What it Is
2008 Mitsubishi Evolution X Preview – 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: We are mere weeks from our first turn of the wheel in Mitsubishi’s newest ‘roid-raging Lancer, the Evolution X, and yes we are excited. And why not? After all, the Evo will have the performance chops to back up its looks, unlike the Lancer GTS we drove not long ago. In Los Angeles, the car makes its North American debut, although the car was officially unveiled at the Tokyo show earlier this year. With the steering wheel now on the correct side, all that’s left is for us to get the keys.
Why it Matters
In the grand scheme of things, a turbocharged all-wheel drive Lancer doesn’t matter much, we suppose. This isn’t a hybrid anything, Mitsubishi doesn’t profess to want to save the world one Evo at a time. No, this is just a fun car for the sake of a fun car. Driving enjoyment because hey, we can. It also drives traffic into Mitsu’s showrooms of course, but we doubt anybody looking for an Evo and not finding one will drive off in, say, a Galant instead.
What’s Under the Hood
The 4G63 that has powered Evos for years has officially died, replaced with an all-aluminum 291 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four banger. It’s mated to a five speed automatic or, eventually, a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. All of that power goes to all four wheels of course, using Mitsubishi’s newest all-wheel drive system, dubbed Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC). S-AWC includes its own little cluster of abbreviations: Active Center Differential (ACD) 4-wheel drive, Active Yaw Control (AYC) rear differential, Active Stability Control (ASC), and Sport ABS brakes.
What it Looks Like
The Evolution X is based on the Lancer, and doesn’t hide its genesis like the previous Evo did. The Evolution is of course more aggressive, with bigger wheels, a deeper air dam, and other styling cues that leave no room for doubt as to this car’s intent. Look closely at the air intake below the bumper, filled with an intercooler. Or how about those massive wheels and aggressive tires? It’s a cleaner shape than before, and one that we’re betting that Subaru enthusiasts will be the only ones who won’t like seeing it.
The interior is sporty interpretation of the Lancer's, which is good for the most part. There's still lots of hard plastic, but the design is good and the seats are designed to be the ultimate in support for hard driving. The MR package will feature an extra 11 pounds of sound deadening to improve the day-to-day livability of the Evo, which has always been one of the sticking points with the car.
What Mitsubishi Says
In a weird way, this is Mitsubishi’s flagship car, so the company is understandably effervescent about it: “Noted as the pinnacle of Mitsubishi's rally-inspired technology and engineering, Mitsubishi introduces the 2008 Lancer Evolution, the newest and most sophisticated version of the legendary high-performance model series that began in Japan 16 years ago. Lancer Evolution goes on sale in early winter. While remaining true to the core values that have made the Lancer Evolution synonymous with thrilling performance, the next-generation model offers all-around capability and user technology that distinguish the world's best performance models.”
What We Think
The Evo’s poised to retain the crown of the best rally-inspired all-wheel drive relatively-inexpensive Japanese sedan with this car. We’ll find out soon enough if the car lives up to the hype, but we have yet to see any reason why our hopes shouldn’t be high.
By Keith Buglewicz
Photos: Mitsubishi, Staff