24th August, 2005
Mitsubishi Motors has released the latest iteration of its rally-winning weapon – the Lancer Evolution IX – to the Australian market as a fully homologated model.
Proven in the heat of battle in the most tortuous rallies throughout the world the Lancer Evolution has earned itself a formidable reputation since it was first launched in the early 1990s, and is spoken in reverential terms when sports sedans are discussed by enthusiasts.
Powered by the legendary two-litre 16-valve DOHC intercooled and turbocharged 4G63 four-cylinder engine, Evolution IX now gains the benefit of Mitsubishi’s MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic lift and Control) variable valve timing that constantly matches inlet valve timing to engine speed and load. Maximum power of 206 kW is achieved at 6,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 355 Nm is achieved at a low 3,000 rpm. In order to get the best performance from the engine Mitsubishi recommends that Evo IX should run on 98 octane fuel.
Power is put to the ground through a new six-speed fully synchromeshed manual transmission with the following gear ratios:
However, it is the car’s handling that sets Lancer Evolution apart from its imitators, and this is achieved through Mitsubishi’s electronically controlled advanced 4WD drive-train. The harmonious integration – by a single ECU – of the Active Centre Differential, Super Active Yaw Control and Sports ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution has resulted in awesome advances in acceleration, speed, cornering, braking and other dynamic performance parameters.
However, such performance development would be irresponsible if the roadholding and braking was not commensurate with the car’s capabilities and Evo IX’s inverted MacPherson strut and coil-over front suspension and multi-link and coil rear suspension makes sure that the drive gets to the road. Add 235/45ZR17 high performance tyres, and the huge (320mm front, 300mm rear) Brembo ventilated disc brakes to the equation, and the Evo IX driver is assured their car will handle and stop as they would wish.
Evolution IX’s external appearance has received a freshen up with a new mesh front grille with floating chrome three diamond symbol, and front bumper design (with its corner cooling ducts bringing in cool air to the intercooler pipes) being the first to catch the eye. It is a cleaner, but more purposeful look. Similarly the new rear bumper design, with its diffuser undersurface that stabilises air flow detachment and reduces drag while enhancing Evo IX’s sedan racer looks, completes the major exterior styling changes.
Inside, Evo IX has also had a minor make-over that has a dramatic impact. The leather-wrapped MOMO 3-spoke steering wheel now has black spokes, and the dash highlight panel is now a carbon fibre-look treatment. When added to the dark titanium-look centre, shift and power window switch panels, and alloy sports pedals the interior look is stylish, sporty and integrated.
Front seating is still comfortable Recaro bucket seats that are upholstered to match the specific requirements of each area of the seat. The shoulder contours use a non-slip coated fabric that supports more accurate steering work, while the squab facings use non-slip Alcantara suede upholstery and the side bolsters are leather. Such is the planning detail that goes to make Lancer Evolution one of the all-time great driver’s cars.
As expected, there is a full range of instrumentation with large speedometer and tachometer dominating the instrument cluster. Additionally, there are twin trip meters, low fuel warning lamp, engine coolant temperature gauge, oil pressure warning lamp, oil level warning lamp, brake fluid level warning lamp, rear fog lamp indicator and centre differential control indicator. The Active Centre Differential is switchable between three modes – Tarmac, Gravel and Snow – and there is a manual intercooler spray button mounted on the centre console.
Automatic climate control air conditioning is now provided in Evo IX, and is situated immediately below the 2-DIN premium AM/FM audio system with a 6-CD in-dash stacker in the centre panel. The audio system has six speakers.
Safety is inherent is a car like Evo IX, and there is a raft of passive and active safety features included as standard fitment. Remote keyless locking with accident detection, Mitsubishi’s RISE body construction with additional strengthening, driver and passenger air bags, aluminium side door intrusion bars, front 3-point ELR seat belts with pre-tensioners and force limiters, front adjustable seat belt anchorages, rear 3-point ELR/ALR seat belts in all positions and three child restraint anchors are all standard.
Add Data Dot security identification, a feature-packed tracking system and 5-year premium roadside assistance as standard, and Mitsubishi has made every effort to protect both the car and its driver.
Evo IX is available in six colours – White Solid, Yellow Solid, Red Solid, Blue Mica (new), Cool Silver Metallic and Black Mica – and will cost $56,789 from the network of specialist Ralliart dealers throughout Australia.
