WRC04, the Evos however still compete in the Group A and Group N classes.
In some European markets, the Evo was sold as the Mitsubishi Carisma Evolution. Proton Motors of Malaysia builds a nearly identical copy of the Evolution as the Proton Pert.
The Evolution I was introduced in 1992 to compete in the World Rally Championship. Using the VR-4 drivetrain, Mitsubishi put it in the Lancer (known as the Mirage in the United States) chassis, and sold it in GSR and RS models. The latter was a stripped-down club racing version that lacked power windows and seats, ABS, a rear wiper, and had steel wheels to save approximately 155 lb (70 kg) less than the 2730 lb (1238 kg) GSR, while the former came with all of the conveniences of a typical street car. It came with Mitsubishi's 2.0 L turbocharged DOHC 4G63 engine producing 247 PS (244 hp/182 kW) at 6000 rpm and 228 ft·lbf (309 N·m) at 3000 rpm, along with all-wheel drive which would become a trademark on all EVO models. 5,000 EVO I's were sold between 1992 and 1993.
The successful EVO I was changed in December of 1993, and was produced until 1995. It consisted mainly of handling improvements, including minor wheelbase adjustments, larger swaybars, bodywork tweaks including a larger spoiler, and beefier tires. Power output was increased to 256 PS (252 hp/188 kW) from the same engine and torque was unchanged for both GSR and RS models.
Once again the EVO II was tweaked in 1995 with most of the minor changes affixed to the previous model. Mitsubishi's goal for the third generation was improving cooling and reducing lift, and a revised turbocharger and increased compression ratio of 9.0:1 meant a 10 PS (9.9 hp/7.4 kW) boost to 266 PS (262 hp/196 kW). 7,000 were sold between 1995 and 1996, making it the best-selling EVO yet.
The Lancer platform was completely changed in 1996, and along with it the EVO, which had grown extremely popular throughout the world. A new twin-scroll turbocharger, limited-slip front differential on the RS model, increased power to 280 PS (276 hp/206 kW) at 6500 rpm and 260 ft-lbs. (352 Nm) of torque at 3000 rpm, and Mitsubishi's new Active Yaw Control (which adjusted torque split individually to the rear wheels to minimize understeer) meant that the 6,000 EVO IV's produced all sold quickly. The EVO IV can be distinguished by its two huge foglights on the front bumper, which would become yet another trademark of the Evolution series. This new generation marked the end of lightweight EVOs in favor of more technology and power.
In 1997, the WRC created a new class, "World Rally Car", and while these cars still had to abide by Group A standards, they did not have to meet homologation rules. Mitsubishi completely redesigned the EVO IV with this in mind and introduced the EVO V in January of 1998. All aspects of the car were changed, most notably the turbocharger, brakes and cylinder bore (by 0.3 mm) that had both increased in size. Torque was increased to 275 ft·lbf (373 N·m) at 3,000 rpm. Horsepower officially stayed the same, at 280 PS (276 hp/206 kW) as agreed by Japan's automotive gentlemen's agreement that all cars would have 276 or less hp, but reputable sources claim horsepower was actually somewhat higher. More aggressive bodywork finished the package along with Brembo brakes.
The EVO VI's changes mainly focused on cooling, once again, and engine durability. It received a larger intercooler, larger oil cooler, and new pistons, along with a titanium-aluminide turbine wheel for the RS model, which was a first in a production car. Also, the EVO VI received new bodywork yet again, with the most easily spotted change in the front bumper where the huge foglights were reduced in size and moved to the corners for better airflow. A new model was added to the GSR and RS lineup; known as the RS2, it was an RS with a few of the GSR's options. Another limited-edition RS was known as the RS Sprint, and was tuned by Ralliart to be lighter and more powerful with 330hp.
Yet another special edition EVO VI was also released in 1999: the Tommi Mäkinen edition, named after Finnish rally driver Tommi Mäkinen. It featured Recaro seats, 17" wheels, a MOMO steering wheel and shift knob, and came in an exclusive shade of red with special decals, replicating Mäkinen's rally car's colour scheme. This car is also sometimes referred to as an EVO 6.5.
It was during the EVO VI's model run that American car enthusiasts, who had been previously denied the Evolution models, began to clamour for its introduction to the States. This was primarily due to exposure of the Evolutions in movies, anime shows like Initial D, and video games such as the Gran Turismo series.
In 2001, the Mitsubishi decided to race in the WRC class instead of the Group A class, and thus did not need to follow homologation rules. The EVO VII was based on the larger Lancer Cedia platform and as a result gained more weight over the EVO VI, but made up for this with multiple important chassis tweaks. The biggest change was the addition of an active center differential and a more effective limited-slip differential, while a front helical limited-slip differential was added. Torque was increased again to 284 ft·lbf (385 N·m) with engine tweaks that allowed greater airflow, and horsepower officially remained at 280 PS (276 hp/206 kW).
