2008 Mitsubishi Evolution

Throwback Thursday: 2008 Mitsubishi Evolution

The Beatles sang of wanting a revolution as a way to change the world. For Canadian car enthusiasts, the past 16 years has been not so much about wanting a revolution to change the world, but rather our desire to change the order form at the local Mitsubishi dealer to include the as yet unattainable.

You say you want a Lancer Evolution? Canada, your voice has been heard!

Nine generations later, we finally get a taste of what it means to drive this affordable, world-class sports sedan. Having just spent a week driving one of the first EVO’s to arrive here; I can assure you the long wait has been worth it!

The 1st generation Lancer Evolution was introduced way back in 1992. Editions I-III launched the icon in October of that year and lasted until February, 1995.

In the fall of 1996, the 2nd generation Lancer Evolution was born. Editions IV-VI took the sedan to new levels of performance, wetting the appetites of car enthusiasts around the world. The 3rd generation Lancer Evolution began production in January 2003 and continued unabated until August, 2006.

For our part, Canadians decried the absence of the Lancer Evolution as unwarranted. Why should our neighbours to the south have access to one of the finest sports sedans and not us? In reality, our market was still relatively small and adapting the car to meet our standards did not make financial sense for Mitsubishi Motors. That was then, this is now!

The 4th generation, 10th edition of the Lancer Evolution is a masterpiece of technology. Mitsubishi refers to it as a new halo for the brand. Priced to start at $41,998, the GSR model represents one of the great buys in high-performance automobiles at any level. If this is a halo, pass the sunglasses before I permanently damage my eyes.

The heart of the Lancer Evolution is the new 4B11. All aluminum, the turbocharged and intercooled engine produces 291 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 300 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. Replacing the outgoing 4G63, the new engine is 12 kgs lighter.

Mitsubishi admits there is even more power available with the 4B11 engine and expects improvements to increase horsepower levels well beyond 300 in the coming years. How high is anyone’s guess and they weren’t willing to provide specific target numbers. Suffice it say, however, the class-leading 304 horsepower available in the new Subaru WRX STi is certain to be eclipsed.

Turbocharged engines, in particular, have that momentary kick when the unstoppable force of a potent motor is fully unleashed on unsuspecting pavement. With the Evolution, power increases rapidly all the way to redline. Once there, a high pitched howl pleads for the next gear, allowing you to start the process all over again.

Driving at speed is akin to what it must feel like to control a jet fighter. Accelerate, shift, turn or straighten the wheel at almost any speed and the Evolution comes alive in your hands.

A 5-speed manual is the only transmission available on the GSR. Designed with short throws, it feels light in the hand and engages each gear with a solid click. As you would expect, given the amount of available horsepower, the clutch seems weighted when compared to a lesser vehicle.

Super All Wheel Control provides a holistic approach to handling. Comprised of four components, AYC, (active yaw control) ACD, (active center differential) ASC, (active skid control) and ABS, the mighty sedan responds with athletic prowess.

Disconnecting the system is easily accomplished from the steering wheel control. Once off, power sliding the Evolution through turns is a must. This is one sedan that longs for gravel roads as an excuse to get sideways and let the driver have all the fun. Hopefully your passenger won’t mind the view out the side window.

A rapid press on the brake pedal unleashes the stopping power of large Brembo ventilated brakes featuring 1-piece rotors. Up front reside 4 piston calipers, while in back 2 piston calipers keep everything pointed in the right direction. Even on loose dirt or snow, the stopping power of the Evolution GSR is mind-numbingly quick.

Aerodynamically the Mitsubishi Evolution features a shark inspired front end. The large grille, hood ducts and air outlets breathe life into the predator beneath. Rear diffusers help channel airflow under and out the back for increased traction.

Inside, the Mitsubishi Evolution features comfortable Recaro front seats, a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, 7 airbags and a high contrast gauge cluster with LCD information display. A 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system handles the tunes, though I rarely needed more than the sound of a rally inspired sports sedan straining towards redline.

Thankfully, the long wait for the Lancer Evolution in Canada is over. A superior performing, affordable supercar, it has the capability of changing the way we define fun-to-drive. With an estimated 600 available in the first year of production, don’t wait too long to get yours. The line-up has already started.

2008 Mitsubishi Evolution
Trim levels available: GSR
As Tested, (before taxes): $41,498
Freight: $1,245
Options: none
Configuration: front engine/all-wheel drive
Engine/Transmission: 2.0L MIVEC Turbocharged/Intercooled/5spd manual
Power/Torque: 291 hp/300 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Premium unleaded (55L)
Observed fuel economy: 10.8 L/100 km, (774 km)
Competitors: Subaru WRX STi, Infiniti G37, BMW 1-Series, Audi A4

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