Brembo Brakes left,Leather Recaro Seats middle, TC SST double clutch auto
Like: aggressive looks, stunning performance, AWD, sweet engine, super smooth auto(double clutch) gearbox
Not so much: interior looking a bit tired, fuel consumption, ride too firm for some
The Lancer Evolution is in the 10th generation which Mitsubishi decided wouldn’t be numbered as previous Evolutions, but within days of release it was known as the Evo X. In the 5 years it’s been with us the shape has held up well. It’s a boy-racer on steroids with bulging muscular mudguards covering the fat squat tyres. Only the very keen will pick the difference between the Evo and the pov models, but the massive “look at me” spoiler on the back gives a clue. It’s not just for decorations though, wind travelling over it forces the rear wheels down which is very handy on corners taken a little too enthusiastically. To pick the differences look for a larger front grill, large rear spoiler and flared guards.
In short the wedge shape may look a little old, but it’s still sexy as hell.
This is where the Lancer has copped a bit of stick over the years. Some have said it’s the cheap plastics that let it down while others say the low tech approach to interior design made the cabin look slightly poverty stricken. I think that’s all a bit mean. The cabin is not what an Evo is all about. It’s reputation has been forged on a rally circuit winning races against her arch nemeses, Subaru’s much lauded WRX. The seating is firm, very firm. The idea of the Recaro seats, clad in acres of dead cow, is to have big deep bolsters to hold you snug as you are thrust one way then the other. The Evo is capable of high speed cornering and without the help of the deep cushions you’d slide unceremoniously over the centre console and the gear selector contained thereon. Grown men are often heard squealing with glee when cornering, but no-one is really sure why. Pehraps that’s what you pay for. You’d expect such firm cushions to send your buttocks to sleep but they do not, not even on a good old fashioned Aussie roadtrip.
It would be churlish not to mention the ridiculously expensive 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system. Of course it can make your ears bleed but you can’t do it all day, and once you’ve gotten over the thumping base and have turned it down to a level that won’t scare dogs, it’s serene and homey. The head unit is new for this model year and replaces the tatty system that had become quite out of place in this kind of rocket-powered go-cart. It’s well worth the money. The only draw-back is the sub-woofer taking a goodly chunk of boot space. Panic not, you can still throw a whole bunch of DJ’s bags in without overly taxing your faculties.
The keyless entry/start/stop is the business. At first I wasn’t too keen on the starting knob. Unlike other brands, Mitsubishi has some whiz-bangery in the bowels of the dash which allow you to turn the knob placed over the ignition key hole. The key stays in your bag and only comes out to play of you have been tardy about replacing the fob battery. In that case you flick the knob off the key hole and insert your key as normal.
You have Climate control, lecky mirrors and auto headlights and wipers but no height adjustment on the driver’s seat. The stature-challenged will need to look for phones books.
Wow, just WOW!
Think rally rally rally. Dirt being kicked up by cars driven by hot sweaty hairy-chested men.
After entering the car by pressing the button on the exterior door handle, you’ve been able to plant your bum in the seat and squeeze your love handles into the side bolsters. You put your hands on the thick sports steering wheel and already feel like you’re being propelled through the countryside at an Olympic rate.
Then comes the first turn of the starting knob and the throaty 217KW turbo rasps into life. Keeping the revs just right will set off the more sensitive car alarms nearby and you feel powerful. You see, this is the kind of feeling that no auto maker can design into cars, it either brings it, or it doesn’t. Slipping the TC SST (twin clutch sports shift transmission) into drive means you’re ready. Gently pushing down on the accelerator makes the clutch engage, and you’re off. If you’re completely insane you’ll get to 100 kph in a mere 5.6 seconds. That may or may not sound fast but to go even a single second faster means spending about $150,000 more to buy a Porsche. I’ll stick to the Evo thanks very much.
For those who like three spins by breathing gently on the steering wheel will be disappointed because the sports steering is reasonably heavy. Normally I’d poo-poo such heavy steering but once you’re moving you’re able to tell exactly what the wheels are doing and it’s joyous. The only time it goes a bit wrong is at parking speeds where uber-wide tyres and heavy steering combine to turn a 3 point turn into a 20 point turn. A small price surely for looking so cool.
Whether it’s my imagination or not, the ride feels much better than it used to. Maybe I just have more padding than I once did, but the ride feels reasonably compliant especially for a hairy-chested no compromise rally car like the Evo. As an every driver, the Evo is eminently useable even with the firm steering.
Once on the open road the Lancer is magnificent. It could use an extra layer of sound deadening, but then you wouldn’t hear the fabulous exhaust note and that magnificent turbo. The tyres are also noisy, but it doesn’t matter because by now you’ll be completely beguiled. This love quickly turns to rampant lust as you hit the turns and the Super All-Wheel Control takes over. It shunts power to various wheels and applies braking to others and makes even an average driver look like a Schumacher. Macquarie Pass provides a good opportunity to practice quick direction changes and acceleration a spot of mindless acceleration. My advice is to use the “Sport” setting on the auto which sharpens the chassis. The steering, suspension and throttle all take it up a notch or 3 and it glues itself to the road even more firmly. It’s simply impossible unsettle it.
However, I beg of you, please do not under any circumstances push the sport button forward holding it for 3 seconds. Doing so tells the car you no longer value your life and puts it in “Super Sport” mode. It shuts off the clever-clogs safety gear and holds the revs at supersonic. I did this at low speed to test how the ride changes, and it firms up considerably, but unless you want your organs rearranged I shouldn’t bother. Shifting into “Super Sport” can only be done at a standstill but what Mitsubishi didn’t mention was turning “Super Sport” off happens the same way. Pulling back on the button brings up “normal mode” on the screen but the car won’t switch the stability control back on until you stop. I found this out on what was a mercifully dry day. A tiny dab of power going around a corner in a busy city street got us unstuck in a most untidy way. Under no circumstances must you lose your bottle or you may as well kiss your behind goodbye. The Evo will try to kill you, and unless you Jensen Button, you will surely die. Do not move above sport mode, ever. Leave “Super Sport” to the experts.
The Evo isn’t cheap at between $56,990 for the Evolution manual and $65,990 Evolution MR TC SST plus on-roads. The top model is the one to go for.
Would I buy one?
Yes I want to have its children.
NOTE:- our reviews are independent of car makers and retailers and in no way constitute advertising or promotion. If we like a car we say so, if we don’t we kick it to the kerb.