Options are a Performance Pack (Bilstein shock absorbers and forged lightweight BBS alloy wheels) for $3,700 and metallic/pearlescent paint for $300.
Successive generations of Lancer Evolution have traced an exciting evolutionary path that has seen awesome advances in acceleration, speed, cornering, braking and other dynamic performance parameters. Driven by two full production model changes specifically designed to enhance and facilitate the process, Lancer Evolution has realised comprehensive improvements in vehicular performance as each generation has brought with it new and cutting edge component technology – such as the ACD/AYC all-wheel control system, and the use of aluminium and carbon lightweight materials.
During its history Evolution has established milestone after milestone in the rally arena. In one of the most successful partnerships ever, Tommi Makinen drove Evolutions to collect four successive driver’s championships between 1996 and 1999, and Richard Burns and Tommi drove Evolutions to capture Mitsubishi Motors first manufacturer’s title to see the Company achieve the very target that sparked the development.
Lancer Evolution IX is set to continue the legend of the brand by delivering awesome levels of dynamic performance, and now comes as a fully homologated model in Australia for the first time.
The new rear bumper features a diffuser undersurface in a distinctive design that promotes underbody airflow to keep exhaust gas residues from adhering to the bumper. The ends use a square design to stabilise air flow detachment and reduce drag. It also adds to Evo IX’s sedan racer looks.
The rear wing assembly uses moulded vertical components that are colour-keyed to the body and a carbon fibre hollow spoiler that lowers the centre of gravity. A low-line spoiler is standard, while the larger spoiler is optional as part of a handling package.
Dark-clear extensions on the headlamps and tail lamps create a more determined facial expression, while also enhancing the look of the car and adding to its premium appearance.
New design 5-double spoke alloy rims add to a refreshed external appearance and are 150 gm lighter than the previous wheels, while the aluminium roof reduces the weight by 4 kg and lowers the centre of gravity of the car by some 3 mm (although this might not seem much it actually produces the same effect in terms of roll moment as a weight reduction of 12 kg at engine hood height).
Although the general design of the dashboard is unchanged, the ornamentation is clear coated with a rich carbon-like finish to add a touch of class, while the MOMO three-spoke steering wheel now has matt-black spokes and a dark titanium-look centre ring that co-ordinates perfectly with the dashboard colour.
The gear shift knob, handbrake lever grip and MOMO steering wheel are all leather-wrapped.
Recaro bucket seats are again provided for the two front seats. The squabs are covered in non-slip Alcantara suede that keeps the occupants fresh and comfortable on longer journeys, while the side bolster facings are covered in genuine leather. This makes the seats easier to get in and out of, while adding a touch of luxury to the interior.
The shifter panel is finished with a carbon-look and is embellished with the Lancer Evolution logo.
A high density dash silencer and double-sealing weather strips are used to reduce interior noise levels.
This proprietary technology enhances gas inertia-induced cylinder filling to stop the engine running out of breath at high revs. At the low end, it stabilises combustion and improves fuel efficiency and emissions performance (about a 3% improvement in fuel economy).
Evolution’s MIVEC engine
The first form is a VVT variant where the timing of the inlet cam is either advanced or retarded. This provides a very smooth progressive variation and is optimal for small to medium cylinder displacements.
The second form, utilises low and high speed cam profiles and switches in a step function at the optimal speed for a seamless transition. This allows optimal operation at each end of the rev range.
For the EVO-9, the optimum MIVEC system is the VVT form.
The elements that make up the system are,
The OCV receives its commands from the engine ECU that looks at both the crank sensor and the cam sensor to determine the position of the rotating parts and the required advance/retard.
In the low pressure condition the OCV is ‘off’, the wing moves freely and the switching piston is moved down. When the high pressure condition is applicable the OCV is ‘on’ and the wing touches switching piston, moving it up.
The cam switching timing occurs at 3,600 rpm (200 rpm hysterics), which is slightly different to Outlander that occurs at 3,500 rpm. The reason for this is to eliminate rough idle and change cam shaft (smaller overlap).
Because low pressure is applied to switching piston, it is pushed down into the wing, and the wing cam moves free from low and medium lift rocker arms. Accordingly, when the wing is lifted by the high lift cam it does not operate and the intake valves are operated by low and medium lift cams.
Because high pressure is applied to switching piston, it is pushed up, and the wing touches the low and medium lift rocker arms. Accordingly, the wing is lifted and the high lift cam operates and the intake valves are operated by high lift cams.
