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One of the few cars on the road to enjoy full cult status, the Mitsubishi Evolution has quite the remarkable fan base. Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re probably numbered among them, so we won’t belabor that point. However, if by some strange twist of fate the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is news to you, it’s one of the most affordable and capable high performance cars based on a mainstream economy-oriented sedan you’ll find.

Weight is kept to a minimum with an aluminum roof and fenders, as well as an aluminum hood. Power is supplied by a 291-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged and intercooled inline four-cylinder engine. The all-wheel drive Evo (as it is fondly referred to by the cognoscenti) enjoys a maximum torque output of 300 ft-lbs and a curb weight of just over 3,500 pounds. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution will accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in five seconds. Two versions of the Evo are offered; the GSR comes with a five-speed manual transmission, while Evo MR is fitted with six-speed twin-clutch automated manual transmission.

To manage the engine’s power output, Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution engineering team have fitted the car with super all-wheel control which works in concert with a four-wheel active differential, active yaw control, and a helical gear-type front differential. These systems and mechanisms enable the car to apportion thrust to the wheel (or wheels) with the most traction regardless of the car’s situation or state. In corners, the system helps turn the car in faster, while in slippery conditions more of the power gets to the ground with minimal wheel spin. The system also takes different road surfaces into consideration.

Low profile high performance tires and light alloy wheels, finish off the suspension system while 13.8-inch Brembo front brake discs with four piston calipers, work in concert with 13-inch rear brakes and two-piston calipers to ensure braking performance is commensurate with acceleration capability. Opt for the Lancer Evolution MR and the braking system is upgraded to lighter two-piece rotors to reduce unsprung weight on the suspension system. Other key features of the Lancer Evolution MR include Bilstein shocks with Eibach springs, automatic headlights, and a more subtle, low profile rear spoiler.

Standard Lancer Evolution comfort and convenience features include bucket sport seats, Mitsubishi’s handsfree link system for telephony, automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, a leather wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, foglights, and a full power accessory package.  Safety features include ABS, traction control, stability control, electronic brake force distribution, and seven air bags—including a driver’s knee airbag.