Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
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.
Mitsubishi introduced the Lancer Evolution IX in Japan on March 3, 2005, and exhibited the car at the Geneva Motor Show for the European market the same day. The North American markets saw the model exhibited at the New York International Auto Show the following month. The 2.0 L 4G63 engine has MIVEC technology (variable valve timing), and a revised turbocharger design boosting official power output at the crankshaft to 291 PS (214 kW; 287 hp) and torque to 392 N·m (289 lb·ft).
The USDM Lancer Evolution IX models: standard (Grand Sport Rally or "GSR" in some markets), RS (Rally Sport), SE (Special Edition) and MR (Mitsubishi Racing) varied slightly in their performance capabilities. Subtleties unique to each model accounted for variations in acceleration, handling and top speed. The RS excluded features standard on the standard, SE and MR models (stereo system, power windows and locks, rear wiper, rear wing, trunk lining and sound insulation). The result is a weight savings of over 60 lb (27 kg). The fuel capacity remains the same as the Evo VIII at 14 US gal (53 L).
Although the RS is the lightest of the group, the RS did not manage to outperform the standard IX and the MR around a road course (even if only by fractions of a second). This was purported to be due to the lack of a rear wing on the RS. In a drag race, the three models are all about even. They are all capable of 0-60 times between 4.2-4.5 seconds, and can run quarter mile times ranging from 12.6 to 13.3 (12.7-13.0 USA versions) seconds depending on the model/driver. The RS model was produced for rally and racing teams who wanted a platform to build a race car from. It is stripped of all the creature comforts, and other upgrades that drive the price up for features that the race teams would not require.
The IX MR retained the features of the Evolution VIII MR, like Bilstein shocks, a 6-speed manual transmission, a rooftop vortex generator, BBS forged wheels, HID xenon headlights, foglights, accessory gauge package, "zero lift" kit, special badging and an aluminum roof. All models continued to sport Recaro bucket seats, Brembo brakes and Momo steering wheels. Additional revisions from 2005 included a closer gear ratio for the 5-speed manual transmission, new lighter Enkei wheels on non-MR models, a redesigned front end with a more efficient air dam (the most noticeable feature are the two small oval ducts to cool the intercooler pipes), and a new rear bumper with a diffuser undersurface to smooth out the airflow coming out of the car for non-US models. In an effort to reduce the price increase on the Evolution IX model, HID headlights were no longer standard equipment on the base IX (nor were they standard on the 2005 VIII), and were available only in the SSL package (Sun, Sound, and Leather), SE (Special Edition) and MR trims.
The US versions of the Lancer Evolution IX did not come with the AYC but the ACD was still present. The drivers can select from three different driving modes, "Tarmac" "Gravel" and "Snow", and the car's computer system relatively promotes the active center differential to change the differential locking which, eventually changes the front/rear power distribution to increase traction, thus providing an optimum driving experience. Although the US versions did not come with the AYC, it did come with a rear 1.5way clutch type LSD (limited slip differential)which, limits the slip from both rear wheels causing less traction loss of the rear wheels. The most common setup is the 1.5 way LSD, locking on throttle and partially locking on braking. In racing, Lancer Evolutions are not equipped with AYC or ACD because it is believed that better lap times are achieved by pure driver skill without any computer based assistance systems.
One of the changes from the previous iteration of the Lancer Evolution, was the change in the engine, the new 4G63 came with MIVEC, Mitsubishi's variable valve lifting technology, which drastically improves the fuel consumption by changing the valve timing on the intake cam. The MIVEC system is similar to Honda's i-VTEC system only that it doesn't change valve lift, only intake valve timing.
Three trims were available for Japan, Asia and Europe. Although all models used the same 291 PS (214 kW; 287 hp) engine, the torque differed from one model to another. In Europe, however, the Evolution IX was advertised to have 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp). The GSR produced 400 N·m (295 lb·ft) of torque, while the RS and GT produced 407 N·m (300 lb·ft).
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Source: Wikipedia (original)