The rally-bred Lancer Evolution was developed in competition, on the world's most unforgiving terrain, by the world's most demanding drivers. The car's mechanical specification (turbocharged all-wheel-drive) endows it with superb dynamic capability and ease of use, combining surreal road holding, incredible acceleration, purposeful styling, telepathic responses and unmatched control. The Lancer Evolution makes the strongest statement yet about the Mitsubishi brand with its level of technology and astonishing capability that stems from a backbone of competition-focused engineering.
Evolution of the Evolution
The latest Lancer Evolution was developed on the Lancer sedan chassis that was first introduced to the U.S. market in the fall of 2001. Every Lancer Evolution unibody begins life on the same assembly line as the base Lancer economy sedans. The Lancer chassis has served as the basis of the Lancer Evolution family of vehicles since 1992; its chassis and four-wheel independent suspension readily accepting the modifications that helped this vehicle achieve supercar status. The modifications implemented on the previous versions of the Lancer Evolution sedan represent the lessons learned by Mitsubishi through competition on the World Rally circuit.
For the urban driver who will never see organized competition, the Lancer Evolution represents a capable, highly maneuverable, distinct, cutting-edge interpretation of the modern sports car, and it challenges the supposed performance boundaries of compact sedans.
Purposeful Exterior Design
Many of the details involved in the Lancer Evolution's mechanical design are guided by a prioritization of function, durability and capability of each component or system in a competitive setting. The Lancer Evolution builds upon a rigid, steel Lancer unibody as a starting point, and adds welded seams, thicker, reinforced suspension mounting points, and body member connections that, compared to the base Lancer, improve flexural rigidity by 1.6 times while doubling torsional rigidity. The more rigid the unibody, the more effective the suspension becomes at handling a wide range of road conditions and maintaining the most precise geometry. The additional rigidity helps to offer the benefit of strength and occupant protection in the event of a collision.
The Lancer Evolution's sense of purpose is apparent in the vehicle's exterior design, which makes almost as loud a statement as its performance capability. Blistered, lightweight aluminum fenders-widened to accommodate the vehicle's increased track-offer weight savings over comparable steel units and immediately serve notice that this is no ordinary sedan. The blistered fenders protrude gently from the sides of the vehicle to help improve aerodynamics. A lightweight aluminum hood with a large vent opening helps evacuate engine heat and also helps reduce the vehicle's overall weight. A front air dam design integrates an undercover that improves aerodynamics as it directs air towards the brakes and transfer differential, thereby helping to reduce lift and improve high-speed handling.
The front bumper has been enlarged and suitably reinforced to satisfy federally mandated requirements with an additional beam that increases the strength of the bumper support structure. Atop this bumper structure is a split-grille front fascia design that features large, efficient inlets that help to improve intercooler efficiency and add to the vehicle's aggressive scowl. The fascia also includes a pair of four-bulb headlights with HID composite low beams that are matched to the wide body of the Lancer Evolution and offer improved nighttime visibility (not available on the Evolution RS). Projector-type lamps supply high-beam illumination.
The Lancer Evolution is optionally available with a carbon fiber rear wing.
Despite its performance-oriented transformation, the Lancer Evolution's interior maintains a strong similarity to the appealing, functional cabin layout of the base Lancer sedan. The Lancer Evolution is available with dark gray and black interior hues covering interior surfaces, which adds to the businesslike nature of this Spartan-yet-sporty cockpit.
A leather-covered, three-spoke MOMO(R) steering wheel and leather-covered shift knob add to the tactile quality of the interior. Round, clearly legible performance gauges are boldly illuminated with a striking red hue. The center of the Lancer Evolution's dash panel is decorated with titanium-colored paint, while the decorative panel that spans the width of the dash is accentuated with a titanium hue (RS trim features a black-colored console).
A 140-watt, six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo is standard on the Lancer Evolution, and a 315-watt Infinity AM/FM/CD stereo with subwoofer is optional. Due to its competitive nature, the RS is not available with a stereo.
Proving that high-performance driving can become more enjoyable through refinement, the Lancer Evolution includes several creature comforts not expected in a zero-compromise performance sedan. The driver of a Lancer Evolution is firmly cradled by supportive custom Recaro(R) front sport seats that help alleviate fatigue, and can be adjusted to the ideal driving position. The seats provide effective side support and include sliding and reclining controls that rely on a step-free design, allowing the precise adjustment and location of optimum seating points. The Recaro(R) front seats offer a lower center of gravity that places the driver's hip point 30 mm lower than the seats of the base Lancer sedan. The Lancer Evolution's rear seat area includes a folding center armrest with cup holder, as well as upper and lower tether anchors to accommodate a child seat.