However, the addition of MIVEC is not the only change to the engine as there are a raft of other less significant but no less important changes.
The Turbo has had the compressor shape revised. It is a very subtle change but a significant one. The extension of the diffuser housing improves not only the performance of the turbo at maximum torque, it improves the response through the range by about 10%.
This development was done by the world rally championship team and is a clear example of how Mitsubishi use their involvement in motor sport to enhance the road going vehicles.
With the introduction of the MIVEC system and improved cylinder filling, the desire for improved performance and improved emissions, the burn efficiency (ie both duration and completeness) is vital. To enhance this, the point of ignition in the cylinder - the tip of the spark plug - has been moved more centrally in the chamber. This is achieved by extending the reach of the spark plug from 19mm to 26.5mm.
Oil control in a cylinder is very important as excess oil rising into the combustion chamber can adversely affect the effective octane rating of the fuel and degrade performance. To enhance the oil control, a two piece ring has been adopted that conforms to the bores better, and is lighter weight, (as the oil ring is reciprocating mass and therefore any reduction in weight, even a gramme or a tenth of a gramme is advantageous).
To reduce the operating noise of the vehicle, there have been some changes that reduce noise. Two examples of this are the rocker covers which have been made from a denser material to reduce the escape of valve train noise and the bell housing cover that is now manufactured from high damping steel.
To reduce power consumption in the vehicle, many minor changes have been made and the best example of this is the fuel pump in which the commutator has been made from carbon rather than the traditional copper. This has reduced the pumps rotational friction, and improved the pump efficiency and flow rate by about 7%.
The timing belt is new and more durable to handle the loads of the VVT and to meet the higher emission standard, the UCC is of a higher capacity.
The cleaner emissions of this engine has allowed Mitsubishi engineers to revise the catalytic converter flow capacity and reduce back pressure, resulting in improved response at all engine speeds. To handle the higher loads imposed by the MIVEC system, the 4G63 engine now uses high-strength nylon fibre timing belts.
All these changes culminate in a package that produces the performance figures of 5.7 seconds for the 0-100, 13.6 sec for 0-400m, and 6.6 sec for 80 – 120 km/h.
Whilst these figures are good, what they don’t show are the improvements that this vehicle has to the way the power is delivered in response to the driver’s demands. The driveability of the EVO-9, with MIVEC is a great step forward and results from the smooth and progressive delivery of the power. Historically turbo cars have been known for their rapid power deliver as the engine comes “on boost” but with the latest developments the delivery is very smooth and progressive.
Maximum power is 206 kW generated at 6,000 rpm, while maximum torque of 355 Nm is generated at 3,000 rpm.
Suspension / Drive-Train
A front strut tower is fitted as standard to provide bracing for the front suspension.
The electronically controlled 4WD drive-train embodies Mitsubishi’s all-wheel control philosophy in its most advanced form; providing the means to extract the maximum performance potential from the four tyres in line with driver intention, and raising all facets of dynamic performance to the highest levels.
Prior to the advent of the Mitsubishi 4WD system the basic thinking behind 4WD systems was to extract the maximum traction from the four tyres. Such systems failed to take the next step and use torque to improve handling or, because of the difficulties involved, failed to bring together improvements in traction and handling.
Mitsubishi’s first efforts to do this was the Active Yaw Control which was first introduced in Evolution IV, and this was followed by the Active Centre Differential. The integration of the AYC and ACD systems management was first seen in Evo VII.
The AYC system provides cornering assist by transferring torque between the rear wheels to generate a body yaw correcting moment. However, AYC had not been specifically developed for Lancer Evolution and it came under criticism for failing to provide sufficient traction in on-the-limit competition driving. Mitsubishi’s engineers solved the problem with the Super AYC that was introduced in Evo VIII. Switching from the use of a bevel to a planetary gear differential gave Super AYC the ability to transfer almost twice the torque between the rear wheels.
The Active Centre Differential introduced in Evo VII incorporates an electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch. An ECU optimises clutch cover clamp load for different driving conditions, regulating the differential limiting action between free and locked states. This results in better traction and steering response.
A single ECU providing integrated management of both Super AYC and ACD brought advances in system control precision, and in the harmony achieved between these components and the Sports ABS which was first used in Evo VII.
Evo IX retains the ACD / Super AYC / Sports ABS all-wheel control specification. The only change, as mentioned earlier, is a change in the rear springs to lower body height slightly to stabilise rear end behaviour in corners by increasing rear wheel adhesion. The lower body height also increases the effectiveness of the Super AYC and together result in better cornering performance.
