The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution doesn’t have such a name just because it sounds cool. In reality, the name tells the perfect story of how the iconic vehicle came to be. The Lancer Evo was created after Mitsubishis The rally team was forced to downsize their competition car due to new regulations, and they did this by packing the components of their Class A Galant rally car into the smaller Lancer chassis. This resulted in a literally evolved version of the original Lancer, hence the new name Lancer Evolution.
Class A rules also meant that Mitsubishi had to produce 2500 road car versions of the Lancer Evo to be sold to the public, and that’s how it all started. The Evo would go through a 24-year production run on its way to becoming one of the most iconic JDMs ever.
After 10 generations and iconic appearances in films like ‘Fast and furious’Production of the Lancer Evolution was eventually discontinued in 2016, but the older models are still highly sought after and make for immensely fun and rewarding projects. This is why the Evo is the best Mitsubishi sports car ever.
The Lancer Evo has a beautiful engine
From the outset, the engine Mitsubishi decided to fit into the Evo was a 2.0-litre turbocharged, in-line, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 244 horsepower, known as the 4G63T, and it would live on in all but the last generation of the Evo. Lancer Evolution. The legendary engine comes with a double overhead cam setup and produces plenty of boost, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The most enticing aspect of the 4G63T engine is how hospitable it is to mods and tuning, easily putting out close to 1000 horsepower. The engine would go through several revisions and improvements over the years, but the basics remained the same throughout and each version is more than worth it.
Mitsubishi has tuned the Evo’s chassis to perfection
Aside from a fantastic drivetrain, each iteration of the Lancer Evolution also boasted immense chassis capabilities, starting with racing suspension and standard four-wheel drive on all generations. But just as the engine got upgrades over the years, the Evo’s chassis got the exact same treatment. For the 4th generation or Lancer Evo IV, Mitsubishi added Active YAW Control (AYC) to the vehicle’s transmission, allowing the ECU to determine how much power to send to each individual wheel depending on the conditions. Not only did this upgrade make Evo’s road better, it also helped Mitsubishi’s rally team win several titles in a row. Later, the Lancer Evolution VII got a further improved transmission with an active center differential mated to the AYC, meaning it could send power exclusively to the rear wheels for easier drifting.
The Mitsubishi Racing Lancer Evo FQ variants are insane
In addition to the release of the Lancer Evolution VIII, Mitsubishi unveiled several special editions that offered more possibilities, the most important of which were the legendary MR FQ variants. They had bigger turbos and revised internals, resulting in a beautiful finished product that could compete with some of the toughest supercars of the time, taking the Evo name to a whole other level that no one thought it was capable of.
The most outrageous FQ variant came in the form of the Evo X MR FQ-440 which was made especially for the UK market to celebrate Mitsubishi’s 4 decades of operation in the UK. The FQ 440 made 440 horsepower and 412 pound-feet of torque thanks to an ECU remap, improved fuel injectors and improved intercooling. Only 40 FQ-440s were made.
In summary, the Lancer Evolution is not only Mitsubishi’s most iconic car ever, it is also one of the most desirable JDMs as a whole. It’s the definition of a driver’s car, and regardless of model year or generation, or even when you’re reading this, the Evo will no doubt continue to bring joy to the lucky few who get the chance to own one.