Engine and Drivetrain
The Lancer Evolution series has become legendary among car enthusiasts, not for its Recaro(R) seats (optionally available in leather for 2004), bulging fenders, or high-mounted rear wing spoiler, but as the result of a mechanical specification that endows this compact sedan with performance capabilities that rival exotic sports cars. The drivetrain of the Lancer Evolution series serves as testament to Mitsubishi's engineering and technological mastery as a car builder. The Lancer Evolution relies on a high-output, transversely-mounted four-cylinder engine mated to a secure-handling all-wheel-drive system that allows this vehicle to be driven quickly and confidently by novice and expert drivers alike.
The Lancer Evolution is powered by a proven and potent version of the 2.0-liter, 4G63, DOHC, four-cylinder engine design that has been steadily refined for improved durability, flexibility and peak power over the past decade. The engine's reciprocating assembly has been suitably reinforced with forged metal components to better withstand the increased cylinder pressures of forced induction.
Forged connecting rods and forged aluminum pistons spin from a rugged forged steel crankshaft that is located at the bottom of a cast-iron cylinder block. An aluminum cylinder head with high-velocity intake ports and four valves per cylinder endow this motor with excellent breathing characteristics that are exploited by exhaust-driven forced induction.
A twin-scroll turbocharger helps the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder 4G63 achieve greater output than most V6 engines.
The combustion chambers are fed up to 19 psi of pressurized ambient air by a turbocharger whose design is optimized for improved throttle response and increased torque throughout the rpm range. The turbocharger's exhaust-gas-driven turbine wheel is surrounded by a twin-scroll housing that helps direct and maintain exhaust gas velocity over the turbine wheel at lower speeds to improve engine response in the low-to-mid rpm range. A lubricated shaft connects the turbine to a compressor wheel whose impeller design helps build boost earlier, reducing lag and improving response across the rev range.
The pressurized air fed to the engine is cooled using a large front-mounted air-to-air intercooler. Additional air charge cooling efficiency is gained by the use of a water spraying system that lowers intercooler temperature with either a manual or automatic spray mode. The Lancer Evolution is equipped with a cold-air intake system that repositions the vehicle's battery to achieve the most desirable airflow characteristics.
Fuel delivery for the four-cylinder engine is handled by a multi-point fuel injection with a computer control that also governs ignition timing. This single ECU is programmed with fuel and ignition maps that help maximize the engine's useable torque across the rpm range while still meeting stringent LEV1-LEV emissions requirements. The Lancer Evolution sedan uses a large-diameter (60.5 mm) free-flowing exhaust system that reduces backpressure and includes a catalytic converter and two sound-absorbing pre-mufflers. The low-restriction main muffler utilizes a built-in backpressure variable valve that reduces exhaust noise at low engine speeds and improves exhaust flow at higher speed. The 2.0-liter engine develops 271 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 273 pound-feet of torque at 3500 rpm.
The vehicle's decade-old engine package has resulted in numerous refinements that include weight reduction of some of the engine's components. Weight-saving measures such as the 4G63's magnesium valve covers and hollowed-out camshafts help to lower the engine's center of gravity, which in turn helps improve handling. The reduced mass of the camshafts, the use of lightweight aluminum valve retainers and hollow exhaust valve stems also help reduce valvetrain mass to improve the engine's responsiveness by reducing the inertia of fast-moving pieces. In the interest of durability, the Lancer Evolution utilizes a high-capacity radiator with an aluminum core and a powerful electric fan unit, and an external air-to-oil cooler helps control underhood temperatures under all conditions.
To help drivers exploit such a highly tuned engine, the Lancer Evolution is equipped with a rugged competition-tested five-speed manual transmission. This strengthened transmission is capable of withstanding the engine's increased torque output in competition tune. Each of the transmission's gears is made of high-strength, surface-treated material to help better withstand sporting or competition driving.
The transmission's shifting action and engagement are improved with the use of triple synchros on the first and second gears and a double synchro on third gear. The transmission is equipped with a 4.529 final drive ratio. Drivers actuate the rugged five-speed transmission using a slick, short throw, leather-wrapped, five-speed shifter that provides the quick, precise gear engagement one expects from a sports car.
The power goes from the transmission to a transfer differential that helps ensure superior traction and acceleration off the line. The transfer differential consists of a bevel gear center differential and viscous coupling unit. Torque is distributed evenly (50:50) between the front and rear wheels. On slippery surfaces, the viscous coupling unit limits the differences in torque distribution and helps distribute the torque delivery to the non-slipping wheels. The Lancer Evolution's front differential is a reliable, open-type, bevel gear unit, but the Evolution RS comes standard with a helical-type front limited slip differential. From the transfer differential the engine's power goes to the rear differential through a durable three-section propeller shaft. A mechanical, plate-style rear limited-slip differential limits wheel slippage and improves traction and handling. This reliable mechanical unit relies on regular hypoid gear oil for lubrication, and is a component that has proven its worth in competition.