The effectiveness of Mitsubishi’s 4WD system therefore comes not from any one particular technology, but results from the multiple synergies derived by weaving together the 4WD system, wheels, tyres and other related components.
It is not enough that the brakes should simply ‘work’; they must retain the same consistent feel and pedal stroke in high-frequency use under the harsh conditions encountered in sports driving.
The front discs are 17” (wheel) or 320 mm ventilated discs with four-pot callipers, while the rear are 16” (wheel) or 300 mm ventilated discs with 2-pot callipers.
Mitsubishi’s Sports ABS uses information from a steering angle sensor that detects steering inputs as well as from lateral G and vehicle speed sensors to apportion pressure to each of the four wheels independently. The result is improved steering response under braking.
Mitsubishi’s Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) system that is integral with Sports ABS optimises the allocation of braking force between the front and rear wheels. Increasing the pressure applied to the rear wheels when braking close to the limit, EBD reduces the load on the front wheels to give better anti-fade performance. The system also compensates for changes in surface and vehicle load conditions to ensure predictable and consistent stopping performance at all times.
Wheels & Tyres
The standard wheel is a unique design 5-double spoke ENKEI wheel that is strong enough to withstand the massive load it is subjected to, and also contributes to dynamic performance by reducing unsprung weight. Each wheel is 150 gm lighter than the ENKEI wheels that were standard on Evo VIII, and contributes to the weight reduction for the vehicle.
The Performance pack offers a BBS wheel that is manufactured via the latest technology from a design which was optimised for weight, rigidity and strength using the FEM Analysis. These wheels not only look good and perform well but are 4.4kg per vehicle lighter.
Tyres fitted are 235/45R17 93W high performance steel belted radial tyres that are ideally suited to the car, and deliver great wet and dry traction, and sharp steering response.
The spare wheel is a full-size temporary use spare fitted with a T125/70D17 tyre.
200 additional spot welds strengthen door surrounds and other openings. Shock absorber and suspension arm mountings have been strengthened and reinforcements have been strategically added to areas subject to large loads. The result is an effective increase in body stiffness with a minimal weight penalty.
Over the years the Evo weight reduction programme had included the use of aluminium for engine bonnet and front guards, and the use of carbon fibre for the rear wing. Evo IX sees the introduction of an aluminium roof panel and the use of aluminium side intrusion bars to the Australian market. These have been introduced to cut weight in areas most distant from the vehicle’s centre of gravity.
The use of the alloy roof panel reduces vehicle weight by 4 kgs and lowers its centre of gravity by some 3mm. Although this may not sound much, it actually produces the same effect in terms of roll moment as a weight reduction of 12 kgs at engine bonnet height.
The dash pad between the engine compartment and cockpit is made of a denser material, and the door use double-sealing weatherstrips. The result is less high-frequency noise for a more comfortable cabin.
Safety is a major consideration in a performance sedan like Lancer Evolution. It has many active and passive safety features which include the 4WD system (ACD/Super AYC), Sports ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, and the huge and effective Brembo brakes. However on top of this Evo IX has driver and passenger SRS airbags fitted as standard equipment, and front driver and passenger 3-point adjustable ELR seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters. The rear seatbelts are all 3-point ELR/ALR.
A seatbelt reminder is located in the instrument cluster.
The front bumper has been redesigned and now houses an oversize mesh grille to raise engine cooling efficiency, and locate the Mitsubishi three diamond symbol. However, all unnecessary openings on the undersurface of the bumper have been closed to reduce air resistance. The rear bumper features a diffuser design that promotes underbody airflow to keep the exhaust gas residues from adhering to the bumper. The ends use a square design that places the corners further outboard to stabilise air flow detachment and reduce drag at the same time as making the body look wider.
The carbon fibre rear spoiler uses a hollow construction to reduce upper body weight.
There are also a number of accessories that can be fitted to further improve the aerodynamics of Evo IX.
The Gurney flap, fitted to the trailing edge of the rear wing, forces flow downstream of the wing upward, causing the flow over the undersurface of the wing to accelerate and generate more downforce.
The splitters fitted to the front corners of the car help disperse air flow around the front of the vehicle and generate downforce and front wheel adhesion without any significant increase in drag.
An 8-fin vortex generator that will delay flow separation may also be fitted to the trailing edge of the roof, thereby reducing both drag and lift.
