Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII
The Lancer Evolution (colloquially known as the "EVO") is Mitsubishi's flagship sports car. Based only on the unibody of the domesticated Lancer sedan, the Evo is a rally inspired, turbocharged, all wheel drive, durable, and finely tuned automobile. The number designation of the model is most commonly a roman numeral. Evolution models prior to version V were the officially approved models for Mitsubishi's efforts in the World Rally Championship's Group A class and SCCA Pro Rally Championship. In order to follow these rules, the Evolution is based on the same platform as the Lancer. However, it is much more powerful than the Lancer, with the unibody being the only major part in common between the two. Nine street versions of the Evolution have been produced from 1993 up to today. Evolution versions VI, VII, VIII and IX did not need to meet WRC homologation requirements.
The Evo was originally intended only for Japanese markets but demand on the 'grey import' market led the Evolution series to be offered through limited type-approval in the United Kingdom and in various European markets from around 1998 (Evo V-VI). Mitsubishi decided to export the eighth generation Evolution to the United States in 2003 after witnessing the success Subaru had in that market with their Impreza WRX, a direct competitor in other global regions. The current 2006 Evolution (US market) includes a turbocharged 286 hp (213 kW) inline four-cylinder engine and a full-time all wheel drive powertrain. Variable valve timing is an Evolution first in 2006, coming in the form of MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve-timing-and-lift Electronic Control). Japanese-spec cars were limited by a gentleman's agreement to advertise no more than 280 PS (276 hp), a mark already reached by the time of Evo IV; however, each generation of Evo's power has clandestinely evolved above the advertised number, with the Japan-spec Evo IX having real output of about 320 PS, and various versions available in other markets, particularly the UK, have official power outputs up to 405 bhp (302 kW). Even standard components are considered "tuned" compared to other vehicles. For instance, the flywheel on normal cars weighs about 12-15 kilograms but the Lancer flywheel weighs a mere 6 kilos for very quick engine response. The Evo has, however, been evolving into a heavier and heavier vehicle with each generation in face of tougher worldwide safety and emission regulations.
The Lancer Evolution was unique among its competitors in the World Rally Championship in that it is a homologated Group A car slightly modified to be able to race competitively against WRC class cars. They were successful in the WRC Rallies from 1996-1999, thanks to the Finn Tommi Makinen, for clinching the driver's titles from 1996-1999, and the help of teammate Richard Burns for clinching the manufacturer's championship for the first time in 1998. The Evolution however has now been replaced by the Lancer/Carisma GT and the new Lancer WRC04, but the Evo still competes in the Group A and Group N classes.
In 2001, Mitsubishi was forced by the FIA to race in the WRC using WRC rules for building a car instead of the Group A class rules, and thus did not need to follow homologation rules. The Evolution VII was based on the larger Lancer Cedia platform and as a result gained more weight over the Evolution VI, but Mitsubishi made up for this with multiple important chassis tweaks. The biggest change was the addition of an active center differential and a more effective limited-slip differential, while a front helical limited-slip differential was added. Torque was increased again to 385 N·m (284 lb·ft) with engine tweaks that allowed greater airflow, and horsepower officially remained at 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp).
The introduction of the Evolution VII also marked the first time an automatic drivetrain was included within the model lineup—the GT-A. Seen as the 'gentleman's express' version of the visually similar VII GSR and the RS2, the GT-A model was only produced in 2002 and had the following distinguishing interior and exterior specification: GT-A-only diamond cut finish 17-inch (430 mm) alloy wheels, clear rear light lenses and all-in-one style front headlights (later used on the Evolution VIII). The GT-A had the option of either no spoiler, the short spoiler (as per the Lancer Cedia; and later used on the Evolution VIII 260) or the thunderspoiler as used on the standard Evolution VII models. The most distinguishing feature was a smooth bonnet with no air-grills on it at all and the revised front bumper. Although offering inferior cooling capabilities, the bonnet was designed to give a cleaner line through the air with less air resistance at motorway speeds.
Interior could be specified with factory options of a deluxe velour interior, full leather or the Recaro sports seats. The GT-A interior was different in that it had chromed door handles, a different instrument panel (to show the gear selection) and chrome edged bezels around the speedo and tach. The GT-A also had additional sound deadening installed from the factory and the engine manifold and downpipe had been engineered to be quieter.
The 5-speed automatic gearbox had what Mitsubishi called "fuzzy logic", which meant that the car would learn what the driver's driving characteristics were like and would adapt the gear change timings and kick down reactions accordingly. The gears could be manually selected as with most Tiptronics via steering wheel + and – buttons (a pair both sides) or via selecting the tiptronic gate with the gear lever. Power was down a little from the standard manual cars with 272 PS (200 kW; 268 hp). The GT-A gearbox did not appear again in the Evolution VIII but has been installed in the estate version of the Evolution IX Wagon. It was replaced by the Twin Clutch SST gearbox since the introduction of Evolution X.
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Source: Wikipedia (original)