The Lancer Evolution's suspension is designed with competition in mind through use of high-strength, lightweight aluminum and refined pillow ball linkages that improve suspension movement, response and performance. The Lancer Evolution's front suspension relies on a combination of large-diameter inverted struts and oversized coil springs designed to handle high cornering loads on a variety of surfaces. The front coil spring rate is optimized to realize a rapid response rate and are rolled from a premium steel material chosen for its superior durability. The front suspension's forged aluminum lower control arm helps reduce component weight and load on the coil springs to provide a more nimble, faster-reacting suspension. The control arm uses large-diameter reinforced bushings in addition to low-friction pillow ball bushings to free suspension movement. The Lancer Evolution's front suspension also utilizes larger-diameter ball joints that offer improved reliability in stressed conditions. In addition, the large-diameter front stabilizer (24 mm) is attached to the suspension using pillow ball bushings that reduce friction and help improve movement.
A reinforcing crossmember connects the left and right control arm mounts and helps increase lateral rigidity, increasing steering feel and cornering stiffness. The Lancer Evolution uses a forged knuckle arm that reduces suspension component weight while increasing strength. The Lancer Evolution's steering is composed of a power-assisted rack-and-pinion system with a 13:1 steering gearset ratio for immediate steering reactions and exceptional road feel.
The rear suspension arrangement substitutes the trailing arm multi-link setup found beneath the basic Lancer sedan for a competition-inspired multi-link design that utilizes double wishbones to help create superior handling stability on a variety of surfaces. As with the front suspension, many of the rear suspension's major components are forged from durable, lightweight aluminum. The rear suspension's trailing arms, upper arm, lower arm, and toe arm are all forged from heat-treated aluminum to help increase rigidity without increasing weight. The knuckle arm mount and rear lower arms are attached using pillow ball bushings that offer superior movement. The rear suspension is braced by a large, stout suspension crossmember that is also forged from aluminum and helps stabilize the movement of the suspension components. In the Evolution RS, there is an additional aluminum rear crossbar that spans the spare wheel well, further tightening the suspension and reducing body roll. As with the front suspension, the rear suspension uses larger-diameter shocks, springs and a large (22 mm) stabilizer to control cornering forces, offer increased dampening response, and improve ride quality.
Wheels and Brakes
The Lancer Evolution is shod with lightweight, 17-inch, one-piece aluminum wheels that help minimize unsprung weight. The wheels were developed exclusively for the Lancer Evolution by Enkei(R) and are wrapped with 235/45R17 Yokohama ADVAN A046 tires. The rubber compound and tread pattern used in the construction of these tires was designed specifically for the Lancer Evolution to help improve grip at high g-force loads and elevate the vehicle's cornering limits. Brakes are large Brembo(R) discs with aluminum opposed calipers, combined with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and Sport ABS to help ensure stability (ABS is not available on the RS trim). The front brakes utilize a large ventilated 12.65-inch (320 mm) rotor and strong four-piston calipers, while the rear uses a two-piston caliper and solid 11.8-inch (300 mm) rotor design.
This competition-oriented Brembo(R) braking system provides incredible stopping power to match the vehicle's drivetrain capability. The EBD system (standard on the Lancer Evolution, not available on the Evolution RS) utilizes computer control to help ensure optimal distribution of braking forces. In addition, this system governs rear brake forces to help reduce temperature build-up in the front brakes under hard braking conditions. Independent control of the left and right rear brakes also helps the vehicle realize better braking balance during cornering.
The Lancer Evolution's Sport ABS offers four-wheel independent control to help optimize the braking actions from each wheel and help maintain control and stability. The system utilizes a steering wheel angle sensor, longitudinal and lateral G-sensors, and four-wheel speed sensors that provide the Sport ABS computer with precise data to help the processor determine how to regulate the minute, millisecond reactions of lightweight hydraulic actuators that control braking loads.
Race or Street Ready
The Lancer Evolution stands ready to deliver a captivating driving experience as the daily transportation for an enthusiast yearning for a distinct, high-performance vehicle that offers a "giant-killing" performance envelope. The Lancer Evolution sedan enjoys a successful rally competition history that has yielded mechanical, safety and aerodynamic refinements. Tested and proven in the fires of competition, the Lancer Evolution carries an unmatched performance pedigree among performance sedans.
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