Extensive wind tunnel testing shows that the design of these aids achieve significant reductions in lift to enhance the front-rear aero balance.
The propensity for such desirable cars as the Evo IX to be stolen has increased, and therefore we have improved the anti-theft system on this car. The tracking system that is fitted to the Evo IX has been enhanced and offers the vehicle owner the following features:
This pricing includes Mitsubishi’s industry-leading 5 year/130,000 kms bumper-to-bumper, and 10-year/160,000 kms non-transferable drive-train warranty.
It also includes 5-year premium roadside assistance.
History of the Legend
Lancer Evolution I – distinguished by its engine (production Lancers had previously been powered by a 1.8 litre intercooled turbocharged engine) the first Evo was powered by the 2.0 litre 4G63 in-line four-cylinder DOHC intercooled turbocharged engine that had powered the Galant VR-4 to success. The engine was given a larger capacity intercooler, high compression ratio, modified port configuration, new injectors, a lighter crankshaft, con rods and pistons. Power was 187 kW at 6,000 rpm and torque 315 Nm at 3,000 rpm.
The engine was coupled to a modified VR-4 driveline, and the car was distinguished at the front by an aluminium engine hood with large air outlets and open grille-integral front bumper that was extended 40mm forwards to house the uprated intercooler. At the rear a large rear deck spoiler reduced lift by 18%.
Lancer Evolution II – Launched in December 1993, modifications to the engine included an increase in turbo boost pressure, reduced exhaust back pressure, and increased valve lift.
To improve handling larger wheels and tyres were used, the wheelbase was improved by moving the front wheel centre 10mm forward, and the front and rear tracks were widened by 15mm and 10mm respectively to accommodate the wider tyres.
Suspension changes included new lower control arms and longer struts for the front, while the stabiliser bar was attached directly to the lower control arms to quicken steering response. Front camber was optimised. When added to the longer damper bump stroke there was a dramatic improvement to Evo II’s handling.
Styling changes included the addition of an air dam under the front bumper, and wicker rear spoiler. OZ alloy road wheels, and other numerous styling touches completed the picture.
Lancer Evolution III – Launched in January 1995, Evo III boasted further power improvements. Reduced exhaust back pressure – the result of a bigger front exhaust pipe and lower pressure losses in the main muffler – a new turbocharger compressor, and a higher compression ratio meant the Evo was now pumping out nearly 203kW at 6250rpm, while torque remained at 315Nm at 3000rpm. The addition of a second intercooler spray nozzle helped stabilise power and torque characteristics at high engine speeds.
The front bumper openings were enlarged, a larger air dam was fitted that featured brake cooling ducts and transfer cooling slots. Lowering ground clearance reduced airflow under the body to generate extra downforce. The lines of the front air dam were continued along the side and into the rear wheel house. A larger wicker and wing for the rear deck spoiler generated additional downforce.
Lancer Evolution IV – Launched in July 1996 it followed the styling of the recently introduced CE Lancer. The engine underwent extensive modifications with high-speed cam profile and lighter pistons. Turbo lag was reduced by minimising gas flow interference in the exhaust manifold, while the introduction of a twin-scroll turbocharger improved performance by generating more low and mid-range torque. A straighter intake manifold, and a metal head gasket which withstood the higher compression ratio and boost pressures better was also introduced. The introduction of a secondary air induction system improved turbo on-off response, thereby keeping turbine speed from dropping under deceleration.
Power was increased to 206 kW at 6,500 rpm, while torque increased to 360 Nm at 3,000 rpm.
As well as the close-ratio 5-speed transmission, a super-close-ratio box was also offered. The RS model was developed for competition use, and was offered with a torque-adaptive helical gear front LSD – a first on a 4WD model. The rear diff incorporated another world first – Active Yaw Control – and this gave a significant improvement in cornering performance and stability under hard braking.
Lancer Evolution V – Launched in January 1998, Evo V was given a much wider track in order to stay competitive in the world rally scene. This resulted in using aluminium front fenders and macho rear over-fenders. It ran on 17” wheels shod with 225/45R17 tyres.
At the front, aerodynamic and cooling performance was enhanced with a canard-spoiler under the front bumper, and larger grille openings to match the uprated radiator. The outlets in the engine hood were enlarged and reshaped for better heat extraction. While retaining the delta shaped wicker, the rear deck spoiler was optimised for position and used an aluminium wing with adjustable attack angle.