The Evolution was changed again in 2003, this time sporting Super Active Yaw Control to handle traction and a 6-speed manual gearbox. It was available with 280 PS (276 hp/206 kW) in three trims: standard (GSR in Japan), RS (devoid of all excess components, such as wing, carpets, and radio) and MR, which came with a new vortex generator (a set of ridges above the rear window to improve aerodynamics). Both RS and MR Editions came with a revised limited-slip front differential.
Lancer Evolution VIII MR uses slick-response Bilstein shocks for improved handling. The aluminium roof panel and other reductions in body weight have lowered the centre of gravity to realize more natural roll characteristics. Detail improvements have also been made to Mitsubishi’s own electronic all-wheel drive, to the ACD 5 Super AYC 6 traction control and to the Sports ABS systems. The Lancer Evolution VIII displayed at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show took the MR designation traditionally reserved for Mitsubishi Motors high-performance models and used first on the Galant GTO.
In the United Kingdom, many special Evolutions were introduced, which included FQ320, FQ340, and FQ400 variants. They each came with 320, 340, and 400 hp (239, 254, AND 298 kW), respectively, and many fans suspect the letters FQ to stand for "f**kin' quick". The FQ400 is of noticeable interest: it produces 302.13 kW (405.2 hp), from its 2.0 L 4G63 engine. At 202.9 hp (151.3 kW) per litre, it has possibly the highest specific output per litre of any production automobile engine. BBC's Top Gear demonstrated how the FQ-400 could easily keep up with a Lamborghini Murcielago supercar around a race track.
The Lancer Evolution VIII was also the first Evolution to come to The United States, spurred by the astounding success of the Subaru Impreza WRX which had been released there just three years prior. However, the internal components for the U.S. versions were based largely on the specs for the Japanese Lancer Evolution VII. No U.S. spec Evolution has AYC, including the 2006 Evolution IX. The U.S. 2003 and 2004 GSR versions are without the helical limited-slip front differential and 6-speed transmission. The 2004 U.S. spec RS model does have a front helical limited-slip differential. All 2003, 2004 and 2005 RS and GSR models have the Japanese Evolution VII's 5-speed gear box. The MR edition was introduced to the U.S. in 2004, the first model to sport the ACD and still (as of 2005) the only model with a 6-speed transmission. The 2005 U.S. spec RS and GSR have the ACD standard, and the front helical limited-slip differential is now standard on all models. The timing and tune are also more conservative than it's Japanese counterpart, but this is mainly to adhere to the strict emissions regulations of the U.S. (California in particular).
Mitsubishi introduced the 2006 Lancer Evolution IX at the 2005 New York International Auto Show. The 2.0 L engine now gets MIVEC technology (variable valve timing), boosting power output to 286 hp (213 kW) and torque to 289 ft·lbf (392 N·m), however the IX keeps all the Evolution IX MR goodies like the bilstein shocks and the aluminium roof. Additional revisions from 2005 include a closer 5 speed gear ratio and new lighter Enkei wheels on non-MR models.
Three models will be available in US. All models use the same 286 hp (213 kW) engine. All models use a front and rear LSD, and an ACD.Standard/GSR - revised 5-speed, standard model RS - revised 5-speed, aluminium roof, gauge pack, minimal interior MR - 6-speed, Bilstein monotube shocks, aluminium roof, gauge pack
Three models will also be available in Europe and Japan. Although all models use the same 286 hp (213 kW) engine the torque differs from an model to another, the GSR produce 295 Ft-lb (400Nm)of torque while the RS and GT Produces 300 Ft-lb (407Nm)RS - revised 5-speed, aluminium roof, gauge pack, minimal interior, LSD and a titanium-magnesium turbine GT - revised 5-speed, this is basically the RS mechanically, but with some of the GSR's features (mainly interior pieces). GSR - 6-speed, Bilstein monotube shocks, aluminium roof, gauge pack, AYC, and double-din radio (this is roughly equivalent to the MR)
A 2,500-piece, limted edition Evolution IX station wagon will be released in Japan soon after the sedan's debut. It uses the back end of the Lancer Sportback wagon grafted onto the sedan. Two trim models will be introduced: the GT with a six-speed manual transmission and the GT-A with a 5-speed automatic. Other than the station wagon back end, redesigned seats, and some small chromed trim pieces, the car's interior is the same as the sedan. There is some debate over whether or not the wagon will be introduced to the United States or other markets.
Films & Games
Cars of the Evolution series have been featured in films including Jackie Chan's Thunderbolt and Who Am I? The American film 2 Fast 2 Furious, and the French films Taxi 2 and Taxi 3, along in the Japanese anime hit Initial D.
The car also features in many computer racing games including the popular driving simulator Gran Turismo, with the latest version featuring over 20 variants, including racing models.