The suspension was optimised for the wider track, with the front gaining a camber adjuster and inverted struts. The wheel stroke was lengthened and the steering box relocated. At the rear improvements were made to all the pivot points, geometry was optimised, weight reduced and stiffness increased substantially. The rear roll centre was also optimised to give more responsive behaviour, and better tyre contact with the road.
Braking was upgraded with the fitting of Brembo 17” ventilated discs at the front with 4-pot callipers, and 16” ventilated discs with 2-pot callipers at the rear.
The use of turbocharger nozzles with larger surface areas increased torque to 373 Nm at 3,000 rpm.
Evolution VI – Launched in January 1999 Evo VI had some fine tuning to its aerodynamics and a dramatic improvement in cooling performance.
Cooling was improved by offsetting the licence plate and using smaller fog lamps to enable the effective area of the bumper openings to be enlarged, while the new ventilator and airflow ducts in the bumper enhanced the performance of the oil cooler. Drag was reduced with the introduction of hemispherical fog lamp covers, while the introduction of a twin-wing rear spoiler made up for the reduction in downforce caused by its smaller size.
The engine generated the same power and torque, but detail modifications improved its reliability and responsiveness. A titanium-alloy turbocharger – another world first – improved throttle response, while the addition of a cooling channel in the pistons improved reliability.
Suspension changes included greater stiffness from the use of forged front knuckles, and a lowering of the roll centre. Both resulted in better tyre/road contact. At the rear, the use of forged aluminium for the lower control arms, trailing arms and toe control arms reduced the unsprung weight of the car. A longer rebound stroke also improved tyre/road contact, while body stiffness was improved with the addition of another 130 spot welds, the use of structural adhesive and the use of thicker gauge metal in some panels.
Evolution VI TME – Launched in 2000, major changes were made to the front bumper, with priority given to aerodynamic performance.
Although the same titanium-alloy twin-scroll turbine was used as in the Evo VI, the compressor wheel size and blade configuration was optimised. Ducts in the front bumper were introduced to cool engine intake air.
A large diameter tail pipe and sports muffler were introduced to reduce exhaust pressure losses and noise, and a new design fuel tank reservoir cup was introduced to stop fuel surge under high-G cornering.
Overall height was lowered 10mm, and the front and rear roll centre height was optimised. Handling response was also enhanced with quicker steering gear ratio, and quicker response shock absorbers.
Evolution VII – Launched in January 2001, Evo VII was a new, larger car that used the same body shape as the CG Lancer. This styling gave superior aerodynamic and engine and brake cooling performance. Torsional stiffness was improved by 50% through additional reinforcements and welding, particularly at the joins.
The mid range torque was boosted to a class topping 383 Nm at 3,500 rpm, while power remained at 206 kW at 6,500 rpm. Improvements to the turbocharger, the use of an uprated intercooler, a redesign of the intake piping, a 20% reduction in intake resistance and the use of a 3-nozzle intercooler spray, the introduction of magnesium rocker covers (replacing aluminium) and the use of hollow camshafts all helped provide performance improvements.
A new Active Centre Differential was developed to bring better handling response and traction, and the integrated control of the ACD and the Active Yaw Control handling enhancement systems brought superior acceleration and handling. Mitsubishi’s Sports ABS system was further developed to incorporate Electronic Brakeforce Distribution to the Brembo brakes, giving improved stability and steering response under braking when turning.
Evolution VIII – Launched in January 2003, Evo VIII adopted the new global Mitsubishi styling with redesigned front air dam that was developed in MMC’s own wind tunnel, and on the Nurburgring to improve aerodynamic and cooling performance. Considerable work was undertaken to improve radiator and intercooler efficiency and reduce drag.
The engine performance and durability was improved by uprating the aluminium pistons and forged con rods and torque topped 400 Nm at 3,500 rpm, while power remained at 206 kW. A six-speed transmission was introduced and Super Active Yaw Control was introduced to give significant improvements in handling control and traction by transferring more torque between the rear wheels.
Considerable attention was paid to weight reduction, and the introduction of a carbon fibre rear spoiler and spun-rim alloy wheels were major contributors to that.
Evo VIII MR, very much a prototype for Evolution IX, was released in February 2004 and used co-developed Bilstein shock absorbers to realise significant improvements in road holding, cornering, driveability and other aspects of handling quality. Other major changes included the introduction of an aluminium roof and side intrusion bars to reduce body mass, and lower the car’s centre of gravity.
Safety and security